I took part for the first time last summer (2017) in a work & travel program with a J1 visa . All went well, had a lot of fun, visited lots of places.
As you all know,at this point in the year everybody must fill their tax return forms. So I started doing the tax returns by myself since I don't really trust the intermediary companies that do that for you (they take a fee + they might subestimate the tax returns on purpose).
After a little bit of reading I began filling the 1040 NR EZ form (yes, I am a non resident alien, it was my first time visiting the states) which was pretty easy to fill. However, my computed tax returns are two times less than the estimated tax returns done by the intermediary companies. What could I be doing wrong?
My guess is that I may qualify for some income tax exemption through the Tax Treaty between the US and Romania (i am romanian) . It can be found here.
Could Article 20 apply for my situation ? I am leaning towards paragraph (3) from the article:
An individual who is a resident of one of the Contracting States at the time he becomes temporarily present in the other Contracting State and who is temporarily present in the other Contracting State for a period not exceeding 1 year, as a participant in a program sponsored by the Government of that other Contracting State, for the primary purpose of training, research, or study, shall be exempt from tax by that other Contracting State with respect to his income from personal services in respect of such training, research, or study performed in that other Contracting State in an aggregate amount not in excess of 10,000 United States dollars or its equivalent in Romanian lei.
My total income was less than 10 000$, however I don't think that the main purpose of the program is to study or research as I did not took part in a J1 student exchange program, but in a J1 summer work & travel program. I could not find any helpful information around the Internet so thought I'd ask you guys.
Thank you for the help.