I was in the United States in summer 2017 as a student intern on an exchange visitor program. Now I returned to my home country and got a notification to file Federal tax return for the calendar year 2017.

My situation:

Tax amount was with-held from the payments made to me. Upon using tax prep software to prepare the returns, I came to know that I overpaid the taxes and am due a refund.

Also, I don't have an SSN or ITIN and was informed to attach ITIN application along with the tax returns. Applying for an ITIN from abroad seems to be a daunting task for me. Since I am due a refund, is there a provision to file late returns? I am returning to the United States for my graduate studies in Fall 2018.

Any help will be appreciated.

  • You got a W-2 or a 1099?
    – user102008
    Mar 13, 2018 at 23:42
  • If you were eligible to work, you should have been able to get an SSN, and if you were treated as a W-2 employee, I don't think they would have been able to pay you without an SSN, so it seems strange.
    – user102008
    Mar 13, 2018 at 23:43
  • I didn't get a W-2, but I was given a 1042-S.
    – Manideep
    Mar 14, 2018 at 2:43

1 Answer 1


If you don't have an SSN (and you can't get an SSN now, as you have no status in the US), you will need to get an ITIN to file taxes. Yes, applying for an ITIN is a pain, especially if you are abroad. You would probably have to mail your actual passport to them to apply for the ITIN.

You can request a 6-month extension with Form 4868 and wait until you are in the US in Fall 2018 to file your 2017 tax return and apply for ITIN. On Form 4868 you can put "ITIN TO BE REQUESTED". When you are in the US in the Fall, you can go to one of the IRS taxpayer assistance centers that supports authenticating documents for ITIN, so you don't have to mail your passport in.

  • Thanks for your suggestion.I tried a few e-file software listed on IRS website. But they seem to require SSN or ITIN to file an extension. Do you know of any software that doesn't require SSN or ITIN? Also, Is it possible to file late returns without filing an extension since I am due a refund? I read in a couple of websites that late return doesn't cause any harm if I am due a refund. Please let me know. I highly value your take on this.
    – Manideep
    Mar 14, 2018 at 3:21

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