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Voting, Taxes, and More

Once you know the dates of your time abroad, you will want to begin planning to put your domestic matters in order.

Change Address on University Records

Before leaving for a global education experience, students must be sure to have their local (campus) address removed from all university records; otherwise their mail will go to their last campus address. Be sure to leave the correct permanent address or an alternate address on file so that any correspondence and/or financial aid checks will be sent to the correct address. Local and/or permanent address changes can be done on Wolverine Access. Students can use Wolverine Access from any computer at the campus computing sites or the computers in the LSA Building lobby.

Absentee Voting

For some students, the first opportunity to vote coincides with their time abroad. Just because students are not in the US at election time does not necessarily mean they cannot cast their ballot. Before students can vote from abroad, however, they must be registered to vote at home. Students should check with their local city or town hall to obtain information on procedures for voting by absentee ballot or online, including timing. Some states, including Michigan, will not let students vote absentee unless they have already voted in one election (at any level) or unless they registered to vote in person. Students should remember to make note of their party, ward, district, and voter registration number (if one is used). If necessary, a student’s absentee ballot can be notarized at a US embassy or consulate. For relevant online information, see www.fvap.gov.

Income Taxes

Students participating in academic year-abroad and winter semester programs may have to complete their income tax returns while overseas. If students have earnings that require them to file federal and/or state income tax returns, and they will be out of the country between 

January 1 and April 15, they may need to make special arrangements for getting their paperwork filed. Students can file from abroad if they make arrangements with their families to send them the necessary documentation. Persons temporarily living abroad may normally request an extension on the deadline for filing federal income tax, usually until June 15. 

The best advice is for students to contact the American Consulate or Embassy in the host country for information on their tax obligations. They may have 1040 forms and may even be willing to help students with questions. 

Power of Attorney

If students are likely to be required to sign any official or legal document while overseas, they should arrange to give "power of attorney" to someone who can make decisions on their behalf. This must be done in writing and should clearly outline in detail the specific duties that the person chosen will execute on a student’s behalf. Take this to a notary public and have it notarized.