Options For Filing Taxes For Free
- You can use the IRS Free File tool, which allows you to file your taxes yourself at no cost if you earned less than a maximum amount.
- If you need a hand, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program offers free tax help to people who make $56,000 per year or less. Find a VITA site near you.
- Many colleges partner with VITA to offer students free tax assistance. Check with your college or nearby colleges to learn more.
- There are several services listed below that offer free tax return filing. Each service has different requirements for free filing, so check those requirements before you start. For example, Jackson Hewitt offers free federal and state filing if you have no children or dependents, have a joint income below $100,000 and take the standard deduction. Many programs limit free filing to people who use the online self-service version of their tax preparation tools.
File Your Taxes Even If Technically You Dont Have To
Even if you dont need to file a tax return this year , it still may be in your best interest to do it anyway. Why? Because theres a chance youre eligible for tax credits and a refund.
For example, if you had a part-time job or a work-study job, you probably had taxes taken out from your paychecks. If you file taxes, you could get all of that money back as a tax refund.
Take Advantage Of Student Tax Credits
As a college student, you are eligible for several education tax credits that can help lower your taxes. Two popular education credits include theAmerican Opportunity Credit andLifetime Learning Credit.
The American Opportunity tax credit lets you claim up to $2,500 per tax return for qualified education expenses related to your undergraduate education. For example, your tuition and fees for college count as qualified expenses.
The Lifetime Learning Credit also lets you claim 20% of the first $10,000 of college tuition and fees paid during the year, which works out to be a maximum credit of $2,000.
It is important to note that these two credits cannot be used at the same time.
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Do International Students Have To File A Tax Return
Possibly. If you earned income from a job in the U.S., then you usually will. But if youre living off savings, investments, or support from your family back home, then you wont. See this page for more detailed info.
We also strongly recommend consulting your colleges office of international student affairs for more specific guidance.
What Does The Irs Consider A Full
The IRS considers a full-time student as a student enrolled in the minimum number of credit hours the institution considers full-time. The student must be enrolled at least five months out of the year and be a student at a school with faculty, a student body, and course of study or a student in a full-time, on-farm training course.
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How Much Money Do College Students Pay In Taxes
When you think of your time in college, you think of tight budgets, eating ramen noodles, and fun parties. You dont think about taxes. But the truth is, most college students do pay taxes.
How much do they pay? Well, thats an interesting question that I wanted to tackle this week, since it is tax season.
In order to get a good idea about how much taxes college students pay, I wanted to give three examples:
Lets look at how much each of these students should end of paying in taxes each year.
Where Can A College Student Get Free Tax Help
The most important thing to know is that you are not alone in this process.
There are plenty of services that help college students file for free if you feel like you cannot do it on your own.
If you are a college student in Denver, Colorado, the Community College of Denver has partnered with Tax Help Colorado a program of Mile High United Way to offer hard-working people free tax preparation.
The program has IRS-certified volunteers who will help you prepare and file tax returns at no expense to you.
Students should check what tax programs and services their own college offers. Colleges want to see their students succeed, and you might be surprised at what resources are available to you on your own campus.
The IRS also offers a free interactive tax assistant on their website.
This tool provides answers to several tax law questions specific to your individual circumstances.
In the end, there is help for college students so you can get file successfully.
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How Does Filing Taxes Work
In theory, taxes arent that complicated. The government decides, based on your income, what percentage of your income you need to pay in taxes.
If you work a W-2 job then your employer has already taken the taxes out. The point of filing a return is to ensure that you havent paid too much or too little in taxes.
If youve paid too much, then youll get a refund. Its important to remember that this isnt free money from the government. Rather, its money you earned that the government is giving back to you. Assuming your employer is taking out the correct amount of taxes from each paycheck, you shouldnt get a refund at all.
If taxes are so simple in theory, then why can they get so complicated in practice? Mainly, its because of all the various tax deductions and tax credits available to you.
For this article, you dont need to understand tax deductions and credits in too much detail. But heres a brief overview of each:
Gather Your Tax Slips
Before a student files a tax return, they must gather all of their necessary tax slips. Students should be looking for the following slips depending on their own individual situation:
- T4 Statement of Remuneration Paid: Many students work throughout their studies or while on summer vacation. They should receive a T4 slip and remember, if they work in the hospitality industry, they need to also claim their tips and gratuities as income.
- T4A Statement of Pension, Retirement, Annuity, and Other Income: Students may receive a T4A tax slip showing income received for different reasons. Lets look at the different types of income on this slip and where they are reported.
- Educational Assistance Payments from a Registered Education Savings Plan are shown in Box 042 of the T4A slip and reported on Line 13000 Other Income of your tax return.
- Students who receive financial awards such as Scholarships, Bursaries, Fellowships, Artists Project Grants, and Prizes will receive a T4A with an amount in Box 105. Its important to note the Scholarship Exemption and ensure you enter your Box 105 amount into the correct box of your tax software in order to receive the exemption. The taxable portion of these scholarships/awards will be entered on Line 13010 Scholarships, Fellowships, Bursaries, and Artists Project Grants of the tax return.
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Understand Student Loan Interest Deductions
Approximately 70% of students in America take out some type of student loan to fund their education. If you fall into this category, you may be able to deduct up to $2,500 from your taxable income as long as you meet eligibility requirements, including the following:
No one is claiming you as a dependent
Youre not married and filing separately
You currently are or were enrolled at least half time
The amount of the student loan interest deduction is based on the amount you paid in interest on federal and private student loans during the previous calendar year. This deduction is an above-the-line exclusion from income, meaning that you can claim it even if you claim the standard deduction.
Also, note that there are earnings limits. In 2020, you must have earned less than $70,000 if youre a single filer or less than $140,000 if youre married and filing jointly.
How To File Taxes As A College Student
Being a college student should be an exciting and challenging time for you, but figuring out how to file taxes as a college student doesnt need to add to those challenges.
In todays post, I will help you determine whether or not you should file taxes while in college. Ill also walk you through the steps you should take when filing your income tax return.
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No Matter How You File Block Has Your Back
Do I Have To File A Tax Return
If your employer withheld wages during the year , you may be entitled to a tax refund. If not, you may still have to file a New York State income tax return if:
- you have to file a federal return
- you have federal adjusted gross income plus New York additions of more than $4,000, or
- you want to claim a refundable or carryover credit.
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Need Help Talk To A Tax Professional
Tax season is likely not your favorite time of the year. Unfortunately, the process of amassing documents and filing your taxes isnt always fun. If student loans are a part of your financial picture, then you may need help sorting through all of your options. Luckily, you dont have to go it alone. Instead, you can talk to a tax professional. Competent tax professionals can guide you through the process. It is easy to meet with a helpful tax professional virtually at H& R Block Online, or in person at one of more than 10,000 branches nationwide.
With the help of an H& R Block tax professional, you can avoid the headaches involved with filing your taxes alone. Plus, youll have the peace of mind that comes with a professional experience. If you have student loans and want to file your taxes without any doubts,reach out to H& R Block today.
Which Tax Prep Software Should Students Use
If youre in college, then you probably dont want to spend lots of money preparing your taxes. Thats why we recommend browsing the IRS database of free tax prep software.
These are all legit companies that the IRS has approved, so you dont have to worry about scams. And all of them let you prepare and file your federal income taxes for free. However, many of these apps do charge a small fee to file your state income taxes.
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If I Am A College Student Am I A Resident Of The State That My School Is In
Your state of residence, sometimes referred to as your home state, is the state where your roots are. Attending college in a state does not come anywhere close to making you a residence of that state *FOR TAX PURPOSES*. While colleges will have their own residency requirements to determine if you pay resident tuition rates or non-resident tuition rates, it has absolutely no bearing on your home state for your taxes.
Generally, an undergraduate qualifies to be claimed as a dependent on the parent’s tax return. So the student’s home state is the state they lived in before starting college. Each state has their own residency requirements and definition of what constitutes a resident of that state. Attending a college in that state isn’t one of them.
Generally, for federal tax purposes your home state is:
– Where you got your drivers license issued
– Where your vehicle is registered
– Where you are registered to vote
– Where you own real property
There are many more, of which I’ve got a brain block on right now and can’t think of them. But understand that just because you may meet college requirements to pay lower resident tuition rates, that does not in any way mean you are a resident of that state for federal tax purposes.
In a nutshell, for the 4 years you are in college your home state is where your parents live, and your parents will claim you as their dependent for all four years.
Free And Affordable Tax Filing Software For Students
- IRS Free File: If your adjusted gross income is less than $73,000, you qualify for free guided tax preparation through an IRS partner site.
- H& R Block: This service allows you to prepare your state and federal taxes for free. It includes forms that are helpful for student taxes, such as tuition deduction forms. You can also purchase time with a tax pro for extra help.
- Cash App Taxes: Cash App allows you to file a federal and one state tax return for free. There are no extra charges. However, you don’t have the option of filing multiple state tax returns or talking to a pro.
- FreeTaxUSA: Here, you can file federal taxes for free. State taxes cost about $15 to file. There’s a $7 fee for live customer support, which can help if it’s your first time filing taxes.
- TaxAct: TaxAct offers a free option for federal tax preparation that caters to dependents and current students. It’s $40 to file state taxes.
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Learn How To File Your Taxes For Free
Yes, there is such a thing as free tax filing. In fact, the IRS offers a program calledFree File that lets you file a tax return for free using commercial software.
You can also get free tax help and use free editions of online tax filing software from companies like . Using this online software, you can file a basic tax return for free.
If youre looking to save some money, these free online tax software are great options. Just be sure to read the fine print beforehand, as there are some restrictions on who can use them.
Documents Youll Need To Prepare Your Taxes
Regardless of the tax prep software you choose, its handy to have the following documents ready before you start the process:
- Income statements. If you worked as an employee youll receive a Form W-2. If you did contract or freelance work, then each client who paid you more than $600 is required to send you a Form 1099. Like the W-2, the 1099 is an official record of the money that the client/company paid you.
- Social Security Number
- Information on your dependents, if any. Dependents include any children or relatives who rely on you for support . To determine if you have dependents, use this IRS tool.
- Account and routing number for the bank account where you want the IRS to deposit your refund.
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Figuring Out Your Dependency Status In College
Your parent, foster parent, or another relative likely claimed you as a dependent on their taxes in the past. As long as you’re in school, a relative can claim you as a dependent until you’re 24 if they provide more than half of your financial support.
Your dependency status matters for a couple of reasons. First, as mentioned above, it affects whether or not you must file taxes as a student. Second, the person who claims you as a dependent may qualify for deductions and education-related tax credits.
Earned Income Tax Credit
The Earned Income Tax Credit is a refundable tax credit given to people who have small amounts of earned income in a tax year. For example, students who work part-time may qualify for the EITC if they meet certain requirements.
Who qualifies for the EITC:
- Cannot file as as married, filing separately
- Have investment income under $3,650
- Have earned income and Adjusted Gross Income under limits based on filing status and number of qualifying children
Number of Qualifying Children
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