How to File Taxes as a Student

If you are earning income as a student, it is probably time to start preparing your own taxes. Since you are not working full-time, you may find out that you don’t earn enough to be taxed. However, it is better to start practicing, which will help you determine other important factors such as benefits or deductions.


  • 1

    Income source

    Although most college students will be earning little money, it is important to determine all possible avenues from where you are earning money. It will essentially include income through a part-time or independent job, or through a work study program, which will incorporate scholarships. You will need to contact your college admin or the officer dealing with the student aid program to clarify any income which is subject to tax.

    Other sources will include any interest income from your bank, the W2 form – prepared by your employer with your income details. In other scenarios, you will be working as a freelance writer or an entrepreneur, where you will be doing work such as web designing, blogging, selling t-shirts etc.

  • 2

    Dependency status

    Before filing for taxes you need to consider you dependency status.  If your parents pay a sizeable amount of your tuition fee, you are not required to file for taxes. However, this step is necessary as it allows your parents to get credit for you on your college fee under various state financed scholarships.

    Some of the options will include Hope Scholarship Credit, Lifetime Learning Credit, Higher Education Credit. Search the web for a better understanding of which one to pick.

    This consideration is also important as parents are eligible to pay for your needs until you are 24. That way your parents can cover your health expenses as well, rather than watching the insurance companies laying-off any claims.

  • 3

    Select the proper form

    Use the 1040 EZ form if the above practice is not applicable in your case. In order to fill that form, you will require the W2 form and other forms such as 1098-T which will include your tuition fee details. Moreover, you will be also need to have your social security number, date of birth etc.

    While the 1040EZ form is relatively straight forward to fill, in case you are dependent on your parents, use the 1040 form.

  • 4

    Check for any benefits or deductions

    The general formula is to consider the standard deductions or exemptions and compare the value with the income you earn. If both compute to nil, you are not entitled to pay any tax.

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