"I'm just a student. I don't have to worry about taxes. Or do I?"
I’ll bet taxes are the last thing you want to think about right now, but April 15 is quickly approaching. You’re probably not even sure if you need to file a federal income tax return. Yet if you don't file your income taxes, you could lose refunds and tax credits — if you worked.
Yes, you’re a busy college student with no time to wade through confusing IRS rules and regulations to figure out if you need to file taxes. So if you do need to file taxes, you want to know how to get them done ASAP without costing you an arm and a leg.
You’ll be glad to know that you have many low cost sources for help. First, you can visit www.irs.gov for official tax filing information. And you’ll also want to check with your school because some campuses offer resources such as:
College Career Services offices often have tax guidance or prep assistance
Campus International Office (for international students)
Fraternities/Sororities might offer volunteer tax prep assistance
Campus tax workshops and seminars given by local tax preparers
Local IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance groups
Local small tax accountants who offer student discounts
Do-it-yourself with tax prep software such as Turbo Tax
Bill's First Tax Return
Bill, a 19-year-old college student, worked part-time on weekends during the school year and full-time during the summer. He thinks he has to file taxes, so he’s meeting with his school’s Career Services office for guidance. He’s already started collecting all his documents — in a file folder and different locations online. But he feels scattered and wants to be better organized. He's hoping to find a way to have all information and documents together in one location that's convenient.
He started using Samepage to organize all his information, documents, task lists, and schedules in one online location — just what he was looking for! He created a Samepage where he'll upload his W2 along with a list of all the forms he'll need and his unreimbursed work expenses. He's also collecting links about rules for all credits he might be able to claim.
Bill attends an out-of-state college, so life is a little more complicated than he thought because different states have different tax rules. He's happy he's decided to talk to a tax preparer — he'll be meeting her at his college's Financial Services office next week. He's excited because Samepage will let him share his Samepage with his tax preparer, making it a lot easier to get his taxes done. The Samepage mobile app will let them communicate online, anytime, using their smartphones and on their laptops so they can work quickly together, saving them a lot of time during the busy tax season and BIll's midterms!
If you're filing federal income tax returns on your own for the first time, don't feel intimidated. With a little research, time, and help from a good tax preparer, you’ll have no worries.