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Carrington College Blog

How to Survive Tax Season and College

February 7, 2012

During our college years we are faced with numerous stresses such as studying for a mid-term exam or how you’re going to get by with a tight budget. Every year, however, we must be faced with the inevitable…tax season.

We realize how sometimes taxes can get confusing, so to help you keep the IRS from knocking on your door, here are a few tips to help you survive the upcoming tax season:

You need to file your taxes if you did any of the following:

  • Earned wages for the current tax year
  • Made tips
  • Earned self-employed income that’s more than $400
  • Was paid “under the table”
  • Received dividends from stocks and any other investment
  • Accrued from your saving or checking account
  • Applied scholarship, fellowship and/or federal grant funds to anything other than tuition and books
  • You’re here on a visa
  • Fill out your student loan form early. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a way to get student loans. However, it’s given out on a first-come, first-serve basis, so you need to fill it out early. There are many different types of aid you can be rewarded with such as federal loans, state grants and college scholarships.
  • If you aren’t claimed on your parents taxes and make less than $65,000 per year, then you can reduce up to $4,000 for qualified college expenses, such as tuition and mandatory fees.
  • If you took out a private education loan or a federal PLUS loan to help with additional costs for college, then you can claim up to $2,500. You can claim costs on your:
    • Books
    • Tuition
    • Room and board
    • Gas for your commute to school and back
    • Moving expenses
    • Supplies (Example: Art supplies, camera, tools for design, etc.)
    • Software
    • Grads looking for work can deduct costs as well. You can subtract things like resume printing, employment and agency fees, and transportation expenses for interviewing.
    • It’s important once you get your refund to save it. As a college student, money can be tight and you may be tempted to spend it. But try not to.

It’s important to keep track of your expenses throughout college and throughout your life. Keep your receipts on things you know you can claim. This will get you into a good habit once you graduate and enter into the working force.

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