April is upon us, which means in just a few short weeks taxes will be due. The process of filing taxes can be arduous and complicated, but if you’ve been working during college and had taxes taken out of your paycheck, it’s likely that you’re entitled to a tax refund! Free money! Sort of. Here’s what college students need to know about taxes:
Do I need to file taxes?
It depends. If you are filing as an independent and make $9,750 a year or more, the answer is yes. This is also true if you are filing as a dependent and made $5,950 or more last year. Either way, filing may be to your benefit. There are numerous companies that will help you prepare and file your taxes online for free, and if you are a full-time college student, you are likely to receive a refund.
Where should I file them?
If you’re attending college outside of your home state, this can be a bit confusing. As far as your federal tax return is concerned, you should file based upon your permanent address (likely your parents’ house). The rules regarding state returns vary, so you’ll need to find out what the law is both in the state you’re attending college in and where you list as your permanent address.
What forms will I need?
Make sure you receive a W-2 form from your employer – you will need this information to file your taxes. You should have received this by January 31. You will also need a 1098-T, provided by your school, if you wish to receive any educational tax credits for tuition and fees.
Am I entitled to any tax breaks?
Yes! As a college student, you may be eligible for any number of education credits, including the American Opportunity Credit. Because they are subtracted in full from your federal income tax, education credits can increase the amount of your tax refund considerably.