Tax keys for students
Hunched over a desk and gnawing on a pencil while filing taxes before the clock hits 12 a.m. is not the most ideal way students way want to spend a weekend evening. Thankfully, the refund check shining at the end of the tunnel is generally worth the time and the deadline – this year – is manageable.
The deadline to file taxes this year has been pushed back to April 17 for federal and state taxes by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This will give students a vital extra chance should they forget to take care of their applications over the weekend. For those students looking for a convenient way to file, the Internet has several options for students filing taxes for the first time or once again.
Turbo Tax, H&R Block, Tax Slayer and other websites offering simple, free federal tax filing can be found through the IRS’ website or searching through Google.
Jeanie Boggs, the area manager of the Flagstaff branch of Jackson Hewitt Tax Service, said students do not need to worry about much when filing taxes. However, she added coordination between students and their parents is important.
“[Students] will need any earnings history, any student loans that they are repaying already and getting tuition. They would need to know whether or not their parents are claiming them [as a dependent],” Boggs said. “You can file, even if your parents are claiming you, you just state when you file that you are being claimed by someone else. Most can only file for any wages that they have earned and their tuition. Most of them do not have dependents.”
Doing taxes in sync with parents will ensure parents get necessary paper work from their dependents such as school receipts, expenses and other personal information regarding income parents need to claim a dependent. Students also need be aware of how to incorporate tuition expenses when filing as a dependent or not. Bankrate.com offers a tax section with “a dozen tax tips for college students” to consider what expenses students need to look at when filing including tuition expenses, scholarship credit and loan tips.
Boggs said individuals who need only file a 1040 EZ, a form typically used by individuals with no dependents and rudimentary tax situations, and no more than two W-2 forms can do so for free at Wal-Mart through Jackson Hewitt. However, one must be filing single or married and with no dependents.
Another filing aspect some students may need to consider is work-study income. Requirements on how to file this if need be can differ and should best be discussed with a manager or work-study coordinator.
Alex Romonoski, a junior biology major, said he looks forward to getting his refund each year.
“It’s nice to get all your taxes back from not making enough money,” Romonoski said. He added that his refund was quickly spent on Flagstaff and NAU parking tickets.
Those who are considering skipping the yearly extravaganza though may later find they could have claimed a lot through income withholdings. For lethargic procrastinators who will not make the April 17 deadline, a free Form 4868 can be filed online through the IRS to extend their deadline. The automatic six month extension will give individuals until October to file their taxes.