Unless you’re an accounting major, filing taxes may not be your idea of a good time. But if you don’t file, you may end up leaving a lot of money on the table. Going to file taxes for the first time this year? Here are a few tax tips for first-time filers in college to make this task easier and less stressful:
• If taxes were withheld from your paycheck, even if you only earned a little money, file your taxes so you can get some of that money returned to you.
• If you earned more than $10,400 in 2017, you must file a tax return.
• You’re eligible for at least 3 tax breaks in the years you pay tuition. They are the American Opportunity Tax Credit, the Lifetime Learning Credit, and the tuition and fees deductions.
• If your parent still claims you as a dependent, you must mark off “I can be claimed on someone else’s return” on your form.
• File early. Waiting until the last moment will only make the process more stressful.
IRS and Other Resources
• You can file your Federal taxes for free and online by going to www.irs.gov. There are other free filing websites, found easily through an online search. Mid Oregon Credit Union members also get a discount on TurboTax. Through 2/15/18, using TurboTax online automatically enters you for a chance to win up to $25,000!
• You’ll have to pay state taxes to each state you are a resident of during the tax year. If you attend college in one state but live in another, check the residency requirements. See if you qualify as a resident or nonresident of the state in which you attend school.
• See the IRS resource page, “Reminder for Parents, Students: Check Out College Tax Benefits”
Tax Forms You Might Need
Here are the forms you’ll need to file your taxes and get your returns:
• W-2: Your employer will give this to you. It’ll show any taxes that were withheld from your paycheck.
• Form 1098-T: Your college will send you this tuition statement. It includes information you’ll need to claim education credits.
• Form 8863: This form will tell you if you qualify credits like the American Opportunity Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit.
• Form 1098-E: Use this to deduct the interest you paid on a qualified student loan during the tax year. Your lender will send this form to you if you paid more than $600 in interest.
Filing taxes may seem like a boring chore, but if you don’t, you’ll miss out on a nice tax return. And who wouldn’t like a little extra cash in their account?