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How students can begin the process of filing taxes

How students can begin the process of filing taxes

How students can begin the process of filing taxes
February 08
10:00 2019

Many students will be filing income tax returns for the first time this year. While it can be intimidating, there are sources available to ease the process.

When questioning whether or not to file, students may think to seek help from is the Student Money Management Center. While the center provides financial coaching among many other services, they are unable to assist with filing.

Director Paul Gobel laments that filing is beyond the scope of the office’s outreach.

“Unfortunately, due to the complexity of tax codes and the advanced, specialization certification required for most tax preparers, no team member possesses that sort of certification,” Gobel said.

Infographic by Meredith Holser.

He recommends students to consider using well-known tax websites if they wish to file on their own.

Photography senior Lauren Broussard said she has filed her taxes for the last two years on her phone using Turbo-Tax.

“Honestly, just get the app,” Broussard said. “It’s so much easier than having to do it on your own. You can just scan everything in, and you don’t have to worry about anything.”

These services sometimes come with a cost. For example, if a student were to use the Turbo-Tax app, fees can range from $39.99 for the most basic return, to $169.99 for the more complicated.

If a student would feel more comfortable filing in person with a preparer, Gobel refers students to the United Way of Denton County.

During tax season the United Way runs the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program to help county residents file for free.

Director of Financial Initiatives Teddy Yan said he sees the program as a perfect fit for students.

“VITA’s entire purpose is to help people who don’t know the tax [laws], don’t have time to learn the tax [laws] and don’t have the money to pay someone else to do their taxes for them,” Yan said.

The deadline to submit a return is April 15. Yan said the specific form a student would need is dependent on a few factors, most importantly based on the type of income.

If a student has a traditional job for example with the university or at the mall, receiving an hourly or salaried income, the employer will provide students with a W-2 form. If a student engages in contract work with Uber or as a nanny, they would receive a 1099-Miscellaneous form.

“Pretty much every job you take will give you either a W-2 or a 1099-Miscellaneous,” Yan said. “W-2s are fairly simple to enter, but 1099-Miscellaneous get a little complex. But we can do them.”

Another form that will be beneficial for students is the 1098-T form. It is a tuition statement that the university must provide, detailing the tuition, fees and expenses the student or their parents have paid throughout the school year. Yan, however, warns that if a student receives more scholarship money than the amount they pay, that income will be considered taxable income.

VITA has pop-up sites throughout the county that will be open until April 15. A full detailed list of its locations and times may be found on their website:

“We’re more than happy to prepare a student’s return at any site across Denton County at whichever one is most convenient to them,” Yan said.

Featured Illustration: File. 

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Kaitlin Griffin

Kaitlin Griffin

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