UNT money expert shares tax filing tips for college students

Tuesday, January 31, 2017 - 15:49
Rachel Grimes, assistant director of outreach for the Student Money Management Center at UNT.
Rachel Grimes, assistant director of outreach for the Student Money Management Center at UNT.

DENTON (UNT), Texas — Tax season is here, and for many college students, filing taxes is a dreaded but necessary task. Rachel Grimes, assistant director of outreach at the Student Money Management Center at the University of North Texas, shares tips for filing taxes and mistakes to avoid:

  • Visit the Internal Revenue Service website to view options for filing. The IRS website displays options for free, online and mail-in filing, as well as advice for how to choose a tax professional to assist with filing. Most students whose annual income is below $64,000 are eligible for free filing options.
  • Determine dependent status. Students can be claimed as a dependent on their parent’s taxes if they are younger than 19 years old or if they are younger than 24 and their income is supplemented by their parents by more than 50 percent. Students should discuss taxes with their parents or support system to decide if they will be claimed as a dependent. 
  • Take advantage of education tax credits. Students can include the price of supplies needed for school in their taxes, including textbooks, personal computers, calculators and software needed for class. Students may also be eligible for the American Opportunity Credit or the Lifetime Learning Credit, which are tax benefits that cover common student expenses. In order for a student to receive education tax credits, they cannot be claimed as a dependent by their parents or support system.
  • File taxes even if income for previous tax year is low. Students often think that if their income for a previous year is low, they don’t need to file taxes. If a student doesn’t file taxes, they may be missing out on a refund or eligible tax credits. Filing taxes ensures that students receive money they are eligible for and have the opportunity to receive education tax credits.
  • File on time. The national deadline to file taxes is April 18. Students should file their taxes by this date or run the risk of incurring penalty fees or delays on refunds. Students can request a file extension but must pay attention to extension deadlines.
  • Don’t neglect free resources throughout the community. The United Way of Denton County offers the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, which assists residents who make below $53,000 a year in preparing and filing their taxes. The Student Money Management Center offers free coaching and personal financial consulting and planning services to UNT students. The center also provides educational workshops about various financial topics, including a tax prep workshop. For more information, contact the Student Money Management Center at 940-369-7761.


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