Don’t Panic: Filing Taxes As A College Student

Frustrated Student

Imagine skipping a day of class, then coming into the next session and seeing a test. You open the packet and see what appears to be gibberish staring back at you. Everyone else around you seems to have a perfect grasp of what’s going on, but you’re just stumbling in the dark.

That can be what the process of preparing your taxes can feel like the first time you do them. You’re given a big pile of paper and expected to sort it out yourself. It’s easy to get overwhelmed.

Before you start to panic, though, take a deep breath. There are a few questions that might make your life much easier. Grab that big stack of paper and ask yourself …

1.) Do I even have to file?

There’s an easy way to short circuit this whole process. If you didn’t make much money last year, you don’t have to file taxes. If your earned income (wages and tips) is less than $6,300 and your unearned income (interest and dividends) is less than $1,050, you probably don’t have to file taxes.

Of course, you might still want to do so. If you had a summer job, your employer took taxes out of your paycheck as though you’d been working all year. You might be able to get a little bit of a refund for your effort.

2.) How hard does this have to be?

If your tax situation is relatively simple, you may be eligible to use a form called the 1040-EZ (as in easy). It’s a much more straightforward document. You just enter your wages, your filing status (married or single) and the taxes you’ve already paid. It’s all laid out on your W-2, the form you got in the mail or online from your employer.

The 1040-EZ lives up to its name. It’s one page long. Once you put your name, address and Social Security number on it, you’re about halfway done. You don’t get to claim any tax credits, but there aren’t a lot of tax credits available for college students in any case.

3.) Where can I get help?

You don’t have to go it alone. If you’re feeling antisocial, you can (and should) use an e-filing service. The IRS has a tool to help you pick the best one. It’s available here: https://apps.irs.gov/app/freeFile/jsp/wizard.jsp?ck.

TurboTax is a popular e-filing tax service we suggest using that simplifies and explains the whole process from start to finish. If you are in college, you are most likely able to file through TurboTax completely free. TurboTax offers this free service for those who:

  • Made less than $100,000
  • Don’t own a home or rental property
  • Didn’t sell investments
  • Don’t own a business or have 1099 income (usually for independent contractors)
  • Don’t have major medical expenses

People who don’t fit in the free TurboTax requirements can still use Turbotax for a fee. Fortunately, TurboTax has partnered with Utah Community Credit Union (UCCU) and offers discounts of up to $15 for members of UCCU. Members can access the discounts by following this link:

https://turbotax.intuit.com/microsite/home.htm?priorityCode=3468350029&cid=all_0utahco1_aff_3468350029

There may also be additional tax help available. A program called the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) is available on many college campuses. Business students looking to bolster their resumes will frequently volunteer to help with taxes for free. This is especially important if your tax situation is more complicated, like if you’re paying for college on your own or have self-employment income from a side hustle.

Your Turn: Are you stressed about taxes? Tell us about it in the comments, or pop down and help your fellow students out!

Sources:

https://www.irs.gov/individuals/free-tax-return-preparation-for-you-by-volunteers

http://blog.taxact.com/1040-tax-forms/

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/when-does-your-child-have-file-tax-return.html

https://turbotax.intuit.com/

https://turbotax.intuit.com/microsite/home.htm?priorityCode=3468350029&cid=all_0utahco1_aff_3468350029

Share Button

Taxes and Investment Gains Correlation

eNEWS_2016_08_promo-2

Taxes play an important role in your investment strategy, regardless of your tax bracket. That’s why understanding how short and long-term term capital gains impact your investments over time can be critical. Below is a quick explanation on how that works.

Taxes and Investment Gains

Simply put, short-term gains are realized on investments held for under a year, while long-term capital gains are derived from investments held for more than one year. For example, if you purchase 100 shares of stock for $20 per share and sell them six months later for $25 per share, the $500 in profit is considered a short-term capital gain by the IRS and taxed at as ordinary income. Conversely, if you wait more than a year to sell the shares, they will be taxed at the long capital gains rate of 15% to 20%, depending on your tax bracket.

For investors in higher tax brackets, this rate can be substantially lower than the rate applicable to short-term gains.

Depending on your tax bracket, if you held the same shares for a year or more, you could end up making more money if the stock price continues to increase but still pay less at tax time. In addition, only your net investment income is taxable, meaning if you gain $500 from one investment but lose $500 on another in the same tax year, then your net gain is $0 and you are not required to pay any additional taxes.

This communication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information on the subjects covered. It is not, however, intended to provide specific legal, tax, or other professional advice. For specific professional assistance, the services of an appropriate professional should be sought.

If you’d like to learn more about the relationship between investments and taxable gains in your portfolio, contact the UCC Financial Group at (801) 223-7502.

Securities and advisory services offered through Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, member FINRA/SIPC.
Cetera is under separate ownership from any other named entity.

Not NCUA/NCUSIF Insured – No Credit Union Guarantee – Not A Deposit – May Lose Value
Not Insured By Any Federal Government Agency.

Share Button

TurboTax discount

Tax season is fast approaching, and sometimes it can seem difficult to know where to start. As tax codes are getting more and more complicated it can become confusing and overwhelming. That’s why at UCCU we encourage you to use online tax preparation services to get the biggest refund possible. Filing the correct tax information and getting it done quickly is now as easy as logging in to your computer with TurboTax.

 TurboTax helps you file your tax return electronically so you can receive the fastest tax refund possible. They will explain changes in your tax refund, and give you tips on how to earn the most money. TurboTax studies IRS and state tax laws so its software is always up-to-date, and you can be confident your taxes are done right. TurboTax is so confident that their system will work for you, they even a maximum refund guarantee,  they’ll double check your return for you and offer a 100% accurate guarantee

 UCCU, in partnership with TurboTax, is also offering our members a 10% discount on tax preparation services plus a chance to win in their 25K giveaway. We hope this great deal will help you navigate through this tax season so you can enjoy this time of year.

For more information, please visit your local branch or call 1-800-453-8188.

Share Button