Taxes: College Students Tax Credit

1098-T Form, Tuition Credit for Eligible Students

Students make sure you ask a Tax Advisor about the 1098-T. (Built By Girls)

Looking back on your senior year of high school can bring back many cherished memories, as well as some not-so-happy ones like ACT/SAT prep. At least in college, you don’t have to take any more standardized testing that claims to determine “how smart you are” based on a timed test. That’s all in the past now!

Then reality hits - you’re an adult. Yes, college is still a monumental growing period in life, but there are many things students have to consider: rent, jobs, internships, and more. One more important thing: paying your taxes. Many students have no clue how to get started on them, some don’t even file. Not all the forms are scary, one of the forms that college students are able to file gives students up to $2,000 just for attending school.

What does it mean to file taxes?

At the beginning of the new year, you are expected to start filing your tax returns for the previous year. This year, the International Revenue Service (IRS) began accepting 2022 tax returns on January 23 with a deadline of April 18. If you need more time you can file for an extension, giving you until October 16.

Many college students will file as single or their parents claim them as tax dependents. Check in with your parents, ask how do they file their taxes? Do they use an online service like H&R Block? Specialized software like TurboTax? You may want to file your own taxes if you are an employee. Each time you receive a paycheck you’ll notice you pay federal and state taxes, that money goes into programs like Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.

What do I need to file my taxes?

You can’t go into a test and expect to pass without going to class, studying, and doing practice questions. The same goes for filing taxes, you need to come prepared. Here is a basic list of documents to gather before getting started:

  • Form W-2

  • Bank statements

  • College tuition expenses

  • Charitable donation receipts

  • 1099 forms

  • State and local taxes

  • Receipts as records of expenses

  • Unreimbursed medical bills

  • Social security number or tax ID number

  • 1098-T form

  • Routing and account numbers for your refund

A more in-depth list can be found here.

Filing taxes on time can relieve stress and you could be able to get some valuable tax credits.
Filing taxes on time can relieve stress and you could be able to get some valuable tax credits.

Where do I file taxes?

There are several ways to file taxes, including free ones! Free is helpful - considering crazy expensive tuition, room & board, textbook fees, class fees and well, you get the point. These free options usually only cover simple tax returns; as a college student, this filing option will most likely be efficient. Here are some free tax filing resources:

Here are some other ways to file your taxes that are not free but pretty budget-friendly.

Wait, you said there is a tax form with a tuition benefit?!

Form 1098-T is available for enrolled students who pay for college. The expenses it covers include tuition, enrollment fees, and course materials. If you were lucky enough to receive scholarships and grants to cover all these fees, you will not be eligible to get a return through the 1098-T. If you did have some scholarships, box 5 on the form will show how much you received. This is applicable to all years of college students but not everyone knows about it!

Why is the 1098-T important for college students?

The 1098-T can give students back up to $2,000 in expenses they have paid toward getting an education. With many students taking out student loans, working to save money, and other expenses, this money can be extremely beneficial when getting tax reimbursements.

Where is my 1098-T form?

Your university has the 1098-T form, but it varies from school to school with how you will receive it. Some colleges will send you the form via postal mail services, and others will send it through email. If neither of these was the case for you, it is most likely on your personal university portal under tabs labeled, “My Resources,” “Student Account,” or “Tax Notification.” If you are having trouble finding it, search “(School name) 1098-T.” In case there is nothing that will give you further guidance, you can always contact your university’s Office of the Bursar. This department manages all things concerning bills, refunds, cash, and more functions.

Happy filing!

Sophia Aiello is a freshman at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, majoring in Journalism & Electronic Media with a concentration in News. She is involved on campus with The Volunteer Channel's The Morning Jem and Pi chapter of Chi Omega.

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