Tax tips for college students

The most important thing college kids want to know when it comes to taxes is usually, "Do I even need to file?"

In many cases, no. Your parents can claim you as a dependent, which means you will not need to file your own taxes. If, however, you're making more than a standard deduction, you are required by law to file taxes. As of 2017, the standard deduction is $6,350.

At any rate, you should never assume you don't have to file taxes, even if you earned below $6,350. You could be due for a refund if tax was withheld from any of your earned income. We recommend looking at your pay stubs to see if you've been paying taxes. If you have, you're eligible for a return.

When it comes to filing taxes, the most important piece of advice for college students is to check with your parents. They might want to claim you as a dependent because it offers them a sizable exemption. Make sure everyone is on the same page because if you file your own taxes and your parents claim you as a dependent, the IRS considers this a scam.

Finally, if you're in college and have decided to do your own taxes, consider all of the tax credits available to you. These credits can help alleviate the burden of tuition. Some of the tax credits college students can take advantage of include the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) and Lifetime Learning Credit (LLC). Students can also deduct up to $4,000 in tuition if they're earning less than $80,000/year and deduct up to $2,500 worth of interest paid on student loans.

These deductions can go a long way if you're struggling under the burden of higher education costs.

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