Tax filing a must for employed students

Courtney Kerrigan

Learn the small stuff that could save money and time in the long run.

What this means to you: KSU’s accounting department can help students file taxes. The deadline is April 15.

Whether students handle their own taxes, are first-time filers or rely on mom and dad, it’s important to know the small stuff that could save money and time in the long run.

Taxes aren’t due until April 15, but the earlier students file, the faster they will get their refunds, said Ron Stolle, assistant professor of finance.

He said that if students file electronically, they can get their refunds within a week. Web sites such as, and offer tax-filing services.

Samantha Gray, junior fashion merchandising major, said she does her taxes through

“I’ve been doing my taxes for three years — since I started college — and it’s really not that hard,” Gray said. “You just plug the numbers in and hit send.”

If students are filing for the first time and don’t know where to start, Stolle suggests, which offers students help in understanding their taxes.

Although there isn’t a tax service on campus for students, Stolle said the accounting department and he can help.

“Students need to figure out how to file the forms by April 15,” Stolle said. “The biggest thing they need to figure out first, though, is who is claiming them.”

If parents supply 50 percent or more of students’ income, the parents should claim the students as dependents. Stolle said they should talk with their parents first to determine this before filing.

For 2009, dependents have to file an income tax return if they received more than $950 in unearned income, more than $5,700 in earned income or their gross income was more than the larger of $950. Gross income is the total of the earned and unearned income, according to

Ariana Wilson, office manager of Liberty Taxes in Kent, said the biggest mistake students make is claiming themselves when their parents should claim them.

“A lot of the time parents have more income and therefore have more withheld and more to get back,” Wilson said.

She added that students still need to file taxes even if they receive small paychecks.

“A lot of students forget to file just to get back their withholdings,” Wilson said. “They still want to file to get back the money they paid in taxes.”

Students need to file either a 1040A or 1040EZ form, depending on their income. They can find their tax information on their W-2s, which generally come in the mail by Jan. 31, or by contacting their employer, Wilson said.

“It’s really important for students to know how to file their own taxes because it’s just part of being an adult and having your own responsibilities,” Wilson said.

Nick Roope, sophomore biochemistry major, said he doesn’t file his own taxes, but instead, his parents do it for him.

“I’ll probably do my own taxes after I graduate from college and have a full-time job,” Roope said. “I’ll worry about it then.”

Wilson said once students start filing their own taxes, they should visit a tax preparation service every three years to make sure they’re not missing anything when filing.

“Anytime someone has a major life change, such as getting married, chances are it’s going to affect their taxes,” she said.

Contact student finance

reporter Courtney Kerrigan

at [email protected].