Students eligible for cash from filing taxes

Jessica Rothschuh

People can file their taxes electronically but there will probably be a fee.

Credit: Jessica Rothschuh

“The world of taxation is about making money,” said David Young, associate treasurer and risk manager of Treasury, Tax and Risk Management Services.

What many students don’t know, however, is that they’re likely missing out on making some money of their own.

Some college students don’t file federal income tax because they are not legally required to do so. Unmarried students whose parents claim them as dependents do not have to file unless they have earned more than $4,850 in 2004.

Certified Public Accountant Jody Riggenbach said students who don’t have to file are still eligible to receive a refund.

“If there has been withholding, every dollar of that money belongs back to (the student),” Riggenbach said. “It’s an instant refund.”

The deadline to file taxes is April 15, but Riggenbach suggests filing early in order to get the refund sooner.

“Do them as quickly and as cautiously as possible,” Riggenbach said.

Filing taxes isn’t above the average college student’s abilities, Young said. However, there are computer software programs like Turbo Tax that can make things easier.

“With taxes, the structure of it’s simple, but the devil is in the details,” Young said. Filing electronically is good because it catches errors, but there is usually a fee.

“It’s is something that, as your financial and economic situation gets more complex, you’ll probably want to consider getting professional help,” Young said. “It seems daunting. Spend a weekend. Make it a leisurely weekend.”

An area that students are often unsure about is the deductions. Students can either claim themselves as an independent and take a deduction, or their parents can claim them and get the deduction.

“There’s very few situations I’ve seen where the student benefits more than the parents,” Riggenbach said. Parents will get a larger refund because their incomes are larger.

Contact student politics reporter Jessica Rothschuh at [email protected].