With close to five weeks left in the tax season, Delta College students who haven’t already filed their tax forms may be left
wondering how they can get the most out of their returns.
Whether it’s your first time filing personal income taxes or your tenth, the process can intimidate even the most experienced.
The IRS mandates that anyone with an income greater than $9,750 must file a tax return by April 15, although it may be a good idea for students who earn less than that amount to file as well.
“Most of the time, the process is pretty straightforward,” said Chris Wardell, Delta College accounting instructor.
Students can take advantage of one of two major tax credits that reduce the amount of income tax you have to pay: the American
Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit.
With the American Opportunity Tax Credit, students can use expenses such as tuition, mandatory activity fees, textbooks
–regardless of where you buy them, and course materials to obtain a credit of up to $2,500.
This credit specifies that students must be in a credential or degree program.
Alternatively, students can claim a Lifetime Learning Credit of up to $2,000, which for Delta students would only consider tuition as a qualifying expense.
In this case, pursuing a degree is not necessary.
Students should make sure that they retrieve their 1099T form from the Delta website in order to verify their deductible
“And if they go to more than one school, they should get one [1099T] from each college,” Wardell adds.
Aside from the credits, there is a student loan interest deduction to note for students who already may be paying back student loans and earn less than $75,000 in wages.
There are many details to understand about the tax code, and many people can turn to licensed tax preparers when in
doubt about the process.
However, being aware of the various options may ensure that tax-paying students are getting the most out of their education
For more on specific tax information, visit irs.gov.
The website offers a series of online programs for low-income people to e-file federal taxes free.
Also, the Franchise Tax Board of California, at ftb.ca.gov, offers similar services to file state returns online.
For others looking to learn more about tax preparation, Wardell offers a class on personal income tax here at Delta College.