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The ASU student guide to filing federal and state taxes before tax day

Filing taxes for the first time can be stressful for students. Here's how to complete the process with about two weeks left before the deadline


Money photographed around an ASU I.D. card on Monday, March 14, 2016.

ASU is offering free tax preparation with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program for low- and middle-income people. The program is in partnership with two local organizations, the Tempe Community Council and A New Leaf

The program is open at two sites, one at the Gracie's Village Community Room hosted by the Tempe Community Council. The other is located at ASU West's Sands Classroom Building room 103, hosted by A New Leaf. 

The Tempe site is open now until April 15 on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1 to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon. Appointments are required. The West site will be open on April 8 and 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and accepts walk-ins.  

The deadline to file 2022 tax returns is Tuesday, April 18. Even if you file an extension, you're still required to make income tax payments by the deadline to avoid penalties. 

Do I need to file taxes as a college student?

If you earned income in 2022, you may be required to file a tax return. The Internal Revenue Service has different income thresholds depending on status. 

Typically, unmarried dependents under the age of 65 need to file a tax return if their gross income was at least $12,950. 

Married couples can file together or separately. Couples filing together when they are both younger than 65 must file if their joint income is $25,900 or more. If the couple is filing separately, each person, no matter their age, needs to file if they made $5 or more.

How do I figure out my dependency status?

Associate teaching professor at the W. P. Carey School of Accountancy and ASU VITA coordinator, Donald Frost, said most college students are still claimed as a dependent by their parent or guardian. 

To determine if you are a dependent, you should consider the following:

  • Relationship: Are you related to the person who may claim you as a dependent, such as a parent, grandparent or sibling?
  • Age: Are you under the age of 19, or under the age of 24 and a full-time student? If so, you may be considered a dependent.
  • Residency: Did you live with the person who may claim you as a dependent for more than half of the 2022 tax year?
  • Support: Did the person who may claim you as a dependent provide more than half of your financial support?

If you meet the criteria, are claimed as a dependent on someone else's tax return, and meet the income threshold, will not need to file your own return. If you are unsure about your dependency status, you can use the IRS's Interactive Tax Assistant tool.

What forms and information do I need for filing?

Multiple forms may be needed for filing your taxes, or for you to provide to the person claiming you as a dependent. 

  • 1040 form: This is the main form you'll use to file your federal tax return and report your income. 
  • W-2 form: If you worked for an employer, including for the University, you'll receive a W-2 form that states how much you made during the tax year and how much was withheld. ASU student workers can receive their W-2 forms through their MyASU account.

"(The W-2 form) is going to have information about your gross wages, your federal income tax withholding, and a variety of other things," Frost said. "For the basic college student who may or may not actually end up owing anything, there's probably going to have been federal income tax withholding taken out."

  • 1098-T form: This shows the amount of tuition you paid and any scholarships or grants you received. The 1098-T form can also be accessed through a MyASU account
  • 1098-E form: If you paid any interest on student loans (more than $600), your loan servicer should provide this form. You can use this to deduct interest payments from your taxes. 
  • 8863 form: You should complete this form if you plan to claim one of two IRS educational tax credits, which can reduce how much you owe on your taxes. 
  • State tax return forms: States have their own rules for who has to pay state taxes. Depending on where you work and where you live, you may also need to file state tax return forms. 

For international students: 

  • 1042-S form: This is the international version of the W-2 form, and will be provided by your employer with information on income earned. 
  • 8843 form: If you make no income in the U.S. as an international student, you are required to fill out this form to report it to the IRS.

How do I incorporate student loans into my taxes?

"For active students right now, if you're still in school, most student loans are still in deferral until about six months after you graduate," Frost said. 

Additionally, student loan repayments have been put on pause since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020. If the U.S. Department of Education is able to implement President Joe Biden's proposed debt relief program before June 30, the pause will continue. If not, payments will resume 60 days after June 30. 

READ MORE: Students camp outside Supreme Court ahead of student loan hearing

When it comes to reporting taxes, it's important to note that student loans should not be included as income – they're not taxable, since they are expected to be paid back. 

Additionally, if you received scholarships to pay for tuition, fees, equipment or required course materials, that is also nontaxable and doesn't need to be reported on your tax return. 

However, if any part of the scholarship money was used for optional expenses, then that portion is taxable. 

"If we have any students who are receiving scholarships, either from ASU or from another organization, some of that is probably tax-free, but if it includes room and board, then that would be subject to tax that would be included in these numbers as well," Frost said. 

If you received money for teaching, research or other services related to your scholarship, that money is also taxable and should be reported as part of your gross income.

What free software can I use to file my taxes?

Even before COVID-19, e-filers were becoming a popular way to do taxes. As of February 2023, about 95% of 2022 returns have been filed online. There are several free tax filing software options available for people who meet income and eligibility requirements. 

  • IRS Free File: The IRS offers a free program for taxpayers who have an adjusted gross income of $73,000 or less that offers free tax preparation and e-filing. 
  • TurboTax: TurboTax is free when filing on your own for qualifying simple federal and state tax preparation.
  • H&R Block: This program is also free for simple state and federal returns and filing on your own.
  • Credit Karma: Credit Karma offers free federal and state tax e-filing and preparation for all users. 
  • My Free Taxes by United Way: My Free Taxes allows any person to e-file federal and state taxes at no cost and will also help prepare taxes if you makes less than $60,000.
  • Sprintax: International ASU students can use this site when e-filing taxes. A link to sign up for this program has been sent to these students by the University's International Students and Scholars Center. Accessing Sprintax through a MyASU account will provide a student with a code to cover the costs of the federal tax return.

Edited by Jasmine Kabiri, Reagan Priest and Piper Hansen.

Reach the reporters at and and follow @sadie_buggle and @richardwithat on Twitter. 

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Sadie BuggleOpinion Editor

Sadie Buggle is the Editor of the State Press Opinion Desk. This is her third semester working for the State Press after two semesters reporting for the Community and Culture Desk.

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