Tax season is upon us, which can be an intimidating time for many. Understanding taxes and why filing is important can be confusing. However, the university Financial Wellness Center is working to help increase understanding around tax filing and wants to help you tackle the issues that come with it.
Filing one’s taxes helps the taxpayer figure out their tax liability, final wages, what interest they have accrued, capital gains and any other profits or losses they had over the course of a year. The Financial Wellness Center at the U offers financial counseling for those who need help with finances, making important financial decisions, budgeting, or taxes. Students who are single and earned more than the $12,550 standard deduction in 2021 are required to file a tax return, but students who worked and made under $12,550 in 2021 should still file to claim the state and federal taxes that were deducted during the year, as they didn’t make enough money to pay taxes.
This spring, students from the U will be volunteering at VITA sites around the Salt Lake community to offer free tax help to people who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. There is a link to this program on the Financial Wellness Center website. Many students at the U are studying to take the IRS tax exam so they can help those in the community, including other students at the U, get their taxes done!
The U’s partnership with Salt Lake County to increase enrollment for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and provide community assistance was impressive enough to garner the attention of the federal government! The program was mentioned in a fact sheet for a White House press conference titled, “Vice President Kamala Harris Leads Biden-Harris Administration Day of Action to Ensure Americans Get the Tax Credits They Deserve.” Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen expounded on the goals of these projects in a speech that can read here.
The Financial Wellness Center website also contains pages of resources for those who need guidance while filing their taxes. The website offers information for those who would like to learn more about tax credits they qualify for, links to free self-filing tax programs, various tax forms and resources for international students’ taxes. Here is some information that can be found on the website regarding the resources above.
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
- The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) helps low- to moderate-income workers and families get a tax break. If you qualify, you can use the credit to reduce the taxes you owe (and maybe increase your refund). To see if you qualify for the ETIC call this hotline 385-465-5172.
- IRS Free File lets you prepare and file your federal income tax preparation, at an IRS partner site or Free Fillable Forms. Learn more here.
- The IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs offer free basic tax return preparation to qualified individuals. The VITA program has operated for over 50 years. VITA sites offer free tax help to people who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns, including:
- People who generally make $58,000 or less
- Persons with disabilities
- Limited English-speaking taxpayers
- IRS forms are documents used to report certain financial transactions, calculate taxes owed or prepare tax returns. There are hundreds of kinds of IRS forms and the IRS reissues many of them on an annual basis to incorporate changes in tax rules. However, you probably don’t need to care about most of them.
International Student Taxes
- International students and scholars, who receive income from a U.S.-based source, are required to file federal tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by April 15, 2022. You may also be required to file state tax returns as well. Sources of the income may include the following: on-campus employment, graduate assistantships (TA, RA, GA), scholarships, fellowships, grants or earnings from OPT or CPT.
For more information on financial wellness, or to get started with filing your taxes, don’t hesitate to visit the Financial Wellness Center website. In addition to helping you file your taxes, the Financial Wellness Center is also hosting a “U Saves Week,” with events scheduled for this Tuesday and Thursday. More information on those events can be found here.