As tax season approaches, many IU students are preparing to file for the first time. The resources available on campus are ready to help students navigate it.
Filing taxes is important for college students because not only is it legally required, but their future employer can potentially look into whether they have been paying their taxes, said Michelle Cain, director of external communications at the Indiana Department of Revenue. Most college students will receive a tax refund, she said.
“Most students probably won’t owe unless they weren’t already paying taxes,” Cain said.
Cain promotes INFreeFile, which is an online tax filing system. It partners with the Internal Revenue Service, the state of Indiana and tax filing companies to allow anyone with a federally adjusted gross income of less than $69,000 to file for free. There are multiple services, so taxpayers can choose which one works best for them.
Mary Kiarie is a freshman at IU and plans on filing taxes for the first time this year. She said she believes an obstacle for college students who will file their taxes is remembering to complete them.
“People I know work odd jobs in the summer and almost forget to do it,” Kiarie said.
Kiarie said she is nervous about filing for taxes and plans on relying on information from her dad to help her. She said she is afraid online programs could be a scam.
Free resources can be available, so students shouldn't have to pay to file their federal taxes said Amy Leyenbeck, community initiatives director of United Way of Monroe County. United Way is a sponsor of the IU volunteer income tax assistance program. The program is similar to INFreeFile, but allows students and community members to make free, in-person appointments if they are intimidated by filing taxes alone.
She said they have 10 locations in Bloomington. A specific branch specializes in helping international students in the Maurer School of Law. Leyenbeck also recommends Sprintax, a tax preparation service, aimed toward international students and non-U.S. residents because it will allow them to file their state and federal taxes online rather than filing a hard copy.
“Some people might not need to file, but they might benefit from it,” Leyenbeck said.
She said she understands that beginning to file taxes can be intimidating, but this is easy compared to everything else students are expected to handle for their classes.