Hey, Curious Campus: What options do I have for filing my tax returns as a UT student worker?

Libby Cohen

Between class and work, filing taxes is another time-consuming to-do for student workers this tax season. However, this objective on the “how to adult” list often times saves students money. 

So, when one of our readers asked us, “What options do I have for filing my tax returns as a UT student worker?” we looked into it as part of Curious Campus, a series where we answer reader-submitted questions.

Students earning under $12,000 per year as independents are not required to file taxes. However, if they do decide to file their taxes, students in this income bracket can receive their federal income tax withheld throughout the year. 

Senior lecturer professor Terri Holbrook said the IRS website is the best place for students to start. In addition to free tax filings, the IRS provides students with tax filing extensions, education credits and student loan interests.  

“It’s important for students to know what is out there for them in terms of returns for educational purposes,” Holbrook said. 

Advertising junior Gabriella Hernandez worked at the McCombs School of Business in 2018 and filed her 2018 tax return through TurboTax. She said some of her fellow student workers were unaware of the tax return opportunities. 

“I know some other student workers who didn’t file their taxes and probably would have gotten some money back but didn’t necessarily know how,” Hernandez said.

Finance senior Ore Tobun, a Flawn Academic Center student worker, said he was going to file his taxes through Foundation Communities, which offers a free tax service for low income families. He also said some of his coworkers were unaware of their tax returns which could be solved by University awareness campaigns.

“I think the University could offer a weekend workshop going over how to use TurboTax or send out an email including places you could get your taxes done for free as a UT student,” Tobun said.

Holbrook said she disagreed with the idea of University aid regarding tax filing as it is not something provided for workers outside the University setting. 

“I don’t think the University is obligated to help any workers file their tax returns as employers aren’t obligated to either,” Holbrook said. 

Biochemistry freshman Mackenzie Chapman works as a hospitality assistant for The Texas Union and also intends on filing her taxes through TurboTax. Chapman said students should claim their taxes as they have earned the money.  

“You’re growing up, and that’s your money that you have earned, so you should learn how to deal with that in the real world,” Chapman said.