Are you perplexed or frustrated by your graduate student tax return?
This workshop shows you exactly how to find, calculate, and enter your higher education-related income and expenses into your tax forms.
You Are Not Alone
Did you know that graduate students frequently underpay or overpay their true tax liability, sometimes by hundreds or thousands of dollars?
This is because our tax system is not designed for PhD students.
- Tax software is designed for ease of use for employees and college students, not our strange mish-mash of the two. It takes a great deal of prior knowledge to properly enter your info to tax software; it is not intuitive for our population.
- Tax preparers frequently mishandle PhD student income and expenses. I have heard a multitude of horror stories about this—and that’s just from the people who eventually caught the mistakes!
- Universities/institutes don’t often ease the burden. Faculty and staff are virtually always disallowed from discussing tax matters. There is no single uniform way that universities handle PhD students’ and postdoc fellows’ income and expenses, which adds to the confusion.
Pssst… Are You Not a Grad Student?
Perhaps one of the other versions of How to Complete Your PhD Trainee Tax Return (and Understand It, Too!) fits you better:
Why You Should Join This Tax Workshop
The workshop takes the stress, struggle, and time waste out of preparing your tax return by showing you exactly how to handle the higher education-related aspects of your tax return.
This is the only educational tax product available that is specifically designed for funded graduate students (US citizens and residents for tax purposes).
1. The workshop assists you in preparing an accurate tax return by whichever method you prefer: directly filling out the forms, tax software, or a professional tax preparer.
The difficult truth is that most of the work you as a PhD trainee need to put in to your tax return happens before you start plugging numbers into fields, and tax software and professional tax preparers don’t really help you do that work. It’s up to you to understand your higher education income and expenses, which is where the workshop comes in.
You want an accurate tax return above all else because:
- You don’t want to overpay your tax (and as a graduate student you cannot afford to!).
- It might feel good to (unknowingly) underpay your tax in the moment, but you don’t want the IRS to chase you down for the difference—plus penalties and interest—a few years from now.
2. The workshop is explicitly designed for funded graduate students. It shows you how to gather and process all your higher education related income and expenses from your:
- Form W-2
- Form 1098-T
- Student account transactions
- Form 1099-MISC
- Courtesy letter regarding your fellowship/training grant income
- Bank account statements
- Receipts for higher education-related purchases
It’s quite common for universities/institutes to not provide certain tax forms for funded graduate students; they are not actually required to issue a Form 1098-T or any documentation of fellowship income! The workshop includes workarounds for those situations.
3. Preparing an accurate tax return will for some PhD students actually reduce their tax liability from what it would have been if they didn’t take into account the nuanced information in this workshop.
I am convinced that many if not the majority of PhD students overlook at least one sizable deduction typically worth hundreds of dollars because of the confusing nature of Form 1098-T.
For the fraction of PhD students with a certain type of scholarship income, there is an almost-unknown alternate method of calculating your tax liability that can reduce your tax due by as much as $800!
4. The workshop covers how to handle certain special scenarios that are common for PhD students, such as:
- Being under age 24 on 12/31/2019, which opens you up to being claimed as a dependent or being subject to the Kiddie Tax
- Having graduated from college in 2019
- Having only non-W-2 fellowship income during the entire year
5. The workshop shows you exactly which lines will be filled out on your final tax return. You will have enough guidance to fill it out directly or you can double-check the return produced by your tax software or tax preparer. This is a very effective error-checking mechanism as the most egregious preparation mistakes result in the wrong lines being filled out.
By the time you complete my workshop, you will:
- Have examined every avenue for minimizing your higher education-related tax liability.
- Recognize mistakes in your previous tax returns and see the opportunity to revise them (potentially)
- Better understand the US tax system and how your income and expenses are viewed.
- Experience peace of mind that your tax return is accurate.
The workshop will benefit you no matter which method you ultimately use to prepare your tax return: DIY with the IRS’s Free Fillable Forms, tax software, or a professional tax preparer.
Anonymous (parent of a graduate student):
“Your website and workshop have proven to be invaluable resources. We pointed out a lot to [our] tax preparer that she did not take into account in her original calculations. We persisted when she initially thought we were wrong, using the IRS info that you reference (especially helpful). I read them in depth and confirmed everything you stated (all correct!). Eventually, the tax preparer realized this as well, and in the end it saved my daughter over $1000!”
What Do You Get When You Join the Workshop?
When you join the workshop, you will receive immediate access to a set of ten videos that methodically teach you how to prepare your graduate student tax return and two worksheets to help you keep your numbers organized.
You will also have the opportunity to ask me questions on a live Q&A call that I hold once per month throughout tax season (this year, into July!).
Don’t waste any more time and energy—purchase my tax workshop now!
Thank you for allowing me to assist you with this particularly challenging aspect of your PhD life!
Frequently Asked Questions
How much time does the workshop take?
I think you should set aside a few hours to complete the workshop, perhaps broken up into two sessions if you need to retrieve information. You will need to watch at least seven of the ten videos and spend some time manipulating your numbers and filling out the worksheets.
Do I need to know anything about taxes?
The workshop assumes you have no familiarity with the tax system and explains everything you need to know from the ground up.
Will the workshop help me if I use tax software?
While the workshop does not refer to any tax software product in particular, the insight you gain into how the higher education benefits work will help you better interpret what your tax software is prompting you for. Much of the work you will do to gather and categorize your own numbers is what your tax software expects you to have done before interfacing with it, anyway. You will also have the ability to double-check the tax return the software produces.
What if I have questions that the workshop videos and worksheets don’t answer?
Please attend one of the live Q&A calls! I hold one every month throughout tax season. You can show up live to talk with me or submit a question in writing in advance, which I will answer during the call. I upload recordings of all the Q&A sessions with the workshop files.
What is your refund policy?
I offer a satisfaction guarantee with this workshop, so if for whatever reason you realize it’s not a good fit for you, simply email me and I will refund the purchase price.
Can I purchase this for my department/program/group?
Absolutely! I offer a 40% discount on bulk purchases. Please email me (emily@PFforPhDs.com) to set up the purchase.