If you are a graduate student, postdoc fellow, or postbac fellow, How to Complete Your 2019 PhD Trainee Tax Return (and Understand It, Too!) will help you create an accurate tax return with the least stress possible. This workshop will serve you well whether you ultimately prepare your tax return manually, with tax software, or through a tax preparer.
Fellowship recipients, if you aren’t having income tax automatically withheld from your stipend/salary, you may be responsible for paying quarterly estimated tax. You should use Form 1040-ES to calculate whether you have to pay estimated tax and in what amount. For help with Form 1040-ES, check out my year-round, asynchronous workshop!
Articles Updated for 2019
How to Prepare Your Grad Student Tax Return (Tax Year 2019): A full, detailed, and step-by-step explanation of how grad students should prepare their tax returns, covering the various income types a grad student receives and the education benefits available.
Receive Your Tax "Cheat Sheet"
Subscribe to the Personal Finance for PhDs mailing list for essential information to help funded US graduate students (citizens/residents) with their federal tax returns
Where to Report Your PhD Trainee Income on Your Tax Return: A detailed list of which lines on your tax return you should report W-2 (employee) and non-W-2 (awarded) PhD-related income.
Where to Find Completely Free Help on Your Tax Return: An annotated list of 100% free sources of information and assistance in preparing your tax return. The IRS offers multiple forms of help, and there are also other online and community resources available.
The Complete Guide to Quarterly Estimated Tax for Fellowship Recipients: A long-form article explaining everything from what estimated tax is and who has to pay it to how to calculate your payment to how to make your payment.
Weird Tax Situations for Fellowship Recipients: An article for fellowship recipients (grad students and non-students) on the unusual effects fellowship income has on your taxes.
Weird Tax Situations for Fully Funded Grad Students: An article for funded graduate students on the unexpected effects a ‘student’ status has on your taxes.
Fellowship Income Can Trigger the Kiddie Tax: Young graduate students (under age 24) who receive fellowship income may be subject to the Kiddie Tax. The Kiddie Tax rate is calculated from your parents’ marginal tax rate instead of your graduated tax rates. If your parents are in an equal or higher tax bracket than you, you may end up paying much more in federal income tax if you receive a fellowship rather than W-2 income. This article explains who the Kiddie Tax applies to and how to calculate it.
Older Resources Last Updated for 2018 (But Still Largely Accurate)
The First Step to Complete Your Grad Student Tax Return (2018): A video detailing what tax forms you can expect to receive (or not receive) during tax time and how to process your income numbers before you enter them into your tax return, plug them into tax software, or pass them to your tax preparer.
Do I Owe Income Tax on My Fellowship?: A short podcast episode explaining how fellows, both graduate students and non-students, know whether their fellowship income is taxable.
Form 1098-T: Still Causing Trouble for Funded Graduate Students: Form 1098-T was revamped between 2017 and 2018, which will be a great improvement in 2019 and following. For many funded graduate students, 2018 is a troublesome year with respect to their 1098-T numbers.
Join Our Phinancially Distinct Community
Receive 1-2 emails per week to help you take the next step with your finances.