Do College Students File Taxes?

college student studying in room

The short answer is. . . probably. As of 2022, if you’re a college student (or even a minor) who has unearned income over $1,250 or earned income over $13,850, then you are a college student who needs to file taxes.

But Can’t My Parents Claim Me as a Dependent?

Well, yes, they can in certain circumstances. If you’re under the age of 19, or under the age 24 and a full-time student, and you live more than half the year with your parents, they can claim you as a dependent, but if your income is above the thresholds mentioned in the first paragraph, you still have to file your own tax return (but you might want to ask your parents to help if it’s your first time filing those taxes).

The Advantages of Filing Taxes as a Student

Really, advantages? Yes, really, there are some advantages for students who file their taxes.

  1. If you did have earned income and taxes were withheld throughout the year, then you may be entitled to a refund, even if you don’t meet the minimum required income.
  2. Full-time students can get tax credits based on certain eligibility requirements. These credits are the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit. A credit reduces the amount of taxes that you owe and, in some cases, is refundable, meaning if it reduces your tax liability to $0, you may get some of that credit as a refund. However, if you’re parents are claiming you as a dependent and they take the tax credit, you cannot claim it on your tax return.

Scholarships and Grants

Scholarships and grants are usually not considered taxable income as long as they cover qualified educational expenses. However, there may be instances when they are considered taxable income.

Student Loan Interest Deduction

For those who are back to paying their student loans, you can deduct up to $2,500 of the student loan interest that you paid. If the loan is in your parents’ name and they can claim you as a dependent, then they can deduct the interest, but you cannot.

If you have more questions about filing taxes as a college student (or are the parent of a college student), one of our tax preparers can help.