If you’ve been walking around the Parkville campus the past few days, you’ve probably heard that there will be a FREE Income Tax Preparation Day at Park University next week. While the April 15th date still carries a bit of foreboding reputation, it doesn’t have to be something that intimidates or confuses you. In fact, income tax returns can be a student’s best friend. It can help pay for future education expenses or be used to purchase transportation or a computer. And here is a novel idea: it can be put in savings or used to pay back your student loans early. Regardless of how you spend it, it’s nice to receive a chunk of change from Uncle Sam. Taking advantage of the various Education Credits that exist for students only fattens the amount.
Outside of refunds, income tax season represents another important piece of the financial planning pie for students. The federal income tax return is the main document students will use to file their 2014-2015 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The earlier you file your FAFSA, the better, because it opens access to more sources of free funding. Sources like the Missouri Access Grant (April 1st Deadline), Perkins Loans, Supplemental Opportunity Grants, and Work Study are all limited funding resources whose availability is dependent on how early you file your FAFSA – which you can only do after you’ve filed an income tax return.
This can cause some confusion for many students because they don’t know if they need to file an income tax return or not. This is largely due to the fact that students, traditional ones especially, don’t earn much money and are claimed as dependents on their parent’s tax returns. While the threshold for legally filing a tax return is $10,000 in earnings, it may be to your advantage to file a tax return even if you have made significantly less than that amount. The combination of education credits, tuition and fees deductions, student loan interest deductions, scholarships, work study earnings, etc., can make it well worth your time. For a traditional student, the decision to file or not should be explored with their family and tax questions should be referred to a professional service.
As a Park student, you’re lucky, as you will have a professional service at your disposal at Park University’s Tax Preparation Day. Qualified tax representatives will be on site to help students complete and file their 2013 Federal tax returns, as well as to answer any questions students might have regarding taxes. Join us between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on March 25th and 26th in Mabee Learning Center Room 600. This is a free service hosted by the Financial Literacy Center and the generous support of NextStepKC. As an added bonus, students who RSVP by 03/21/14 and attend a session will be entered into a drawing for a $50.00 Target Gift Card.
For more information about education credits and benefits that exist for students, visit the IRS Tax Benefits for Education: Information Center website.