Tax Information for Law Students
None of the information here is to be considered tax advice, but should serve only as a general guideline to be confirmed by the IRS, your accountant, or a tax preparer.
Last updated April 2020.
How do I know if I have to file taxes?
Please visit the "Do I Need to File a Tax Return" page on www.irs.gov for your specific filing requirements.
Do students receive any tax reductions?
- The Lifetime Learning Tax Credit is an educational credit of up to $2,000 that can help to reduce your taxes. Your eligibility is based on the cost of tuition and fees for the current tax year.
- Tuition and Fees Deduction: This deduction is taken as an adjustment to your income and may be beneficial if you cannot benefit from the Lifetime Learning Credit because your income is too high. (This benefit cannot be used with the Lifetime Learning Credit and is usually less advantageous.)
- Student Loan Interest Deduction is a deduction for paying your student loan interest on time. It only applies to borrowers who are in repayment and obligated to pay interest.
- Earned Income Credit is a refundable federal income tax credit for low-income working individuals and families.
Are grants, fellowships, and scholarships considered taxable income?
Generally, grants, fellowships, and scholarships received for anything other than tuition and fees are considered taxable income.
Summer grants, fellowships, and scholarships received during periods of non-enrollment are considered taxable income, even if you do not receive a tax statement from the University.
Are loans taxable income?
Loans are not considered to be taxable income, although the interest paid may serve as a deduction on your taxes.
Are SFF and federal work-study taxable income?
SFF and federal work-study are considered to be taxable income, even if you do not receive a W-2 form.
What forms will I need to file my taxes?
- W-2 forms
- 1098-E: Your lender will send this form to you if there is capitalized or paid interest on your student loan during the tax year.
- 1098-T: If you were registered for an academic term during the tax year, this form can be viewed/printed on Wolverine Access under Student Business > Financial Information > View Form 1098-T (available each year by January 31).
How should I file?
If your 2020 adjusted gross income was $69,000 or less, you can e-file for free by using Free File at www.irs.gov.
Please note there is a charge for state taxes. State taxes may instead be filed directly and possibly for free at most state websites.
Is there a deadline for filing taxes?
The deadline has been postponed to July 15, 2020. If you file after the deadline you may have to pay interest and penalties. If you need more time, please visit the IRS website for more information.
Tax Information for International Students
The United States has different sets of tax laws, and it is important to comply with all the tax laws that apply to you. Federal taxes are paid to the U.S. government in Washington, DC, and state taxes are paid to the government of the state in which you live.
Unlike some other U.S. cities, Ann Arbor does not charge city or local taxes.
When to File
If you are present in the United States during a calendar year, you must file tax paperwork in the following year.
For example, if you are in the United States in 2022, you are required to file tax paperwork in 2023, even if you did not work.
What is Taxed
The amount of any U.S. grants, scholarships, fellowships, and income that international students receive for their graduate studies in excess of tuition and mandatory fees (i.e., the portion of funding used to pay for living expenses) may be taxable.
However, some countries have tax treaties with the United States that may exempt students from tax withholding or reduce the amount of taxes they are required to pay.
The University's Payroll provides information on taxation of payments to non-resident aliens and tax treaties. Even if your home country has a tax treaty with the U.S., you are still required to file tax forms.
Changes in Visa Status
If your visa status changes after arriving at the University, you must inform the Registrar of your status change to ensure proper taxation and reporting.
For More Information
Although the University's International Center does not provide individual tax advice, it offers general tax information and workshops for international students and scholars.