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What Do Students Need to Know About Filing Taxes?

Types of Income

Students must report all types of income. Income may include self-employment income such as babysitting or tutoring fees, job-related income and investment income. Those students who receive tips in a restaurant or other business must also report their tips. If you are self-employed, you may deduct business expenses.


Student only have to file a tax return if they earn more than $400 through self-employment or more than $5700 through a job. Your employer should send a W-2 in January of each year indicating the amount of money earned for the previous year. However, you can file if you make less than the required amounts and in that case you will get back all of the income tax that you paid in.

If you are reporting only income reported on a W-2 and you plan to take education deductions, use a 1040A form. Only use a 1040EZ if you are claiming yourself and if you do not plan to take any education deductions.


Many students think that they cannot file taxes if their parents claim them. However, students can still file taxes on the income that they earned, but they need to indicate on their return that they have been claimed by someone else on another return.

IIf your parents do not claim you on their return, you should claim yourself and take deductions for your tuition and related education expenses.

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