Every year, college students across the nation prepare to file their taxes — and many are filing taxes on their own for the first time. Adding this type of stress to coursework, jobs, sports, and other responsibilities that take up most of a college student’s time is draining. As a matter of fact, filing taxes can be a daunting task for anyone who isn’t properly prepared.
According to the Internal Revenue Service, “tax filing season for 2022 began on January 24 and the deadline for most taxpayers is on April 18.” With tax filing season at an end, a couple of retrospective questions come to mind: Can one be certain that every college student knows what taxes are, along with the requirements and the process? Is Whittier College certain that its students have enough knowledge regarding the process of filing taxes? While some students may be able to respond with a confident “yes,” there are many students who may not feel prepared.
According to Quaker Campus Instagram poll results, 31 out of 43 students filed their own taxes this year, and four out of 36 students filed their taxes for the first time. Additionally, 37 out of 39 students believe Whittier College should offer resources such as workshops, forms, consultants, etc., to help students file correctly.
Take third-year Elizabeth Magana, for instance, who said, “I think there should be resources that help students file taxes because there is a lot of paperwork involved and it can get confusing real fast. Also, what if a student accidentally commits tax fraud because they got too intimidated? That’s my fear.” Magana voices similar thoughts to other students, which should raise concern and action from Whittier College. Additional legal consequences when filing taxes is falling for tax scams or being a victim of identity theft. Because this process involves handing out personal information, such as one’s social security number, it is important to obtain a trusted tax professional for assistance. People can steal personal data if a person falls for a scam, which anyone can fall victim to through a call or email.
While online resources and information found on websites such as IRS, TurboTax, H&R Block, etc., may be useful for students, they may still have further questions that are not addressed. Students who do not have prior knowledge of filing taxes, international students who must file taxes, and students whose first language is not English may struggle and stress more when tax season comes around. This may require students to do some additional research on their own, as well as becoming familiar with specific terminology.
Regardless of whether a student is considered dependent or does not make enough money to file taxes, they will have to start filing taxes at some point in the future. Whittier College should offer a workshop or short course to educate students on taxes. Whittier College could also consider hiring a tax professional who is accessible on campus during tax filing season to assist and advise students filing taxes. These professionals will serve as a valuable resource for students to feel safe and confident. Additionally, students will potentially save hundreds of dollars. According to a survey conducted by the National Society of Accountants, “the average cost of professional tax preparation is $261,” and may increase depending on the forms an individual needs.
Most importantly, they will be able to prepare students when it comes to learning about their rights, the qualifications and benefits for every year, gathering necessary documents, and more. Providing students with knowledge and resources will ensure that they make good use of it beyond college.
Featured Photo: Courtesy of Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash