How to file our income tax paperwork has been a perennial source of confusion for NSOE PhD students.
Existing official information:
- Duke Financial Services Tax Topics Student Tax Information
- Duke Graduate School DGS Manual, Chapter 4: Budgets and Finance
- IRS Publication 970: Tax Benefits for Education: “Taxable Scholarships and Grants” on pp. 6 and “Reporting Scholarships and Fellowship Grants” on pp. 7 for information on how to report our salaries.
- Note that this publication says that, “A scholarship or fellowship grant is tax free only to the extent it doesn’t exceed your qualified education expenses [and that] it doesn’t represent payment for teaching, research, or other services required as a condition for receiving the scholarship.”
- It explains loosely how to report our taxable fellowship salaries as income; note that it does NOT suggest reporting this money as self-employment income, which incites additional charges.
- Tax preparation software often lacks obvious directions on how to report fellowship salaries and other tax situations peculiar to graduate students, but if you go digging through their support documentation, there are often articles for us. (Be careful; some of the user advice is conflicting and/or wrong.)
- IRS quiz: “Do I include my fellowship/scholarship/grant as income on my tax return?”: A handy quiz (~15 min) that helps you decide whether your stipend or grants are taxable. It is designed for US citizens and resident aliens.
Duke refuses to give official tax advice for liability reasons, and we are not tax professionals either, so do not trust our interpretations of tax law. However, many NPAC members are willing to talk unofficially about our experiences filing tax paperwork.