Question
As a full-time student, am I exempt from federal income taxes?
Answer

Your status as a full-time student doesn't exempt you from federal income taxes. If you're a U.S. citizen or U.S. resident, the factors that determine whether you owe federal income taxes or must file a federal income tax return include:

  • The amount of your earned and unearned income
  • Whether you can be claimed as a dependent on another person’s tax return
  • Your filing status, and
  • Your age

If your income is below the amount of the filing requirement for your age, filing status, and dependency status, and no other filing requirements apply, you don't owe federal taxes on your income and you don't have to file a federal income tax return. Even if you're not required to file an income tax return, you may choose to file a return if you're entitled to a refund of withheld income tax or estimated tax, or you're eligible for a refundable credit. For more information on filing requirements, refer to Do I Need to File a Tax Return? and Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction and Filing Information.

See Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate, and Can You Claim Exemption from Withholding on Form W-4? to determine if you may claim exemption from income tax withholding. Consider completing a new Form W-4 each year and when your personal or financial situation changes.

For related topics, see Tax Information for Students.

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