Student Taxes

Filing a tax return for teens and college students can be confusing, especially for first time filers.
Items you will find on this page include:

Or maybe you’re an international student attending an Indiana college or university. If so, please refer to Information for International Students.
 

The Indiana Department of Revenue (DOR), wants your tax season to be stress-free and easy. We have compiled the top ten tax tips to help:

1. Use the correct forms. Incorrect or outdated forms submitted will cause your return to be delayed or even sent back for refiling.
2. Always file state taxes, even if you are under the “$1,000/year income” threshold or don't expect a refund.
3. Don't file your taxes until you have all your income statements and appropriate documents.
4. File your taxes electronically, if possible, as this processes faster and more accurate.
5. Check to ensure your return is complete and correct. Write clearly, and use blue or black ink.
6. If you claimed certain deductions or credits be sure to include all required and supporting documentation.
7. Make and save copies of all relevant paperwork submitted in case you need to reference them later.
8. Be sure to send state returns to DOR. Federal forms go to the IRS.
9. Don't duplicate your filing. Filing more than once causes further delay in the refund process.
10. If you receive any correspondence from DOR, please respond accordingly and quickly.

Also, if your permanent address changes, you will need to update your address with the DOR.  DOR does not contact customers by telephone or email for important tax matters, so it is important that your mailing address is correct.

Terms to Know

Adjusted Gross Income

The amount of income to be taxed after taking exemptions, deductions and credits.

Credit

An amount that reduces what you owe. If your credits exceed what you owe, you may get a refund.

Deduction

Lowers the amount of income to be taxed.

Dependent

In general, students are dependents of their parent(s) or guardian(s) if they:

 
  • Received financial support from the parent(s) or guardian(s) for more than six months of the year, and;
    • Are under the age of 19 at the end of the tax year or;
    • Are under the age of 24 at the end of the tax year and are a full-time student.

Exemption

An amount you are entitled to claim as a deduction against personal income. It has the effect of reducing your income tax.

Filing due date

In general, your Indiana individual income taxes must be filed by April 15.

Filing status

The state of Indiana recognizes three filing statuses:

• Full-year resident – You maintained a legal place of residence in Indiana from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31. You do not have to be physically present in Indiana the entire year to be considered a full-year resident.

Example: Brittany is a student at Illinois State University. She lives in Illinois during the school year and lives at home with her parents in Fort Wayne, Ind. when school is not in session. Brittany is a full-year Indiana resident and should file using Form IT-40.

 

• Part-year resident – You established Indiana residency during the year, or moved out of Indiana during the year.

Example: During the year Logan moved to Indiana from Minnesota. He registered his car in Indiana, got an Indiana driver’s license and registered to vote in Indiana. Logan is a part-year Indiana resident and should use Form IT-40PNR.

 

• Full-year nonresident – You are a full-year resident of a state (or foreign country) other than Indiana.

Example: Sean, who is from Missouri, attends college in Indiana (and pays nonresident tuition). Sean is a full-year nonresident, even though he lives in Indiana for nine months of the year, and should use Form IT-40 PNR.

INFreefile

A free service offered by DOR and selected vendors that allows qualified Indiana taxpayers to file federal and state tax returns online and at no cost.

Refund

A return of overpaid taxes.

Residency

Your legal place of residence from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31. Filing status determines the form used when filing your state taxes. Our website contains additional information on residency status.

Return (tax return)

The form or set of forms/schedules on which you file your taxes.

Schedule

A form required (in addition to the tax return) where the taxpayer has certain types of income, deductions and credits to list. These commonly include interest income from U.S. government obligations, a renter’s deduction, and state tax withheld.

W-2

A form supplied by a person’s employer (no later than Jan. 31) that states the amount of earned wages and amounts withheld.

High School Students

Do I need to file a tax return?

Those who qualify as Indiana residents must file an Indiana tax return if wages and other income is $1,000 or more. Nonresidents must pay taxes on any amount of income earned in Indiana. You must file an Indiana tax return even if you expect to receive a tax refund.

 

Can my parents still claim me as a dependent on their taxes if I file a return?

Yes, if they claimed you as a dependent on their federal tax return.

 

What if my parents can’t or didn’t claim me as a dependent on their tax return?

Indiana allows all filers to claim their own personal exemption on a state tax return.

 

Can my parents file my taxes for me?

Your parents can help you prepare your return, but they cannot sign it for you. Always review your return for accuracy as you are responsible for the information even if someone else prepares the return.

If you are an Indiana resident, you should complete the Personal Representative information at the bottom of Schedule 7 which authorizes a DOR representative to speak with a designated person (such as a parent or guardian) about anything on that specific tax return.

Non-residents should also complete a Power of Attorney form POA-1 to allow a DOR representative to speak with a third-party.

College Students

Do I need to file a tax return?

Those who qualify as Indiana residents must file an Indiana tax return if wages and other income is $1,000 or more.

Nonresidents must pay taxes on any amount of income earned in Indiana. You must file an Indiana tax return even if you expect to receive a tax refund.

 

Can my parents still claim me as a dependent on their taxes if I file a return?

Yes, if they claimed you as a dependent on their federal tax return.

 

What if my parents can’t or didn’t claim me as a dependent on their tax return?

Indiana allows all filers to claim their own personal exemption on a state tax return.

 

Can my parents file my taxes for me?

Your parents can help you prepare your return, but they cannot sign it for you. Always review your return for accuracy as you are responsible for the information even if someone else prepares the return.

If you are an Indiana resident, you should complete the Personal Representative information at the bottom of Schedule 7 which authorizes a DOR representative to speak with a designated person (such as a parent or guardian) about anything on that specific tax return.

Non-residents should also complete a Power of Attorney form POA-1 to allow a DOR representative to speak with a third-party.

 

I work and attend college out-of-state. Do I have to report that money to Indiana?

Probably. If your income from all sources is more than $1,000, you’ll need to file a tax return with Indiana and include the income you earned in Illinois. In most cases, you are still an Indiana resident even if you attend school in another state.
You are considered a full-year resident for tax purposes if you maintained a legal place of residence (e.g., a parent or guardian’s home) in Indiana from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31. You do not have to be physically present in Indiana the entire year to be considered a full-year resident. Use form IT-40.

Example: Brittany is a student at Illinois State University. Brittany lives in Illinois during the school year and lives with her parents in Fort Wayne, Ind., when school is not in session. Therefore, Brittany is a full-year Indiana resident.


You may need to file a tax return with the other state as well. Refer to Department of Revenue for the state where you worked for more information. If you need to file a tax return with the other state, you may be eligible for a credit for taxes paid to other states on your Indiana tax return.

 

I am an out-of-state student attending a college or university in Indiana.

Out-of-state students usually maintain their legal residence in their home state. However, there are certain events that will establish Indiana residency.
Part-year resident – You established Indiana residency during the year. Use form IT-40 PNR.


Example: During the year Logan moved to Indiana from Minnesota. He registered his car in Indiana, got an Indiana driver’s license and registered to vote in Indiana. Logan is a part-year Indiana resident.


Full-year nonresident – You are a full-year resident of a state (or country) other than Indiana. Use form IT-40 PNR.

If you were a full-year resident of Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania or Wisconsin, and your only income from Indiana was from wages, salaries, tips or commissions then you need to file Form IT-40RNR, If you had any other type of income from Indiana, use form IT-40PNR.


Example: Sean, who is from Missouri, attends college in Indiana (and pays nonresident tuition). Sean is a full-year nonresident, even though he lives in Indiana for nine months of the year.

 

I’m a student from Indiana and currently studying abroad (outside the US).

Generally, Indiana residents are subject to tax on all their income, regardless of where they are located or from where the income originates.

 

I’m an out-of-state student studying abroad through an Indiana college or university.

Unless you earned income in Indiana, you do not need to file an Indiana tax return if you are a resident of another state.

 

I’m in the National Guard or a reserve component of the armed forces and attending college.

Information Bulletin #27 and the DOR’s Indiana Deductions from Income page have information regarding residency and deductions.

Information on County Taxes

If you lived or worked in Indiana on Jan. 1, you will need to pay the appropriate county tax.
An individual may be subject to county tax in Indiana even if the taxpayer is not an Indiana or US resident.

An individual will be treated as a resident of the county based on the following:

  • Where the individual maintains a home (if he or she has only one home, this includes those who own or rent)
  • If that does not apply, then where the individual is registered to vote;
  • If neither of the above applies, then where the individual registers his or her vehicle;
  • If none of the above apply, then where the individual spends the majority of his or her time in Indiana during the tax year in question.

Those Indiana nonresident students who first attend college beginning sometime after Jan. 1 of the year will not be considered county residents for that first year.

Usually, nonresident students attending the year-end wrap period, such as the fall semester followed by the spring semester, probably qualify as a resident of the county as of that Jan. 1 and are subject to county tax.

INfreefile


Many students may qualify to file federal and Indiana tax returns for free by using INfreefile. Vendors use a simple, question and answer format that makes filing taxes faster and easier. Learn more about INfreefile on our FAQ page.

Filing a paper return?

IRS forms
State Forms

Include only those schedules on which there is an entry. Do not staple anything. Enclose all W-2s and schedules.

Add additional postage if your return is more than four pages.

If you are sending a payment, mail your forms to:

Indiana Department of Revenue
P.O. Box 7224
Indianapolis, IN 46207-7224

Or pay online. You will still need to mail your tax return for processing.

If you cannot pay the total amount owed, you may request a payment plan through INtax.

If you are claiming a tax refund, mail your forms to:

Indiana Department of Revenue
P.O. Box 40
Indianapolis, IN 46206-0040

Can’t pay what you owe?

Pay as much as you can by the April deadline to reduce the amount of penalty and interest that will be due. As soon as you receive a bill from DOR, call the number on the bill to see what payment options may be available.

Identity Confirmation

Selected individuals will receive a letter requesting them to confirm their identities by taking a two minute quiz either by telephone or online. It is important to open the letter and take the quiz as soon as possible to continue processing the tax return, including any tax refund that may be due. Read more information on the DOR’s increased security measures to protect Hoosiers and the state from identity theft and identity fraud.

Moving?

Don’t forget to change your address with the DOR.

Need additional help?

Visit our Filing My Taxes page.

Can’t find what you are looking for? Visit our Frequently Asked Questions for more information or call DOR directly with your specific tax question at (317) 232-2240.