W-4 - Allowances, Excess FICA, Students, Withholding (2004 IRS FAQ)

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IRS FAQ 1.16 IRS Procedures: W-4 - Allowances, Excess FICA, Students, Withholding

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

Every U.S. citizen or resident must file a U.S. income tax return if certain income levels are reached. There is no exemption from tax for full-time students. Factors that determine whether you have an income tax filing requirement include:
  • the amount of your income (earned and unearned),
  • whether you are able to be claimed as a dependent,
  • your filing status, and
  • your age.
If your income is below the filing requirement for your age, filing status, and dependency status, you will not owe income tax on the income and will not have to file a tax return. You may choose to file if you have income tax withholding that you would like refunded to you.

You may have given your employer a Form W-4 (PDF), Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate, claiming exemption from withholding. To claim exemption from withholding, you generally would have to have had no tax liability the previous year and expect none in the current year. An exemption certificate is good for the calendar year.

For related topics seeTax Information for Students .


What can be done if an employer will not withhold income taxes, social security, and Medicare from my pay?

Generally, in situations such as this, the employer is not considering you to be an employee. Rather, you are being treated as an independent contractor (self-employed person). If you cannot resolve this matter with your employer, and if you feel that an employer-employee relationship exists, you should submit a Form SS-8 (PDF), Determination of Employee Work Status for Purposes of Federal Employment Taxes and Income Tax Withholding. The factors used to determine if an employer-employee relationship exists are covered in Chapter 2 of Publication 15-A (PDF), Employer's Supplemental Tax Guide.

If your status as an employee is not at issue, it may be that you are in a category of employment whose earnings are not defined as wages under U.S. federal tax and social security law. Find out from your employer the reason that social security and Medicare taxes and income taxes are not being withheld from your pay. If you have further questions, contact the IRS at 800-829-1040 or visit an IRS walk-in office for assistance.

  • Form SS-8 (PDF) , Determination of Employee Work Status for Purposes of Federal Employment Taxes and Income Tax Withholding
  • Publication 15-A (PDF) , Employer's Supplemental Tax Guide
  • Publication 1779 (PDF) , Independent Contractor or Employee

Source: IRS.gov

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