Tax Information

On This Page:

Stipend Tax Reporting  |  IRS Form 1098-T  |  Canadian Tuition Receipt  |  International Students |  GSAS Students | Stipends as Taxable Income | Getting Taxpayer Status

 

Please note: Beyond the information offered on this site, University staff cannot assist you in tax matters. If you need assistance completing your taxes, you should consult with a qualified tax specialist or a CPA firm.

 

Stipend Tax Reporting

A scholarship/fellowship payment received by a candidate for a degree may not be taxable income to the student if it is used for "qualified expenses." Qualified expenses are defined by the IRS and include tuition and required fees, and/or expenses for books, supplies, and equipment required of all students in the course. These payments do not need to be reported to the IRS by the student or the University.

A scholarship/fellowship used for expenses other than qualified expenses may be taxable income. Taxable scholarships are generally referred to as stipends and are payments for which no services are rendered or required. Examples of stipends are payments that can be used for living and incidental expenses such as room and board, travel, non-required books, and personal computers, etc.

While stipends may be taxable income to students, based on IRS rules, the University is not required to withhold tax on stipends for domestic students or provide students with tax Form 1099. Students are responsible for reporting taxable stipend payments along with any other payments they receive, and for remitting any tax due with their personal income tax return. Foreign students who are non-resident aliens will receive a Form 1042-S reporting taxable stipends. U.S. withholding tax may apply.

Students should maintain a record of the stipend payments they have received during the calendar year (January 1 to December 31), remembering to include payments they received by check via Accounts Payable. The total annual payments received can also be obtained from the departmental award letter(s).  However, since these award letters are generally based on academic year as opposed to the calendar, you may need to reference the award letters for multiple academic years to ascertain the total calendar year amount.

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1098-T Education and Tax Credit Information

The federal government provides two types of tax credits for educational expenses paid by certain eligible students during the tax year. However, not all expenses students pay to the University are considered qualified expenses by the IRS for these tax credits, and not all qualifying expenses are paid to the University. In general, tuition and fees that are directly related to attendance and education are allowable. Room and board, books, insurance, and other personal expenses are generally not allowed.

The purpose of the 1098-T form is to provide information to assist certain eligible students with filing for educational tax credits on a federal tax return for U.S. residents (i.e., U.S. citizens, Permanent Residents, or Resident Aliens for federal tax purposes). If you are not a U.S. resident as described, you do not need this form or need to read further. Please note that the 1098-T form itself may not be sufficient information to file for tax credits, and your tax adviser may need other records from you. Additionally, the 1098-T form is not an income reporting document nor a complete summary of your student account, the latter which is available in SSOL.

 

Who will not receive the 1098-T form

  • 1098-T forms will not be issued if a student’s total qualified tuition and related expenses (which would be reported in Box 1) are entirely paid, waived, scholarships, or grants (which would be reported in Box 5). In other words, if total aid is equal to or greater than tuition, you will not receive a form.
  • Students with Non-Resident Alien status will not receive the form. However, one may be requested by emailing [email protected]. You must have a valid tax identification number on file in order to make this request.

For more information regarding the 1098-T Form, please visit https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1098et.pdf.

Please note: University staff cannot assist you in tax matters. If you need assistance completing your taxes, you should consult with a qualified tax specialist or a CPA firm. Form 1098-T, issued by the University, is the form you need to determine whether you are eligible for the tax credits.  You should review the IRS Publication 970 for more information. For additional questions, please first see below and email [email protected] if needed.

 

1098-T Form FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

 

Q: What is the IRS Form 1098-T?

A: The 1098-T Tax form is a tuition statement provided by higher education institutions to all eligible students (see above) that pay tuition and fees during the calendar year.

More information regarding the 1098-T form can found on the IRS website.

 

Q: When will I receive my Form 1098-T?

A: If you are to receive the form, as described on this webpage, the form will be made available online or via mail, depending on whether you have elected electronic delivery, by January 31st. The US mail may delay physical receipt and you are strongly encouraged to elect online delivery.

 

Q: January 31 has passed and I have not received a 1098-T form. Why not?

A: 1098-T was not generated for you because A) Columbia University does not have a social security number on file for you; B) you are a Nonresident Alien (NRA), or C) all your tuition and related expenses have been paid for by scholarships or grants. To update your student account record with your Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), please log into Student Services Online (SSOL) and enter your SSN/ITIN on the SSN page. If you are a Nonresident Alien, you may request a form by contacting [email protected].

 

Q: How Do I Access My 1098-T Form?

A: You may access your form on January 31. Please log in to Student Services Online (SSOL) and click "1098-T Tax Form" under the "Account” section to find detailed instructions for accessing your 1098-T form.

 

Q: To what address is my 1098-T mailed?

A: If the electronic delivery option is not elected, your 1098-T form will be mailed to the permanent address listed on your CU student record as it appears in Student Services Online (SSOL). Please note, the US mail may delay physical receipt and you are strongly encouraged to elect online delivery.

 

Q: My Social Security Number is incorrect on my 1098-T form. Can I have a new one sent to me?

A:  If the Social Security Number (SSN) on your 1098-T is incorrect, you can update your social security number in Student Services Online (SSOL). To update your student account record with your Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), please log into Student Services Online (SSOL) and enter your SSN/ITIN on the SSN page.

 

Q: What am I supposed to do with Form 1098-T?

A: The purpose of the form is to assist certain students with claiming tax credits. Columbia University cannot provide tax advice. If you have any questions about the 1098-T and tax credit, eligibility, reporting your tax credit on your tax return, or any other tax-related matter, consider reading IRS Publication 970.pdf or contacting your tax consultant.

 

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Canadian Tuition Receipt

Canadian Tuition Receipt (TL-11A) This form is used to certify eligibility for the tuition, education, and textbook amounts of a student attending a university outside Canada and to show the maximum tuition, education, and textbook amounts a student can transfer to a designated individual. It is the Official Tuition Receipt and is calculated in U.S. funds. A Canadian tuition receipt (TL-11A) can be requested by contacting the Service Center at 212-854-4400. Please provide the student's UNI or their 9-digit PID, the tax year requested, and the mailing address. Requests usually take up to 6 business days.

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International Students

Resources for international students and scholars can be found by accessing International Students & Scholars Office Taxes website.

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GSAS Students

Resources for GSAS students can be found by accessing GSAS Tax Information for Students website.

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Stipends as Taxable Income

Stipends can be considered taxable income for international students.  Stipends and on-campus employment may necessitate obtaining a taxpayer ID Number.  This number is used by the University to report the payment and withholding of local, state, and federal taxes.

If you have a US Social Security number (SSN), this is your taxpayer ID number. Note: This is not the 9-digit number assigned by Columbia. An SSN is assigned by the federal government and should never be shared via email.

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Getting Taxpayer Status

If you do not have an SSN and are not eligible to apply for one on the basis of employment, you will need to apply for an Individual Taxpayer ID Number (ITIN). You will need this number to receive your stipend check from the University and to file a US tax return in the spring for US income received during the previous calendar year.

For more information about US tax return requirements for international students, visit the International Students and Scholars Office website.

 

COMMON QUESTIONS: SOCIAL SECURITY AND INDIVIDUAL TAXPAYER NUMBERS

 

Who qualifies for a SSN?

Students in F-1 and J-1 status are eligible to receive a Social Security Number if they have on-campus employment. Doctoral students receiving a stipend their first year may also qualify for a Social Security Number. Click here for more information on applying for an SSN.

 

Who needs to apply for an ITIN?

Students who are not eligible for an SSN but who are receiving any type of payment or reimbursement from the University must apply for an ITIN through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The IRS has special rules for F and J students to apply for an ITIN through the international office. Please go to the ISSO with your passport for assistance.

Students in a status other than F or J will need to follow IRS instructions for filing form W-7. See ITIN - Individual Taxpayer ID Number for more information.

 

How do I apply for an ITIN?

To apply for an ITIN, complete IRS Form W-7 and follow its instructions.

To ensure that the University will be notified and report the correct IRS issued number, enter the following information on Line #3 on the W-7 form:

Columbia University Human Resources

615 W. 131 Street

New York, NY 10027

Unlike an SSN application which is made in person and for which an application receipt is issued on the spot, a W-7 ITIN application is mailed to IRS.

 

Why are taxes withheld from Scholarship payments made to international students, but not payments made to domestic students?

Even though non-qualified scholarship or fellowship payments are taxable to the domestic student, the IRS does not require the University to withhold tax or report the payments to the IRS. Students, however, are required to report non-qualified scholarship and fellowship payments to IRS on their individual tax returns. The IRS requirements are different, however, for "non-qualified" payments to international students. The IRS generally requires taxes to be withheld at the rate of 14% and the scholarship/fellowship amounts be reported to both the IRS and the student on IRS Form 1042-S. Only those international students who are eligible for tax treaty benefits are exempted from tax withholding on the non-qualified amounts. For more information, please send an email to Carlos Lira-Coppa or call 212-851-2849.

For more information regarding student and scholar and tax obligations, please visit ISSO's tax website.

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