You Savvy Devil

Savē + Salt

Author: schreire (page 1 of 2)

Savvy and Busy

The Savē calendar has been full this week!


On Tuesday, April 10th, we welcomed local financial adviser Lindsey Ciarrocca, who talked about  financial planning considerations for women. Lindsey pointed out the importance of identifying our long-term financial goals so we can take steps now to make goals our reality.

One of my favorite slides from Lindsey’s presentation illustrated the impact eating out for lunch a few times a week can have on our long-term savings goals.

 

Special thanks to the Women’s & Gender Resource Center for co-sponsoring this fantastic lecture, and thanks to Lindsey for volunteering her time!


Thursday we hosted a tax workshop which was meant to help attendees feel more confident about preparing their tax returns. We had three fantastic volunteers from the Money In Your Pocket (VITA) tax preparation program here at Dickinson, and quite a few students stayed for the hour-long workshop.

A few of our tax workshop attendees.

 If you missed this event, you can find the outline we used here.

Special thanks to Anna, Fangzhou, and Jordan for their really excellent assistance. We could not have helped so many people without you!


 

Thursday evening, Rebecca was invited to speak with the Trendsetters, Dickinson’s first-generation student group. We had a lively and engaging discussion on credit & debt, student loans, and budgeting basics.

Notes from our presentation on credit scores.

Thanks to the Trendsetters for inviting us, and for such a productive conversation! (Also, thanks for the Miseno’s pizza.)


We hope you’ll join us later this month as we focus on preparing finances for studying abroad, and learn how to protect ourselves from a wide variety of scams – and the financial fallout that can result!

 

Tax Return DIY

The deadline to file taxes for 2017 is April 17, 2018.

With one week left to file, you might feel overwhelmed – but don’t panic! Many students will be able to use the step-by-step instructions below to get started and file their federal return for free.

Step 1: Do you need to file?

The Interactive Tax Assistant will help you find out.

Review your 2017 earnings and take this quiz from the IRS: https://www.irs.gov/help/ita/do-i-need-to-file-a-tax-return

 

Step 2: Gather your documents and information.

You will need:

  1. Your Social Security Number
  2. Your Permanent mailing address
  3. W2 forms from every employer you had in 2017
  4. A record of cash earned from odd jobs, for which you will not receive an income tax form
  5. Determine if you had health coverage for the entirety of 2017
  6. Your bank account information (for electronic refund); you’ll need the financial institution’s routing number and your personal account number, both easily found on a blank check

 

In rare cases, a student might need:

  • 1099-MISC forms if you worked for someone but were not considered an employee
  • 1099-E if you made any payments on your student loans in 2017
  • 1099-INT or 1099-DIV if you received interest or dividend payments from investments in your name

 

If you have special circumstances, including but not limited to the following list, please see a tax professional as soon as possible:

 If you have dependents.

If you have interest or dividend income.

If you have small business income, a capital gain, or other types of income beyond those listed on a W2, 1099-MISC, or cash payments.

If you made payments on a student loan in 2017, or if you want to try to claim any education-related tax credits. (Learn more here: https://www.irs.gov/individuals/students)

If you feel any part of these instructions doesn’t fully capture your unique situation.

Step 3: Determine your filing status.

You can use the IRS Tax Assistant to determine your status: https://www.irs.gov/help/ita/what-is-my-filing-status

In some cases, you will be able to skip this step and rely upon the tax filing software you will use in step 5.

 

Step 4: Find out if you are someone else’s dependent.

In most cases, it will be important to talk with your parent(s) to find out if they will claim you as a dependent on their tax return. If you have contact with your parent(s) be sure to have a conversation with them before you claim yourself as an exemption on your tax return.

 

Step 5: Use the IRS Free File resources to complete your federal tax return.

Start at https://www.irs.gov/ and select Free File:

 

Most students will be eligible for free software because their income will be below $66,000 for 2017. Click on Start Free File Now:

 

Find the free filing tools that will be best for your unique situation by selecting Lookup Tool:

 

Fill in the Eligibility Verification form with your own personal details. Here is an example of a 20-year-old student from Pennsylvania, who earned $3,500 at their summer and federal work study jobs in 2017.

 

Click Continue to see the federal return filing options available for you. Below,  you can see the options that were suggested for the sample student, above:

 

Once you select a free filing tool, you do not have to agree to any “value added” upgrades. These are extras for which a company will charge money – examples include audit protection or credit monitoring. Some students may prefer to use these additional services, but remember you are not required by law to agree to any additional services in order to file your federal tax return.

 

Step 6: Consider your timeline and circumstances.

Feeling overwhelmed? It is not too late to request an extension to file your return, and if the tax professional cannot complete your tax return before April 17th, they will be able to help you with a request for an extension.

You may also submit your own Extension Form – here is the IRS resource page for filing extensions: https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/extension-of-time-to-file-your-tax-return

 

Step 7: Send them off!

Submit your completed tax return to the IRS after carefully reviewing all of your information. This may be done electronically (for faster tax refunds) or by printing and mailing a return.

 

Step 8: Think about your state and local responsibilities.

Once you have filed your federal return, be sure to find out if you must also file a state tax return. Some free online programs will allow you to file the state return with relative ease.

You should also see if you received a local (city, school district, county, etc.) tax form. Typically these are mailed to your permanent address.

 

Step 9: Keep records.

Save an electronic and/or paper copy of your federal tax return, state tax return, and all of your forms (W2, 1099s, etc.). You will need these for a variety of reasons in the future!

 

Step 10: Follow up and avoid scams!

Keep an eye out for your notification that the IRS accepted you return, your refund (if applicable), and avoid tax scams.

The IRS lists the “Dirty Dozen” tax scams every year (https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-wraps-up-dirty-dozen-list-of-tax-scams-for-2018-encourages-taxpayers-to-remain-vigilant) but in general, they won’t call you and threaten you or request personal information over the phone. Scammers will try to scare you into acting quickly, so you fall for their trap – take a breath and reach out to your local IRS office, or an official IRS help line (https://www.irs.gov/help/telephone-assistance), to find out if the contact was authorized by the IRS.

 

 

*Disclaimer: The author of this post and the members of Savē are not tax professionals. This information is intended to help individuals organize their tax-related materials and find safe tax filing resources from the Internal Revenue Service. Filing questions should be referred to the IRS or a tax professional, and this site should not be used as a substitute for advice from a licensed tax professional in your state.

Scholarship Opportunity!

One of the most common questions we get in Financial Aid is, where can I find outside scholarships?

So glad you asked!

The Pennsylvania Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (PASFAA) is offering seven $1,000 scholarships to Pennsylvania residents this year. If you’re a Dickinson student from PA, and you’re taking at least 3 classes a semester, you might qualify for this scholarship! (See other eligibility requirements here.)

Applications are due May 1st, 2018. Click here to apply.

Scholarship winners will be notified this summer.

 

Good luck!

Financial Literacy Month

Did you know April is Financial Literacy Month?

Yes, the entire month of April. That’s how important this stuff is – it gets its own month.

Savē is here to help! We’re hosting workshops throughout April to help you with everything from taxes to avoiding financial scams. As always, you can schedule a personal budgeting session or ask us to speak at a group meeting at any time by emailing financialliteracy@dickinson.edu.

We are looking forward to seeing you this month! 

 

Get your Easy Button ready…

Financial Aid Counselor Chris holds our Easy Button

 

Hey there, Dickinsonians!

 

If you’ve been here for more than a year, and you receive financial aid, you know we collect a new application every spring. Most domestic students will file a FAFSA, complete an online application through the Gateway, and submit other requested documents.

We’re so excited to offer you a new, secure way to send us your financial aid documents! Now you can upload files (.pdf, .doc, and .docx) through the Dickinson website.

 

Learn more on our Financial Aid Secure Document Submission page:

https://www.dickinson.edu/DocumentSubmission

 

-Happy Spring Break from

your Financial Aid Office

 

 

Money in Your Pocket – Free Tax Prep, On Campus

Don’t forget to make your appointment for free tax preparation through the Money in Your Pocket program at Dickinson!

 

Money In Your Pocket – 2017 Tax Preparation Assistance
Mondays Afternoons by appointment only: 4:15-6:30 p.m.
January 29 through February 26

Money In Your Pocket – a free, onsite tax preparation assistance program – is available at Dickinson College in Althouse 204 on Monday evenings from January 29 through February 26 from 4:15-6:30 p.m. for those in the Carlisle community with income less than $54,000 per year. Anyone interested in this free service should schedule an appointment and arrive with their W2 forms, original social security card (for all listed on your tax return) and a valid picture ID card (driver’s license/passport/military id). An appointment is required for this free service.

To make an appointment for the Money in Your Pocket tax preparation services at Dickinson College, please call 717-254-8781. For more information or assistance, please call 717-724-4077 or send an email to miyp@uwcr.org.

 

What’s Important About Money to You?

Local finance expert Lindsey Ciarrocca came to campus last Thursday to share some finance basics with interested students. Lindsey talked about the importance of having financial goals and plans – even as early as your time in college!

Using a pyramid of financial needs – which psychology students would recognize as akin to Maslow’s  Heirarchy of Needs – Lindsey helped us to consider the bottom level of financial wellness. Attendees inventoried some personal short- and long-term goals, and were challenged to consider what they hope retirement will look like. We talked about the way a budget can help us reach financial goals, and learned why it is important to create an emergency fund.

“Sooner is better” – Illustrating the wonder of compounding interest and the importance of early retirement contributions.

Many thanks to Lindsey for volunteering her time, and thanks to Dickinson’s Women’s & Gender Resource Center for co-sponsoring the event.

Pop-Up Series #2: Student Loans

 

Carolyn and Amy share important information.

Today we held a pop-up workshop to answer questions related to student loans. We didn’t stop there, though, and were able to answer questions about credit scores, student accounts, study abroad, and how Salt works! Thanks to everyone who dropped in with thoughtful questions – you made this pop-up a success!

 

Salt freebies. The fidget spinners always go first.

 

 

Big thanks to Carolyn and Erica from financial aid, Amy from Student Accounts, and our Savē Co-Coordinators, for volunteering their time.

 

 

Dickinson + VITA

April 15th. This date might not ring any bells for you right now, and – let’s be honest – it sounds pretty far away.

April 15th is the standard filing deadline* for US federal tax returns. If you make money in 2017 and
  • Want to file a return to potentially receive a tax refund from the federal government, or
  • You made enough money that you are required to file –
you’ll need to keep April 15th in mind.

 

Lots of students have confusion over federal tax filing, and with good reason – tax law can seem like a total mystery if you don’t deal with it regularly! We always recommend students get involved with Dickinson’s VITA connection.

VITA stands for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. It is approved by the IRS and supported locally through the United Way. There are two ways you can participate:
  1. Take advantage of the opportunity to have your US federal taxes** filed for FREE, on campus! The VITA office is open on Monday evenings from late January through the end of February. You’ll need to sign up for an appointment, so watch for more information closer to tax filing time.
  2. Why not volunteer?! This is a great opportunity to learn a valuable life skill, while giving back to our campus and the Carlisle community. Once you have the training, you’ll be able to help others, file your own taxes, and who knows – it might turn into a paying side gig for you one day!

To learn more, attend the VITA informational meeting on Thursday, October 5, from 1 – 1:25 PM in Althouse 201.

Email Professor Joy Middaugh for more details. 

 

*For 2017 tax returns, the filing deadline will be April 17, 2018. This is because the 15th falls on a weekend, and Monday the 16th is Emancipation Day, a legal holiday.
**If you need to file an international return, contact CGSE for support.

Financial Aid Tip #1

It might feel like it’s too early to think about NEXT school year – you’re just getting settled into THIS year, after all! But for the second year, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid is open on October 1st.

Because the FAFSA now uses income information from two years ago, most people will be able to finish their FAFSA this fall. Depending on your home state, there could be a benefit to filing early.

Dickinson’s deadline is May 1st, but why not get it out of the way?

 

 

Pro Tip: Most students will be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to make the FAFSA a breeze.

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