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Taxes for Student Groups

For UNC student groups that bring in less than 50k per year, the CSLS Director may be able to answer your questions about filing IRS form 990-N for non-profit organizations.  For groups that bring in more than 50k per year, we can provide the names of local accountants to help your group.  We do not provide tax assistance to groups that bring in more than 50k per year. 


Taxes for Individual Students

CSLS does not have tax attorneys or accountants on staff to help students file their taxes or answer questions about their taxes.  However, UNC students are eligible to use the services of the Orange County Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA).  Appointments begin on January 15th.  Students should call as soon as possible.  Hours and dates of service for VITA are limited.  


What is VITA?

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is an IRS initiative designed to support free tax preparation service for the underserved through various partner organizations. This service helps low to moderate income individuals.  Please note that at this time international students are not eligible to use VITA. (CSLS can provide international students with the names of local accountants.) Refugee students can go to the Refugee Center for specialized help with taxes.


Ways to File through VITA



Beginning in January 2022, VITA plans to have in-person sites in Orange County for filings at the Seymour Center at 2551 Homestead Rd, Chapel Hill and the Passmore Center in Hillsborough.  Anyone in the county can get an appointment.  The Seymour location is on a bus route.  You may have to wait, sometimes a minimum of 2 hours.   Hours will be determined as tax season gets closer, but they typically work from Wednesday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Use the link below to schedule an appointment.  VITA begins taking appointments on January 15th.


 ​Other Ways to File through VITA: 

This is a safe and secure, White House and Department of Treasury sponsored site.  Most students will qualify for VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) services and those students can use the mobile app to upload photos of their photo ID, social security card, photos of their tax documents, and more. Married students can file together and students with children can upload photos of their children's social security cards for easy access for VITA volunteers. GetYourRefund can also file prior year tax returns (up to 3 years prior).


For clients who have just W2s there is a simpler tool that is launching this year from Code for America, a developer of GetYourRefund.  VITA expects this to be successful for most of their clients. This is for the current year's tax filing only.


Both of these tools (GetCTC and GetYourRefund) have text and all center access to VITA volunteers and will typically be routed to Orange County volunteers with NC state tax rules as well as the federal rules. Both of these tools are entirely virtual and all but the real-time help is available 24/7 at no cost. Text help is available within about 2 days per exchange. Call center support works Monday-Friday typically from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and some Saturday hours. All helpers are tax-certified. 

This is a tool managed by United Way.  Tax help is provided by VITA volunteers, but Orange County volunteers do not participate directly in that program.


Tax Information for International Students

Please contact the ISSS office for more information about Sprintax tax preparation assistance.  Carolina Student Legal Services cannot assist you with filing your taxes.


All nonresident international students and scholars (and their dependents) who were physically within the United States for any part of 2022 must file tax paperwork. This is true regardless of whether or not you have received any income in 2022.   The tax filing deadline for the 2022 tax filing season (for income earned between 1 January 2022 and 31 December 2022) is April 18, 2023.


The ISSS office at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has arranged access to Sprintax to help you meet your federal tax filing responsibilities.  You are not required to use this service, but it is available to you free of charge, if you are a non-resident for tax purposes, to assist you in filing your federal taxes.  To meet your state tax filing responsibilities, you can also choose to do this via Sprintax for an added fee, which you are responsible for covering. Sprintax will guide you through the tax preparation process, prepare the necessary documents, and check if you are due a tax refund.  You will still be responsible for printing the documents and mailing them on your own.


In order to request an access code (free of charge) for Sprintax, please complete this form. You must have a UNC email account and a UNC PID. These codes are only for UNC-Chapel Hill students and scholars. There are limited codes available so do not share the code with anyone else. Codes will be distributed on a first-come-first-served basis. These codes are only if you are filing as a “Non-Resident” for tax purposes. If you are considered a “Resident” for tax purposes, you will be directed to other filing resources and you will be responsible for covering that charge. State tax returns are not included with the free code, so you will be responsible for paying the cost of filing your state tax return if you choose to use Sprintax or another filing resource.


In addition, Sprintax offers several webinars for general information about taxes and using their software. Sprintax will run through the information you need to know about nonresident tax for the 2022 tax season. Topics will include who must file, tax residency, FICA, State returns, implications of misfiling as well as how to use Sprintax to prepare a compliant tax return. Anyone can attend these webinars offered by Sprintax. We highly recommend that you attend one of these sessions. 

Important things to Note:




If you are a “dependent” student, you may need to coordinate your tax filing with your parents. Parents that are supporting students during college (and even grad school) may be able to claim students as dependents if they are a student and younger than 24. This means the student will not be entitled to claim the tax preference on their own taxes.  Students need to clarify if their parents are claiming them as a dependent for tax purposes. Students will need to get their 1098-T to their parents for tax time so that they can claim them. The 1098-T form is the Tuition Statement that your college uses to report qualified tuition and related education expenses to you and the IRS. You or your parent/guardian may be able to claim these expenses as education related tax credits.  See link below for more information on obtaining your 1098-T from UNC Cashier.




If your scholarships are greater than your qualified school expenses, you may owe taxes on the difference.  It is best to speak with your parents early on so that decisions can be made about this.  There are some protocols that you can employ to help both students and parents minimize the impact, but accountants need access to parent and student information to do so.

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