Tax Information for Graduate Students

It is recommended that students contact a personal tax advisor or the IRS for specific information or advice.

Tax Assistance

MSU VITA is a registered student organization that offers free tax preparation services to low and moderate-income individuals and families in the Greater Lansing area. MSU VITA additionally serves international students and scholars with their tax preparation needs. Student volunteers are all trained and certified by the Internal Revenue Service. Learn more at

Looking for a Tax Form?

The Controller’s Office has a list of tax forms and department contact at

For Students with Graduate Assistantships

Graduate Assistantship stipends may not be subject to Social Security (FICA/Medicare) taxes as long as they meet both federal guidelines and requirements for enrollment. Please check with payroll if you have a ¾ time appointment. These are often subject to FICA.

Stipends are subject to income taxes with few exceptions. The taxability of stipends is subject to review by the Internal Revenue Service. For more information, call the Payroll Office at 517-355-5010. Please note that tax laws are subject to continuing revision and students should verify their tax liability yearly.

For Students with Graduate Fellowships

Fellowships are taxable. Students will receive a tax form from the University at the end of the year.

For International Students:
Any international student is required to be taxed on the award that they receive above the cost of education (COE). They will receive a 1042-S form at the end of the year. Sometimes they are eligible to receive a refund on those taxes (so they might be get it back).There are two ways international students could avoid getting charged international taxes: 1) filing for substantial presence and 2) filing for a tax treaty (if their country has one).