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In general, you should always consult a professional tax advisor for information on the taxability of payments you receive from UC Merced. Tax Services staff are prohibited from giving individual income tax advice on personal income tax issues. This website is intended only to introduce you to general tax information applicable to UC Merced students. 

Year End Tax Statements

As a student at UC Merced, you may receive one or more of the following year end tax statements from UC Merced:

  • Form W-2: This form is used to report wages to employees. If you were employed by UC Merced as a student employee, including TA or GSR appointments, you can expect to receive this form. For additional information, please see the following UC Merced resources:
  • Form 1042-S: This form is used to report U.S. source income subject to withholding to nonresident aliens. If you are a nonresident alien for tax purposes and you received a taxable scholarship or fellowship payment or claimed a tax treaty benefit, you can expect to receive this form. For additional information, please see the following UCLA resource:
  • Form 1098-T: This form is used to report qualified tuition and related fees billed to students during the calendar year. If you are an enrolled student at UC Merced, you can expect to receive this form. For additional information, please see the following UC Merced resource:
  • Form 1099-MISC: This form is used to report miscellaneous payments of $600 or more during the tax year. If you received a gift card or payment in the amount of $600 (other than payments for employment or financial aid), you can expect to receive this form. 

Assistance with Filing Your Tax Returns

Tax Services staff at UC Merced are prohibited from giving individual income tax advice on personal income tax issues. If you need assistance with the preparation of your individual tax returns, please consult a professional tax advisor. Listed below are resources that may be helpful.

Free Tax Preparation Assistance

The IRS  provides free tax preparation assistance online, by phone, and at local offices throughout the U.S. The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help for qualifying taxpayers. To determine whether you qualify and where VITA operates in Merced, please see IRS Free Tax Return Preparation.

If you have a GLACIER record, you can use GLACIER Tax Prep for free to prepare your federal return. For more information, please visit the GLACIER Tax Prep website. 

Free Do It Yourself Tax Services

The IRS provides Free File services for free do it yourself Federal tax preparation. For details, please visit the Free File page on the IRS website. The California Franchise Tax Board provides CalFile services for free do it yourself State tax preparation. For details, please visit the CalFile page on the California Franchise Tax Board website.

Other Resources for Tax Preparation

The following resources may be useful as you prepare your individual tax return:

Internal Revenue Service (IRS): See the Tax Information for Students page on the IRS website for detailed information about Federal taxes. For general information about filing your Federal taxes, please see the Filing Your Taxes page on the IRS Website. In addition, the IRS has several publications that may be helpful in understanding Federal tax requirements. For the most current version of the IRS publications listed below, please go to the Forms and Pubs page on the IRS website:

  • IRS Tax Topic 421 - Scholarships and Grants
  • IRS Publication 17 - Your Federal Income Tax (for Individuals)
  • IRS Publication 505 - Tax Withholding and Estimating Taxes (for paying estimated taxes on a quarterly basis)
  • IRS Publication 519 - U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens
  • IRS Publication 901 - U.S. Tax Treaties
  • IRS Publication 970 - Tax Benefits for Education
  • IRS Form 1040 - U.S. Individual Income Tax Return (for annual tax filing)

California Franchise Tax Board (FTB): For general information about filing your California taxes, please see the Filing Information page on the California Franchise Tax Board website. For the most current version of the California State tax documents listed below, please go to the California Francise Tax Board website:

  • Form 540 - California Resident Income Tax Return
  • 540 ES - Estimated Tax for Individuals (for quarterly tax payments)

Frequently Asked Questions


Q: I received tax forms from UC Merced but I have never filed taxes before and I'm not sure where to start. Are there resources available to help me understand the tax process? 

  • A: A good starting point for finding information about filing your Federal taxes is the Filing Your Taxes page on the IRS website. For State taxes, see Filing Information on the California FTB website. See the next Q&A below for additional resources.

Q: I need help with preparing my tax returns. Who should I contact? 

  • A: You should consult a professional tax advisor for assistance. A local Certified Public Accountant can help you, or you can search online for a local tax preparation company. The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help for qualifying taxpayers. To determine whether you qualify and where VITA operates in Merced, please see the IRS Free Tax Return Preparation on the IRS website. If you have a GLACIER record, you can use GLACIER Tax Prep for free to prepare your federal return. For more information, please visit the GLACIER Tax Prep website. Please note that Tax Services staff are prohibited from giving individual income tax advice on personal income tax issues.

Q: Am I required to file a tax return?

  • A: For information regarding Federal filing requirements, you may complete the IRS online calculator Do I Need to File a Tax Return found on the Filing Your Taxes page on the IRS Website. If you are a nonresident alien, see IRS Publication 519 on the Forms and Pubs section of the IRS website for information on nonresident alien filing requirements. For State filing requirements, see Do I Need to File? on the California FTB website.

Q: Which form should I use to file my taxes?

  • A: For information regarding which form to use to file your Federal taxes, see Which Form on the IRS website or review Which Form Should I Use in Publication 17 on the Forms and Pubs section of the IRS website. To determine which form to use for State tax filing, see Which Form Should I File on the California Franchise Tax Board website.

Q: How do I determine my tax filing status?

  • A: For assistance with determining your Federal filing status, see Determine Your Filing Status on the Filing Your Taxes page on the IRS Website. For State taxes, see the Filing Status Information page on the California Franchise Tax Board website.

Q: Where do I learn more about credits and deductions?

Q: How can I determine whether I can claim someone as a dependent for tax purposes?

  • A: The IRS has resources that can help you determine who may qualify as your dependent. For a calculator based on your specific situation, see Find Out Who You Can Claim as a Dependent found on the Filing Your Taxes page on the IRS Website. For additional information, please see the Exemptions for Dependents section in IRS Publication 501 on the Forms and Pubs section of the IRS website.

Q: I don't understand how to complete my UC W-4 Form. What should I do?

  • A: The purpose of the W-4 Form is to determine how much tax should be withheld from your employment income. The Personal Allowances or Withholding Allowances determine how much tax to withhold from the wage payments you receive from UC Merced. Generally, the higher the number of withholding allowances you claim, the less tax is withheld from any payments you receive. The lower the number, the more tax is withheld. UC Merced staff cannot advise you as to how many allowances to select. The UC W-4/DE 4 Form includes instructions and a Personal Allowances Worksheet that should assist you with completing the form (if you are a nonresident alien, please complete UC W-4NR/DE 4). Please see the IRS page on Tax Withholding for detailed information that may assist with your specific situation.

Q: Is my scholarship/fellowship taxable?

  • A: In general, if you are a degree candidate (undergraduate or graduate student enrolled in a degree program at UC Merced), the portion of your fellowship used to pay for tuition, fees, and related required course expenses (required of all students) is excludable from your gross income (not considered taxable). For more information on tax free fellowships, please see the Tax Free Scholarship and Fellowship Grants section of IRS Publication 970 on the Forms and Pubs section of the IRS websiteSome fellowships are considered taxable.  If your fellowship is nonexcludable (not used to pay for tuition, fees, and related required course expenses), your fellowship may be considered taxable. Please keep in mind that U.S. citizens and residents for tax purposes (permanent resident, refugee, or asylee) do not have Federal or State taxes withheld from their nonexcludable fellowship payments from the University. And, the University is not required to report this income to Federal and State tax agencies. The University also does not issue a W-2 equivalent to students for reporting nonexcludable fellowship income (though it is reported on your 1098-T Form). If you are a U.S. citizen or resident for tax purposes, you may be required to make estimated quarterly tax payments directly to the IRS or California Franchise Tax Board on your graduate fellowship payments. See below for additional information on calculating estimated quarterly tax payments. For more information on taxable fellowships, please see the Taxable Scholarship and Fellowship Grants section of Publication 970 on the Forms and Pubs section of the IRS website. 

Q: I do not have taxes withheld from my graduate fellowship and I believe I will owe taxes. How do I calculate my estimated quarterly tax payments? 

  • A: See the following resources to help you determine whether you will need to make these estimated payments:
    • Federal Taxes
    • California State Taxes:
      • California Estimated Tax Payments
      • Form 540-ES (click link above for this year's Form)
      • Form 540-ES Instructions (see Worksheet for calcuation steps; click link above for this year's Instructions)