Note: The following is general information about taxes for graduate students. It is NOT meant to represent advice or assumed to be error free. For specific questions about your tax responsibilities, please contact the Internal Revenue Service, an accountant, or an income tax service.
At the graduate level, all fellowship and assistantship stipends are considered taxable income by the Internal Revenue Service and by New York State. Generally, fellowships do not have tax taken out at the time of payment. Students are expected to report the stipend and taxable income on their tax forms.
For graduate student assistantship stipends, taxes are withheld at the time of disbursement and the stipend amount is reported to the IRS by Cornell.
Graduate students may exclude from income monies spent for tuition and fees, books, supplies, and equipment required for courses. Tax treatment of specific items may change from year to year. It’s important to visit the IRS website for the most recent regulations.
International students may or may not pay taxes on fellowship stipends depending on the specific provisions of the tax treaty between their home country and the United States. Please consult with a tax expert well in advance of the tax due date, which is generally on or around April 15.
Each student is responsible for determining how the tax law applies to his or her own situation. For more information about taxes and links to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), please visit Cornell's tax issues FAQ for students.
Cornell-specific tax information:
For international students:
- Review the ISSO website first
- Review the FAQs, tax preparation assistance, and resident or non-resident pages
From Ask a Dean 2017:
Resource for Ph.D. students:
- Personal Finance for PhDs website
Free help preparing taxes:
- ISSO provides free tax preparation software for international students. (Turbo Tax and other products do not include the right forms for international students.)
- From January 17 - April 14, Alternatives Federal Credit Union offers free tax preparation for those who qualify. If your income is less than $54,000, you could be eligible.
If you decide to work with a tax preparer, please follow these tips:
- Check the preparer's qualifications
- Check the preparer's history
- Ask about service fees
- Ask to E-file
- Make sure the preparer is available
- Provide records and receipts
- Never sign a blank return
- Review before signing
- Ensure the preparer signs and includes their PTIN