Skip to main content

Frequently Asked Tax Questions

Although every effort has been made to insure accuracy, you should be aware that the following information is not a legal document and each student is responsible for the proper handling of his/her income taxes. UCSD employees are prohibited by University policy from giving individual tax advice or assisting in the preparation of tax returns.

Where can I get general information on taxes for grad students?

Where can I get a duplicate W-2?
You can print duplicate W-2s from the atyourservice website, your source for all things related to your employment at UCSD. See Taxes: How to Get a W-2 Statement for detailed instructions on generating a duplicate W-2.

I think my tax documents are going to the wrong address. How can I correct this?
There are 3 steps to correcting your address at UCSD.

  1. Email your department. They will correct your address with Payroll as well as in their own records
  2. Update your address on your Tritonlink account
  3. Update your address on your atyourservice account

Is my stipend taxable?
Yes. For more information on what is and is not taxable, see the general information page on taxes for grad students.

I need to fill out a new "UC W-4" form to instruct Payroll how much in Federal and State Income Tax should be withheld from each paycheck.
You can change the amount withheld from your paycheck at the atyourservice website, your site for all things related to your employment at UCSD.

Where can I learn about the Education Tax Credits?
Please see the general information page on taxes for grad students. The "Education Tax Credit, 1098-T Form - Information on Lifetime Learning Tax Credit" link contains information for determining eligibility for claiming a tax credit (reduction of taxes) if you had "out-of-pocket" expenses (used your own funds) to pay for certain "qualified educational expenses" (health care does not qualify). You can also log-into your account at  or read IRS Publication 970, "Tax Benefits for Education". This publication is available at It contains chapters on Scholarships, Fellowships, Grants and Tuition Reductions; Lifetime Learning Credit; and Student Loan Interest Deduction.

I'm an international student. Do I need to pay taxes? Where can I get tax help?
If you received any money in this country this year, you must pay taxes. The International Center's Tax Center has many resources for international students, including free tax software and workshops on state and federal taxes.

I'm a grad student working for UCSD. Is my salary subject to retirement withholdings?
Graduate student salaries are subject to the Defined Contribution Plan (DCP) and Medicare withholding unless they qualify for an exemption. Most students do qualify for an exemption. To be exempt, students must be enrolled in at least 12 units and must not be employed more than 50% time. Students who are not enrolled or who are employed in excess of 50% time will be subject to DCP deductions. Deductions will total 8.95% of students' gross salary; 7.5% of their gross salary goes to the Defined Contribution Plan and 1.45% of their gross salary goes to their Medicare withholding. During the summer months, students may choose to pay a $50 enrollment fee to avoid these deductions.

Students should understand, however, that much of these deductions serve as a retirement plan and are not irrevocably lost. The Defined Contribution Plan is a qualified retirement plan administered by the University of California Employee Benefits office. Taxes on the contributions and any earnings are deferred until students withdraw the money, which can occur, without penalty, only upon termination of UC employment or upon retirement. Withdrawals are subject to penalties if withdrawn prior to age 59 1/2.