We are continuously looking for new ways to address this issue with the university administration, in addition to bargaining over how the tax is implemented. As the administration looks into these alternatives, the GEO continues to advocate for changes, including at the bargaining table.
Why are there tax withholdings on my tuition waiver?
All Graduate tuition and fee waivers are taxable unless exempt under the Internal Revenue Code.
Under the University’s Educational Assistance Plan that is in compliance with Internal Revenue Code (IRC) §127, $5,250 per calendar year (January to December) in tuition and service fee waivers associated with Graduate Assistantships (GAs) and/or Professional Graduate Assistantship (PGAs) appointments are excluded from taxable income. If the amount of the tuition and service fee waiver exceeds $5,250, the excess is deemed income under the IRC and taxed accordingly.
Are there Assistants who are allowed to exclude their graduate tuition waivers from their income?
IRC §117 allows the exemption from taxation of tuition and fees waivers above $5,250 for individuals conducting teaching or research activities. The University considers a Teaching Assistant (TAs) or Research Assistant (RAs) as a graduate student who is involved in the following teaching or research activities:
TEACHING: For University tax purposes, teaching activities may include, but are not limited to, the following: providing or coordinating classroom instruction, including lab or discussion sessions; tutoring students; grading tests and assignments; developing instructional materials; providing artistic instruction; accompanying/coaching musical or vocal performances; and proctoring exams.
RESEARCH: For University tax purposes, research activities may include, but are not limited to, the following examples of applying and mastering research concepts, practices, or methods of scholarship: conducting experiments; organizing or analyzing data; presenting findings; collaborating with others in preparing publications; and conducting institutional research for an academic or administrative unit.
How much is the withholding?
If you hold a GA appointment, the value of the waiver that exceeds $5,250 will have a graduated witholding rate, based upon the assistant’s personal information. The Office of Business and Financial Services has posted additional information.
What happens to the taxes that are withheld?
Both the amount of taxable income associated with the waiver and the taxes that the University withholds with respect to such income are reported on Form W-2. The taxes that the University withholds are forwarded to the IRS and credited to your tax liability for the year.
Who should I contact if I have specific questions?
If you have any questions regarding the taxability of your waiver, please contact the Payroll Service Center at UIC:
- Chicago 312-996-7200