2020 Tax Resources for Graduate Students

by Kaitlyn Ugoretz, Funding Peer
Friday, February 14, 2020 10:00 AM

It’s Winter Quarter, and that means that it’s time to start preparing to file your taxes. Remember, the deadline to file your 2019 taxes is April 15, 2020. Need a little help or don’t know where to get started? Check out these free resources!

UCSB Tax Prep Resources


VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) is a non-profit organization that offers free tax preparation to people who make $54,000 or less and need assistance in preparing their tax returns. ‚ÄčTheir IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation to qualified individuals and families in local communities. Visit their website or email VITA at ucsb.vita@gmail.com to make an appointment.

GLACIER (For International Students)

GLACIER is a secure online Nonresident Alien (NRA) tax compliance system that foreign visitors use to provide their immigrant and tax data to UCSB. GLACIER helps determine tax residency, withholding rates, and income tax treaty eligibility. They also manage NRA paperwork, maintain NRA data, and prepare tax forms and required statements.

***New in 2020 for international masters and PhD students: GLACIER will also help you with your tax prep! Look out for an email later this month to claim your GLACIER Tax Prep (GTP) access code!

Free Filing Programs

Electronic Filing: If you make less than $58,000, you can file for free using software available on FreeFile from the IRS. As the IRS says, “software makes taxes easier.” It’s also faster and you don’t have to pay for printing or stamps.

Are you a resident or part-time resident of California for tax purposes? Use CalFile to e-file your California state tax return directly and for free!

Here are the top three popular software programs:

  • Turbo Tax: Useful for 1040EZ, 1040A, and 1040, but need to pay for an upgrade for other schedules and forms.

  • H&R Block Free File: Includes more forms and schedules above the1040 than Turbo Tax software.

  • TaxAct Free File Edition: Includes FAFSA worksheet and schedules A and C, but not as easy to use as the other two.

Mind you, you might have to pay for an upgrade to do more advanced taxes. So while it's free to e-file your federal taxes, you may have to pay for using the software. You also have to pay to e-file your California taxes with this software, so see the next section to save money.

Interactive Tax Assistant: This online assistant offers basic help for common tax questions. The interactive tax assistant will take you through a series of questions and provide you with a tax answer. There is also a tax assistant for education credits and for filing an extension.

Taxpayer Assistance Center: This is not a service for tax preparation. But if you have a tax question or tax issue that you feel is better handled face-to-face, then visit the local office on 1332 Anacapa St. You should also phone ahead for an appointment: 805-564-7555.

IRS Phone Assistance for Individuals: You can call the IRS directly to ask tax related questions. Be prepared for long wait times, especially if you call in April. Phone: 800-829-1040. Hours of Operation: Monday– Friday, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.

GSRC Tax Resource Workshops

Want to learn more about tax credits, deductions, and resources? Attend the next Financial Literacy workshop hosted by the Graduate Funding Peer on March 17th from 1-2pm in SRB 2154!

Can't make it to a workshop? ‚ÄčAccess the slides and handout here!