Deep Dive: College Students - track where your money's going!

Stevie LaFortune
Stevie LaFortune Expensify Team, Expensify Student Ambassador Posts: 240 Expensify Team
edited August 2020 in Deep Dive Docs

Hey Students! Use Expensify to track your college expenses and maximize tax refunds!

College is expensive!  Do you feel like you’ve gone through all of your scholarship and grant money and have no idea where it went and still have a half a year to go?  

Easily track all of your expenses ~ keep track of book rentals, lab fees, housing, and sports just to name a few!

For students specifically, tracking these types of expenses will gain you (or your parents if they are claiming you as a dependent) the largest tax return.

You can use Expensify’s Track plan in order to document education expenses.  You can learn about getting started with tracking your education expenses using the Track plan here. Learn more about setting up categories and category rules to apply to your expenses here

For those ready to dive right in ~

  • First, create your account, go ahead and click here to get started.
  • Add your custom categories and tags that pertain which can be viewed here on the IRS website Qualified Education Expenses
  • Import the card you use to make all of your school purchases (meals, books, tuition, etc.).  These will merge with any SmartScanned expenses in the account. You can import any bank into Expensify using a spreadsheet if we don’t have a direct connection to your bank.
  • For a quick run-down check out our getting started guide here.
  • Last, nothing - you are good-to-go!  

Your account is set!  With the connected card, you won’t need to worry about forgetting to add an expense, they’ll import automatically for you. You’ll have the appropriate categories and tags to apply to expenses and when the time comes to file taxes, it’ll be a breeze with the category totals at your fingertips.  

Now you’re ready to start entering transactions ~

TIP - If you're not sure if an expense is deductible or not, SmartScan it anyway! It can always be removed at a later time and you don’t miss out on the deduction.

If you hadn’t realized Expensify was here to help track your expenses and it’s already halfway through the year, we’ve got you covered!  Check out this Community post, Catching up on old expenses, for tips and tricks to easily get those past expenses added to your account.

You can also go ahead and add your parent as a CoPilot for full access to your account, they'll be able to add expenses on your behalf or export data needed for tax filing!

When the end of the year comes and taxes need to be filed - 

    Use Expensify to view expense category totals to input on your tax forms

  • On the Reports page in your Expensify web account
  • Enter the dates for the school year at the top of the page to generate totals
  • Select the reports you've held your expenses on
  • Choose the "Category Export" option
  • You'll get a CSV file of category totals!

For a deeper dive into using Expensify to track your expenses so that you can use a tax program to file online check out this Community post

As a student, you’ll receive a Form 1098-T from the institution showing information about tuition paid or billed along with other information. However, amounts shown on this form may not include all you’re eligible to claim for tax credits, hence the necessity for tracking to ensure that the full credit can be taken!

The IRS offers this resource, Tax Benefits for Education: Information Center, which goes into detail of what can be claimed as a deduction or a credit.

Have a question or want to know more? Start a discussion here!