Tax and FICA Exemption

Being a student does not automatically exempt you from having to pay taxes. Your earnings are subject to both federal and state income taxes.

If you work during the summer, you will also have Social Security and Medicare taxes withheld from your paychecks.

United States citizens and permanent residents who qualify may claim exemption from Federal income tax withholding by completing Form W-4. Determine your eligible exemptions carefully, paying particular attention to the instructions under “Exemption from Withholding” at the top of the form.

Student Employment staff may not give advice on completing Form W-4.

You need to complete a new W-4 every year only if you have claimed exempt.

If you are not a resident of Massachusetts, submit Form M-4 to stop state taxes from being withheld from your earnings.

International students are subject to both federal and state income taxes. Students from countries that have tax treaties with the United States, however, may be eligible to exempt a portion of their earnings from taxes. Tax Information for International Students provides details about tax treaties as well as general tax information.

During the academic year, students who are enrolled for six or more credits and who are working on campus are exempt from FICA (Social Security and Medicare) deductions.

FICA is withheld from all students working on campus during the summer. Those students who meet specific summer enrollment criteria are issued FICA rebates during the month of October.

All off-campus Work-Study students are subject to FICA deductions.

Student wages are not considered wages on which one can collect unemployment, pursuant to section 6 K of the Massachusetts General Laws 151.