Tax Information and Procedures
Being a student does not automatically exempt you from having to pay taxes. Your earnings are subject to both federal and state income taxes. These can be adjusted by adjusting your federal and state tax withholding certificates (W-4 and M-4 forms respectively), depending on your student status. If you work during the summer, you will also have Social Security and Medicare taxes (also known as FICA) withheld from your paychecks.
International students may utilize many of the resources on this page regarding taxes, but must also follow the requirements at Tax Information for International Students.
Taxes as a Student Employee
The W-4 and M-4 forms mandate how much in taxes Payroll should be withholding from each paycheck. While not required, each student has different financial circumstances that can be reflected in the W-4. Please note that if you do not submit a W-4 reflecting your circumstances, the university will default to withholding the maximum amount at your income bracket: single with zero dependencies.
Depending on your eligibility, you may be exempt from a number of taxes.
All employed students will receive a Form W-2 the following calendar year in January. Form W-2 is a statement of earnings to show how much you earned during the previous calendar year and how much was withheld in taxes. You need your W-2 form to file federal and state tax returns.
Physical W-2s: Mailed out by University Payroll during the month of January, typically during the last week of the month. Physical W-2 forms will be mailed to the address on file at BUworks Central Portal.
Electronic W-2s: Boston University has partnered with Equifax to deliver your W-2 online. To view and download your W-2 click here. You will be asked to enter your BU username and Kerberos password and will be taken to a new BU Tax Form Management page.
If you have graduated and are no longer a student employee, you may view and download a copy of your W-2 by visiting www.mytaxform.com, enter 17160 for Employer Name/Code and follow the First-time User registration prompts .
Requesting a Duplicate W-2
Information on how to access W-2 forms is currently being updated.
Student Employment is not qualified to give students tax advice. Consult your parents or guardians for advice or seek out tax information from a professional. Free tax help options can be found here under Student Payroll.
Update Tax Withholdings - Instructions for Domestic Students
Domestic students working on-campus positions are able to update their federal (W-4) and state (M-4, specifically Massachusetts) tax withholding certificates through the BUworks Central Portal.
The following video gives step-by-step instructions on how to update your tax information.
Guidance for Remote Out of State Employees
Any student who is working remote (outside of Massachusetts) and won’t be paying MA state income taxes, can complete MA Tax Exempt for Non-MA Residents, send it to Payroll, and be exempt from MA state income taxes.
This is different from the M-4 form. If the student has had MA state taxes taken out already through the year, they can fill out the form, submit it to the Comptroller’s Office, and contact Kathy Sirois, who will reverse the MA state taxes, as long as this is done before mid-December.
This is an option only for out of state, fully remote student employees whose remote employment has been confirmed and approved by the department. Supervisors with students looking to work remotely out of country should contact Student Employment to discuss any potential tax implications. Please provide the following:
- Student UID
- Country of stay
- Length of stay