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March 23, 2016

Proceedings of the Natural Institute of Science | Volume 3 | SCI-NEWS 9

Internal Revenue Service announces that professors can claim graduate students as dependents

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Significant tax relief could be in store for thousands of professors across the U.S. as the IRS recently announced it will allow professors to claim certain graduate students as dependents. “Graduate students can be a source of both financial and mental stress on professors,” said current IRS Commissioner John Koskinen in a statement. “Today, the IRS has taken important steps to reduce this great tax burden on our nation’s highest educators.”

Not all graduate students will qualify as a dependent, however. In order to be claimed as a dependent by a professor, a graduate student must meet several criteria, including:

• Be at least five years into their graduate program
• Have not yet published a peer-reviewed paper related to their dissertation
• Taken at least one Research Assistantship or Teaching Assistantship that could have gone to a new graduate student
• Can claim their office or lab space as a temporary residence for at least one quarter of the year
• Eaten the majority of donuts or other breakfast pastries at greater than 50% of lab meetings
• Be on a first-name basis with the nightly custodial crew
• Have “absolutely no chance in hell” of graduating this upcoming year

“Finally, my graduate students will be of some use in the lab,” said Anita Hodgkins, anthropology professor at Georgetown University, who is able to claim at least two graduate students as dependents this year. “And if I purposely delay editing one of my other student’s manuscripts for another month, I could claim three dependents!”

Graduate students, for their part, were mostly indifferent to the announcement by the IRS. “I guess it doesn’t really affect me at all,” said Kurt Mendoza, seventh-year graduate student at Old Dominion University. “Although, if it gives my advisor one reason to keep me around for another year, then I’m all for it.”


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