Graduate Assistant Payroll and Taxes
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Flexible hourly appointments usually require time cards to be turned in bi-weekly on set due dates. Graduation assistant (GA) appointments using Work Study funds must complete time sheets. Biweekly payroll time sheets (pdf) may be downloaded or requested from the employing department. Fixed hourly appointments do not require the use of time cards.
Paychecks are issued by direct deposit biweekly on Wednesdays. If the pay date falls on an official holiday, the paycheck will be issued the preceding work day. To view individual pay statements or to sign up for direct deposit, visit Employee Self-Service.
Graduate assistant salaries are subject to federal and state income taxes. At the time of hire, a W-4 (Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate) is completed. See below for exceptions. Tuition benefits and medical coverage are non-taxed benefits.
For more information about taxes, go to the Pay & Job Classification section of the Office of Human Resources site, or call the Human Resources Call Center at 612-625-2016.
International students should contact the Office of International Students and Scholars for assistance with tax information and visit the FICA section of this site for specific information on FICA Exemption Rules.
Taxability of Tuition Benefits for Administrative Fellow (9531)
Job classification Administrative Fellow (9531) is a graduate assistantship eligible for tuition benefits. Tuition benefits offered to graduate assistants are generally excluded from taxable income under section 117(d) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). However, section 117(d) only excludes from taxable income tuition benefits for graduate students who are engaged in teaching activities or research activities at the University. Administrative Fellows (9531) are by classification not engaged in such teaching or research activities at the University and, therefore, tuition benefits that exceed $5250 in a calendar year cannot be excluded from taxable income under section 117(d).
Tuition benefits are, however, excluded from taxable income under section 127 of the IRC relating to Educational Assistance Programs. Section 127 provides an exclusion of employer-paid tuition benefits from taxable income for employees enrolled in graduate level classes, up to a maximum annual amount of $5,250 for those not engaged in teaching or research activities. As a result of the operation of the above code sections, the part of the total tuition benefit credited to the Administrative Fellow that exceeds $5,250 in a calendar (January-December) year will be added to income as a taxable fringe benefit. The taxability of the tuition benefit does not affect student FICA exemption. If the total tuition benefit related to an Administrative Fellow appointment does exceed $5,250 in a calendar year, the Administrative Fellow will be notified separately and the applicable taxes withheld. Be aware that even if the tuition benefit does not exceed the IRS limit in a calendar year, it might exceed the limit at some year in the future if appointed as an Administrative Fellow job for more than one semester within the calendar year.
Education Tax Benefits
Graduate assistants may be eligible for education-related tax benefits. Visit Education Tax Benefits for more information.