Economics / Finance

Secret Refund for Pitt Students: $52 in 10 Minutes

pitt-sealAs tax time rolls around yet again, most of us either file our own taxes online or hand everything over to our parents and let them deal with the headache. Regardless, there is usually some sort of stress tied to tax season. I’m here to tell you that it’s not as bad as you think and you can actually make some extra cash by using a few secret tricks that I’ve learned over the years. In this article I am only going to focus on Local Services Tax (LST) and how you can get up to $104 back by taking 10 minutes to fill out a form!

Local Service Tax is one of the many perplexing payroll taxes that you might find on your paystub from work. The local tax authority that services your area takes $1 from your pay every week in order to pay for “Administrative Fees”. Your employer already withholds your local tax that you owe, but the local authorities also make $1 per week for every individual working within their jurisdiction, which adds up to a lot. I don’t think they’ll mind if you take your $52 back.

You are eligible for a refund if you made less than $12,000 or if you worked more than 1 job at a time during 2015. If you did both of these things, then you’re getting an extra bonus refund back! I’m going to assume that most college students qualify for one of these requirements if they held a job in 2015. To figure out how much money you will get back under the “$12,000 exemption”, just add up all the weeks that you worked and that’s how many dollars you will get back. For the “multiple jobs” exception, add up all of the weeks that you worked more than one job at a time and that’s the amount you will get back. You worked hard for you money, or at least showed up to work, but who’s counting anyways. Showing up is the most important part, right? So take back what is yours by following the instructions on how to fill out the refund form.
w-2First, get all of your W-2’s together and tear one copy off. Next, get your last pay stub from you job. If you are paid by direct deposit, go online and print off your last pay statement. Then, go to this link if you work near Pitt’s campus: http://apps.pittsburghpa.gov/finance/2016_LST_REFUND_FORM.pdf. If you live outside of the city of Pittsburgh, email me and I will send you a different link. Now I know Pitt students are the brightest and most definitely the coolest, so I have faith that you can complete this form, but feel free to send me an email if you want me to double check your work. Expect your refund in a few months, so you’ll want to put you home address on the form if you will move back home for the summer. Last, mail the form to the address given at the bottom. Congratulations! You will now have extra money to spend on pizza, coffee, or a charitable contribution at Hem’s! Optimistically, you could get your refund before finals week, which would definitely lift your spirits in a time where you could need it most. So don’t procrastinate!

My goal is to help my fellow Pitt students, so please share this article with your friends and then you can all go out to dinner on the expense of your beloved local tax authority. Be on the lookout for more college tax tips that will show you how to get more money back!

Cheers,

Arron Groomes

Arrongroomes@pitt.edu

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