Do I Have to Pay Taxes on My Stipend

Determining whether or not you owe taxes on your stipend depends on several factors, including the type of stipend you receive and your status as a student or employee. Generally, if you receive a stipend as part of a scholarship or fellowship, it is considered nontaxable income. However, if you receive a stipend as compensation for services performed, such as teaching or research assistance, it may be subject to income tax. If you are unsure whether or not your stipend is taxable, it’s important to consult with a tax professional or refer to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website for guidance on how to treat stipends for tax purposes.

Tax Implications of Stipends

Stipends are financial rewards that have specific tax implications. Understanding these implications helps you navigate tax filing and avoid penalties. Here’s what you need to know about stipends and taxes:

Stipends Excluded from Taxation

  1. Qualified Scholarships: Scholarships that cover tuition, fees, books, and supplies are tax-free up to the amount of qualified educational expenses.
  2. Living Allowances: If a stipend is specifically designated as a living allowance and covers costs like housing and meals, up to $5,250 per year is tax-free.

Stipends Subject to Taxation

Stipends that exceed the excluded amounts or are not designated for specific expenses are taxable as income.

  • Research Stipends: Stipends awarded for research or special projects are generally taxable as ordinary income.
  • Fellowship Stipends: Fellowships not used solely for tuition and fees are taxable. If the stipend exceeds qualified expenses, the excess is taxed.

Estimated Taxes and Withholding

If you receive a taxable stipend, you are responsible for paying estimated taxes or ensuring proper withholding. Failure to do so could result in penalties and interest. Consult with a tax professional for guidance.

Tax Table: Stipends and Taxation

| Stipend Type | Tax Implications |
| Qualified Scholarship | Up to qualified expenses tax-free |
| Living Allowance | Up to $5,250 per year tax-free |
| Research Stipend | Taxable as ordinary income |
| Fellowship Stipend | Taxable on excess beyond qualified expenses |

Exemptions and Exceptions for Stipends

Federal income tax laws do not explicitly exempt stipends from taxation. However, certain exemptions and exceptions may apply, depending on your situation.


  • Qualified scholarships and fellowships: The first $5,250 of a scholarship or fellowship grant used for tuition and fees is tax-free. Any amount above this threshold is taxable.
  • NYU-specific exemption: Up to $5,000 of NYU-awarded stipends for living expenses is tax-exempt.


  • Non-resident aliens: Non-resident aliens with J-1 or F-1 visa status may exclude stipend payments from their taxable income.
  • Active-duty military: Active-duty members of the armed forces do not have to pay federal taxes on their stipends.
  • Voluntary deductions: You can reduce your taxable stipend by making pre-tax contributions to certain programs, such as health insurance premiums.

Other Considerations:

Stipend TypeTaxabilityExemptions
Tuition and fee stipendsTaxable above $5,250NYU-specific exemption up to $5,000
Non-tuition stipendsTaxableNo specific exemptions

Reporting Stipends on Tax Returns

Stipends received as financial aid for educational expenses are generally not considered taxable income by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). However, there are exceptions to this rule.

The amount of your stipend that is taxable depends on how you use the funds. If you use the stipend for qualified education expenses, such as tuition, fees, books, and supplies, the portion used for these expenses is not taxable.

However, if you use the stipend for non-qualified expenses, such as living expenses or entertainment, the portion used for these expenses is taxable. In addition, any portion of the stipend that exceeds the amount of your qualified education expenses is also taxable.

  • Qualified education expenses include:
    • Tuition and fees
    • Books and supplies
    • Equipment and software
    • Transportation and housing (up to a certain amount)
  • Non-qualified expenses include:
    • Living expenses (rent, utilities, food)
    • Entertainment
    • Travel expenses (except for transportation to and from school)

If you receive a stipend that is taxable, you will need to report it on your tax return. You can do this by using Form 1040 and Schedule 1 (Form 1040). On Schedule 1, you will report the amount of the stipend that is taxable in the “Other income” section.

Reporting Stipends on Tax Returns
Type of StipendTaxable Amount
Qualified education expensesNot taxable
Non-qualified expensesTaxable
Stipend amount that exceeds qualified education expensesTaxable

Penalties for Unpaid Taxes on Stipends

Failing to pay taxes on your stipend can result in penalties, including:

  • Late payment penalties: 5% of the unpaid tax for each month it remains unpaid, up to 25% of the tax owed.
  • Undertstatement penalty: 20% of the tax that should have been paid, if the underpayment is more than $5,000.
  • Fraud penalty: 75% of the tax that should have been paid, if the failure to pay was due to fraud.
  • Interest charges: Interest is charged on unpaid taxes, including penalties, at the current rate set by the IRS.

Additionally, if the unpaid taxes are substantial, the IRS may also impose a “trust fund recovery penalty” on the individual who was responsible for withholding and paying the taxes. This penalty is equal to the amount of taxes that should have been withheld and paid.

Well, folks, we’ve covered the basics of whether you need to pay taxes on your stipend. As always, it’s best to consult with a tax professional to get the most accurate advice for your specific situation. But I hope this article has given you a good starting point. Thanks for reading, and be sure to check back later for more informative and entertaining content!