How to Complete Your Postdoc Tax Return (and Understand It, Too!)
(Tax Year 2022)
Taught by Dr. Emily Roberts
Do your postdocs come to you with questions and frustrations regarding calculating and reporting their taxable income...
 
But you are disallowed from and/or ill-equipped to address their concerns?
  
This external educational tax workshop is the solution.
The purpose of the workshop is to teach postdocs how to tabulate and report their postdoc income and introduce them to the federal tax benefits that may or may not be available to them based on their type of income.
Ready to talk to Emily about sponsoring the workshop?
Who Takes This Workshop?
This workshop is for people who:
  • Are postdocs in 2022 (part-year included) in the US
  • Are US citizens, permanent residents, or residents for tax purposes *
  • Are not employees with respect to their postdoc income (will not receive a Form W-2)
See the "Introduction" video at the bottom of this page for the full exploration of the characteristics of the intended participants.
* There is a separate workshop for non-resident graduate students and postdocs, which you can read about on this page.
Who Sponsors This Workshop?
This workshop is usually sponsored by any of:
  • Postdoc offices
  • Postdoc associations
  • Medical schools, engineering schools, etc.
  • Individual departments
Why Do Postdoc Non-Employees Need Particular Support?
Postdocs who are employees for the full calendar year have a tax situation that mirrors that of other types of employees in the US, so they are well served by tax software, tax professionals, etc.
 
Postdocs who are not employees for any part of the year, however, have a very unusual tax situation—even more so than non-employee graduate students. It's often difficult to communicate this unique status to tax software or tax preparers, which is where this workshop can help.
 
The salaries or stipends that pay these postdocs are typically not reported on an official tax form or an unusual form is used (e.g., Form 1099-MISC), which is often mistaken either for non-taxable income or self-employment income. In addition, they often indirectly receive taxable benefits that are perplexing to try to report. Postdocs non-employees also have questions about the estimated tax they did or did not pay during the calendar year and how that affects their tax returns.
 
Even postdocs who received fellowship/non-employee income as graduate students have to update their knowledge for their new non-student status. Postdocs do not receive the same higher education tax benefits that graduate students do, and their income type also may disqualify them from certain tax benefits that they might otherwise receive, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit.
 
All these scenarios and complexities are addressed by this educational workshop (federal income tax only).
Ready to talk to Emily about sponsoring the workshop?
What Is Included in the Workshop?
The asynchronous workshop comprises:
8 videos with transcripts totaling approximately 45 minutes, titled:
  • Introduction
  • Background
  • Tax Return Preparation Methods
  • Self-Assessment: Income
  • Higher Education Tax Benefits
  • Self-Employment
  • Filling Out Forms
  • Off-Target Effects
1 worksheets (PDF and Excel versions)
Invitations to at least one live Q&A call per month throughout tax season (open to everyone in the workshop)—the recordings are added to workshop as well
Here is a quote from an anonymous previous participant in a sister workshop regarding this format:
 
"I appreciated the different segments and that the workshop was tailored to someone in my position with the questions I have. I didn't feel any of the material in the workshop itself was unclear and it was easy to pick up and work through the videos at my own pace. I also really appreciated [Emily's] availability—it was really nice to know that if I had any questions, I could just ask [her] directly!"
What Past Workshop Participants Say
(About a Sister Workshop)
"The slide visuals, relevant examples, pace, and language were effective in addressing common problems/misunderstandings and translating that in an accessible and educational way. Having access to Q+As was equally as useful for better understanding how my situation relates to other grad students' situations and absorbing additional information."

- Anonymous (2020)

"[What I found valuable was] the clarity and detail of each video; the thorough response to my question submitted through the Q&A form; the focus on support conceptual understanding of, not simply procedural fluency with, tax returns. This was such a one-of-a-kind workshop...

Last year I had a very difficult time getting a question answered from people affiliated with my university, so I was drawn to an "outside" expert who was focused on *my* understanding, not protecting the university."

- Anonymous (2020)

"[This workshop] is my go-to source for how to complete this very tricky process. Emily does her homework, updating things in real time, and also offers the Q&As. The entire package is comprehensive."
 
- Kristin (2020)
Who Teaches the Workshop?
I'm Dr. Emily Roberts (she/her), the founder of Personal Finance for PhDs. I am a financial educator specializing in prospective graduate students, graduate students, postdocs, and early-career PhDs. I hold a PhD in biomedical engineering from Duke University.
 
Through Personal Finance for PhDs, I give live seminars for universities, provide pre-recorded workshops to universities and individuals, host a podcast, and run a membership community.
 
I struggled to complete my own tax returns during grad school and grew curious about the unique treatments of various types of funding. After I defended, I threw myself into studying the tax benefits and drawbacks related to higher education-related income and expenses.
 
This workshop is the outworking of teaching this material for seven years running. My goal is for every PhD trainee to easily prepare an accurate tax return so that they neither underpay nor overpay their true tax liability.
What Is the Cost?

The cost of the workshop is $20 per person.

Ready to talk to Emily about sponsoring the workshop?
Frequently Asked Questions About This Workshop
When is the best time to offer the workshop?

I recommend setting up and advertising the workshop starting in January and keeping it available through Tax Day.

Many people want to file their tax returns ASAP in January to receive their tax refunds, while many others procrastinate this task and won't get to it until April.

Even if you're finding this workshop for the first time later on in tax season, there's still time to offer it for those later filers! We can get the workshop set up very quickly on our end.

Can we host a live event instead?

I believe that this pre-recorded and asynchronous version of the tax workshop is superior to a fully live version (which I presented for many years prior to creating the workshop) because:

  • The video content is 100% scripted and therefore as complete, precise, and concise as possible—and I provide the script/transcript so the content can be read instead of watched.
  • The videos can be paused, replayed, or skipped as needed. This is particularly useful as it sometimes takes time to gather documents, look up fine print, and make calculations; a live event doesn't allow sufficient time for this.
  • A participant can access the workshop at the time that they feel motivated to complete it, whether at the beginning or end of tax season or in between.
  • The periodic live Q&A calls retain a live event's advantage of being able to ask questions of me, and I've observed that the questions are usually better because the participants have had time to reflect on the material.

While I won't present this material live during this tax season, you can create a live event for your students who prefer a group event. You can stream the videos sequentially in a group setting (in person or remote). I just ask that you make sure that everyone in attendance has joined the workshop through your registration page.

This event could even precede a live Q&A call with me (see next).

Can we schedule a private Q&A call with Emily?

Yes! I offer a private live Q&A call as a volume bonus if 200+ people from your institution register. Alternatively, even without meeting that registration threshold, I can provide a private call for an additional $500 charge.

Are state income taxes addressed in the workshop?

No, this workshop covers only federal income tax.

How will participants sign up?

I will create a unique registration link for your postdocs that leads to a unique version of the workshop. I will bill you for the number of people who were added to your version of the workshop.

Can you send us the registration list?

Yes, we can easily export the registration list at any time and will send it to you upon your request. Please contact [email protected] with this request.

What if a current postdoc was a graduate student in the earlier part of 2022?

In that case, the graduate student version of this workshop is more appropriate. Upon request, I will add them to the grad student version of the workshop at no additional charge.

Can you send us any data on how the workshop is being used?

Yes, I have a tracking feature set up to tell what fraction of the workshop each participant has completed. (Keep in mind that the workshop was designed so that modules that are irrelevant to an individual are easily skipped!) I am also tracking who attends each Q&A call.

How do participants access the workshop?

I host the workshop files on my website, PFforPhDs.community. After a participant registers, they will receive their auto-generated login information. When they log in through PFforPhDs.community/account/login, they will see a link for the workshop.

Can you limit the number of sign-ups to the number we want to pay for?

Yes, we can monitor the number of sign-ups and manually close registration when we see that you have reached your desired limit. The registration page can populate a waitlist instead if you want to continue to track the demand.

Can you send reminder emails about the live Q&A calls or do we need to do that?

I can take that off your hands!

When a participant registers for the workshop, I ask them to opt in to my mailing list so that I can communicate with them regarding the Q&A calls. If they do, they will receive the reminder email that I will send out prior to each live Q&A call. If they don't opt in or choose to unsubscribe, they won't receive those emails.

I won't email them about matters other than the workshop unless they opt in to my wider mailing list.

How do we pay for it?

Preferred: I will register as a vendor/supplier with your institution and invoice you for the number of registered participants to that date to be paid by check or direct deposit. I am already registered as a vendor with many universities.

Alternative 1: I will send you an invoice through an online payments platform, through which you can pay by credit card.

Alternative 2: I will send you to a customizable payments page, through which you can pay by credit card.

When will we be billed?

I will invoice you twice for this workshop.

The first invoice will be sent after the initial wave of sign-ups (~ 2 weeks after your first advertise the workshop).

The second invoice will be sent after registration closes on April 30, 2023.

(This schedule is negotiable.)

Can we subsidize the cost of the workshop for our graduate students instead of paying for it in full?

Yes, you can choose what fraction of the $20 per person cost you will subsidize and what fraction will be the participant's contribution. I will still create a unique registration page and workshop copy. The participant will be charged up front the price you choose, and I will bill you later on for your portion based on the number of completed registrations.

When are the Q&A calls?

I will host at least one Q&A call per month throughout tax season.

  • Thursday, January 26, 2023 at 10:00 AM PT
  • Tuesday, February 7, 2023 at 11:00 AM PT
  • Thursday, February 23, 2023 at 10:00 AM PT
  • Friday, March 10, 2023 at 1:00 PM PT
  • Thursday, March 23, 2023 at 10:00 AM PT
  • Thursday, April 13, 2023 at 10:00 AM PT
For how long will participants retain access to the workshop?

The workshop files will remain available through the extended tax return filing deadline of October 16, 2023.

What other universities have sponsored this workshop?

How to Complete Your Postdoc Tax Return (and Understand It, Too!) [2021 version] was purchased on behalf of postdocs at:

  • Harvard University
  • Vanderbilt University
Have another quick question?

Feel free to email it to me: [email protected]

Since You've Read This Far...
Check out a sample of the course content!

This is the Introduction video from the tax year 2021 version of this workshop.
Ready to talk to Emily about scheduling the workshop?