How to Complete Your Postbac Tax Return (and Understand It, Too!)
(Tax Year 2023)
Taught by Dr. Emily Roberts
Do your postbacs 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 postbacs how to tabulate and report their postbac 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 postbacs in 2023 (part-year included) in the US *
  • Are planning to matriculate into a PhD program in the coming year(s)
  • Are US citizens, permanent residents, or residents for tax purposes *
  • Are not employees with respect to their postbac 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 are separate workshops other groupings of PhD trainees, which you can find through these links:
Who Sponsors This Workshop?
This workshop is usually sponsored by any of:
  • Postbac fellowship programs
  • Individual schools, e.g., medical, engineering, that train groups of postbacs
Why Do Postbac Non-Employees Need Particular Support?
Postbacs 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.
 
Postbacs 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 postbacs are typically either not reported on an official tax form or an unusual form is used (e.g., Form 1099-MISC, Form 1099-NEC, Form 1099-G), which is often mistaken either for non-taxable income or self-employment income. In addition, they often receive taxable benefits that are perplexing to try to report. Postbacs 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 postbacs who received fellowship/non-employee income as undergraduate students have to update their knowledge for their new non-student status. Postbacs 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:
7 videos with transcripts totaling approximately 45 minutes, titled:
  • Introduction
  • General Background
  •  Academic Funding Background
  • Tax Return Preparation Methods
  • Your Taxable Postbac Income
  • Filling Out Forms
  • Off-Target Effects
2 worksheets
Invitations to one or two live Q&A calls every two weeks throughout tax season (open to everyone in the workshop)—the recordings are added to workshop as well
Asynchronous Q&A opportunities where participants can ask questions at any time—all submitted questions are posted and answered in writing inside the workshop within a week
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 in various formats for eight 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 $25 per person for the first 100 participants.
 
A discount will apply if you have more than 100 participants across all versions of this workshop (see FAQ below).

The cost of the workshop is $25 per person. A discount may apply if you have more than 100 participants across all workshops.

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 mid-January and keeping it available until a few days after 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.

What is the volume discount structure?
  • Registrants 1-100: $25 each
  • Registrants 101-200: $20 each
  • Registrants 201-300: $15 each
  • Registrants 301+: $10 each

This volume discount applies across all the versions of How to Complete Your PhD Trainee Tax Return (and Understand It, Too!) that your office sponsors.

Why is this workshop pre-recorded instead of offered live?

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.

If you prefer a live event, I welcome you to consider adding on a live webinar or live Q&A call (see next).

Can we schedule a private webinar with Emily?

Yes! I can deliver a one-hour webinar that introduces the material, highlights key concepts, and addresses common questions for an additional $1,000 charge.

Hosting a private webinar allows me to tailor the material to what the participants uniquely experience at your university and in your state.

Only people who are already registered in the workshop may attend this webinar, and I don't offer a webinar on this material independent of the workshop.

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

Yes! I would be delighted to answer questions over a live Q&A call for an additional $500 charge.

Holding a private call allows me to tailor my answers to questions to what the participants uniquely experience at your university and in your state.

Only people who are already registered in the workshop may attend this Q&A call.

Are state income taxes addressed in the workshop?

No, this workshop covers only federal income tax.

However, if you book a live webinar in addition to the workshop, I can briefly address income tax in your state and how to determine state residency in that live format.

How will participants sign up?

I will create a unique registration link for your postbacs 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 postbac was an undergraduate student in the earlier part of 2023?

In that case, the graduate student version of this workshop is more appropriate. With your permission and 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 and submits written questions inside the workshop.

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

When will we be billed?

I will invoice you up to two times for this workshop.

The first invoice will be sent once enrollment reaches 50.

The second invoice will be sent after registration closes on April 19, 2024.

(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 $25 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 one to two Q&A calls every two weeks throughout tax season.

  • Friday, January 26, 2024 at 12:00 PM PT
  • Friday, February 9, 2024 at 12:00 PM PT
  • Thursday, February 15, 2024 at 9:00 AM PT
  • Friday, February 23, 2024 at 12:00 PM PT
  • Friday, March 8, 2024 at 12:00 PM PT
  • Thursday, March 14, 2024 at 10:00 AM PT
  • Friday, March 22, 2024 at 12:00 PM PT
  • Friday, April 5, 2024 at 12:00 PM PT
  • Thursday, April 11, 2024 at 11:00 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 15, 2024.

What other universities have sponsored this workshop?

In the 2022 tax season, How to Complete Your Postbac Tax Return (and Understand It, Too!) was purchased on behalf of postbacs at:

  • National Institutes of Health
Click here for a complete list of clients who have licensed one of my asynchronous tax workshops.
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 (2023 version)!
Ready to talk to Emily about scheduling the workshop?