How to Complete Your Postbac Tax Return
(and Understand It, Too!)
2023 Edition
Taught by
Dr. Emily Roberts
Are you perplexed or frustrated by your postbac non-employee tax return?
This workshop shows you exactly how to tabulate and report your postbac income and goes over the federal tax benefits that may not be available based on your unique type of income.
You Are Not Alone

Did you know that postbac non-employees frequently underpay or overpay their true tax liability, sometimes by hundreds or thousands of dollars?

This is because our tax system is not designed for people who receive fellowship (non-employee) income—especially if they are not also students.
  • Tax software is designed for ease of use for employees, college students, and self-employed people, not postbac fellows. It takes a great deal of prior knowledge to properly enter your info to tax software; it is not intuitive for our population.
  • Tax preparers frequently mishandle fellowship income. I have heard a multitude of horror stories about this—and that's just from the people who eventually caught the mistakes!
  • Universities/institutes rarely ease the burden. Faculty and staff are virtually always disallowed from discussing tax matters. There is no single uniform way that universities handle fellowship income, which adds to the confusion.
Who Is This Workshop For?
The intended participant in this workshop:
  • Is a postbac for at least part of 2023 (but not a grad student for any part—see below!)
  • Receives some non-employee (fellowship-type) income for their salary/stipend—it's OK to be an employee as well
  • Is a US citizen, permanent resident, or resident for tax purposes
  • Lives and is affiliated with a university/institute in the US
If you were an undergrad or grad student in any part of 2023, the grad student version of this workshop is more appropriate for you.
If you were a nonresident in the US in 2023, the nonresident version of this workshop is more appropriate for you.
I'm Ready for the Workshop—Let's Go!
Why You Should Join This Tax Workshop
The workshop takes the stress, struggle, and time waste out of preparing your tax return by showing you exactly how to handle the postbac-related aspects of your tax return.

This is the only educational tax product available that is specifically designed for postbac non-employees.
1. The workshop assists you in preparing an accurate tax return by whichever method you prefer: directly filling out the forms, tax software, or a professional tax preparer.
The difficult truth is that most of the work you as a postbac need to put in to your tax return happens before you start plugging numbers into fields, and tax software and professional tax preparers don't really help you do that work. It's up to you to understand your various sources of income, which is where the workshop comes in.

You want an accurate tax return above all else because:

  • You don't want to overpay your tax (and as a postbac you cannot afford to!).
  • It might feel good to (unknowingly) underpay your tax in the moment, but you don't want the IRS to chase you down for the difference—plus penalties and interest—a few years from now.
2. The workshop is explicitly designed for postbac fellows. It shows you how to gather and process all your academic-related income and expenses from your:
  • Form 1099-MISC
  • Form 1099-NEC
  • Form 1099-G
  • Courtesy letter regarding your fellowship/training grant income
  • Form 1098-T
  • Bank account statements
It's quite common for universities/institutes to not provide certain tax forms for postbac non-employees; they are not actually required to issue a specific tax form or any documentation of fellowship income! The workshop includes workarounds for those situations.
3. The workshop covers how to handle certain special scenarios that are common for postbac non-employees, such as:
  • Having your health insurance paid on your behalf
  • Being under age 24
  • Paying for childcare expenses
  • Contributing to an IRA
4. The workshop shows you exactly which lines will be filled out on your final tax return.
You will have enough guidance to fill it out directly or you can double-check the return produced by your tax software or tax preparer. This is a very effective error-checking mechanism as the most egregious preparation mistakes result in the wrong lines being filled out.
By the time you complete the workshop, you will:
  • Have closely examined your finances for all of your income sources.
  • Recognize mistakes in your previous tax returns and see the opportunity to revise them (if applicable).
  • Better understand the US tax system and how your income and expenses are viewed.
  • Experience peace of mind that your tax return is accurate.

The workshop will benefit you no matter which method you ultimately use to prepare your tax return: DIY with the IRS's Free Fillable Forms, tax software, or a professional tax preparer.

Let Me in the Workshop!
Testimonials (for All Versions of This Workshop)

"I purchased your tax workshop... your resource totally saved my life!! I now have a strong grasp of my PhD finances and my fellowship forms (where the numbers come from, and why they might not be 100% correct based on additional expenses or which may be deemed a required expense or not).

"Your workshop is especially appreciated since I originally had VITA volunteers at my institution prepare my tax return, but they were uncertain about many things. I refrained from filing with them, and instead purchased your workshop and am now so excited and relieved to have a firm grasp on my funding/taxes as a first-year PhD student. I only recently noticed a serious error in the draft of my 1040 that VITA prepared, so I'm feeling especially lucky, and grateful to your workshop. Thank you so much!"

"[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.

"I feel really confident this year that I did everything right and that I didn't under- or over-report. I am just so grateful I had this to walk me through a stressful task."

"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."

"The information provided in the workshop was invaluable. I'm one of the PhDs on a stipend with no documentation and not aware that I needed to make estimated payments. I'm happy to say that my taxes for 2021 are filed and I have already made my estimated tax payments for the first quarter of 2022."

"[The workshop] has been super helpful! The videos were clear and it made filling out my forms pretty straightforward despite the odd situation of being a graduate student. It definitely helped me feel less intimidated by everything as well."
Anonymous (parent of a graduate student):

"Your website and workshop have proven to be invaluable resources. We pointed out a lot to [our] tax preparer that she did not take into account in her original calculations. We persisted when she initially thought we were wrong, using the IRS info that you reference (especially helpful). I read them in depth and confirmed everything you stated (all correct!). Eventually, the tax preparer realized this as well, and in the end it saved my daughter over $1000!"

"The workshop was excellent. Particularly useful was the discussion of education benefits—I finally understood what counted and why."

"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!

"When I did my taxes through a free tax software, I was able to identify that something had been calculated incorrectly and it was probably instructing me to overpay on my taxes. That was thanks to this workshop."

"The workshop sections addressed each scenario that could apply to grad students so that I could identify the relevant portions. I appreciated the thorough information—even when the sections didn't apply to me—because it gave me a full picture of all of the components that I may need to consider as I prepared my taxes."

"[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."

"The workshop does a great job explaining how to handle educational credits with a helpful accompanying worksheet."

"[The workshop is] extremely easy to follow!"

"It was worth the cost just to feel confident that I calculated my income correctly! I also think the info will be helpful for future anticipated changes to my income (e.g., fellowships)."

"The live Q&A sessions were great."

"Thank you so much for the informative workshop about how to handle fellowship income for tax purposes. I am so surprised that universities, granting agencies and especially accountants are not providing this information to grad students and post-docs who struggle with this unique situation... I have been able to file my 2020 taxes. I know how to file an amended return for 2019, and I know how to calculate and file quarterly estimated taxes for 2021. Thank you for providing the information and the helpful Q&A sessions... I will be recommending your workshops to other grad students and post-docs."
Who Teaches the Workshop?
I'm Emily Roberts, the founder of Personal Finance for PhDs and creator of this workshop.

I started out on the PhD track just like you are. I was a postbac for one year, and I completed my PhD in biomedical engineering at Duke University in 2014.

During that time, my passion for personal finance grew and grew, as did my desire to serve my own community.

I founded my business, Personal Finance for PhDs, after I defended. Over the years, I've found many avenues to assist PhDs with their personal finances, including speaking engagements at universities, individual and group financial coaching, webinars and workshops, ebooks, and my podcast.

This is the seventh year running that I have taught this tax material, and it has benefitted over two thousand PhD trainees so far.
What Do You Get When You Join the Workshop?
When you join the workshop, you will receive immediate access to a set of ten modules that methodically teach you how to prepare your postbac tax return and two worksheets to help you keep your numbers organized.

You will also have the opportunity to ask me questions in any one or all of the remaining live Q&A calls. Or you can submit your questions in writing and receive a written answer.
The next Q&A call is in:
Don't waste any more time and energy—purchase the tax workshop now!
What Is the Cost?
The price of the workshop is $34.

You will have access to the workshop's modules and worksheets through the extended filing deadline in mid-October, plus you'll receive invitations to the remaining Q&A calls.
I want to finish my tax return
the stress-free way!

Thank you for allowing me to assist you with this particularly challenging aspect of your PhD life!

Frequently Asked Questions
When are the Q&A calls?

The tax year 2023 live Q&A calls will take place on:

  • 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
  • Wednesday, March 20, 2024 at 10:00 AM PT
  • Monday, April 1, 2024 at 1:00 PM PT
  • Friday, April 5, 2024 at 12:00 PM PT
  • Thursday, April 11, 2024 at 11:00 AM PT
In addition to live Q&A calls, you also have the opportunity to submit your questions in writing at any time. All submitted questions are posted and answered in writing in the Q&A module.
How much time does the workshop take?

I think you should set aside an hour or two to complete the workshop, perhaps broken up into two sessions if you need to retrieve information.

What is the format of each workshop module?

Each module comprises a video in voice-over-slides format and a full transcript in slides-and-script format.

Do I need to know anything about taxes?

The workshop assumes you have no familiarity with the tax system and explains everything you need to know from the ground up.

Will the workshop help me if I use tax software?

While the workshop does not refer to any tax software product in particular, the insight you gain into how the higher education benefits work will help you better interpret what your tax software is prompting you for. Much of the work you will do to gather and categorize your own numbers is what your tax software expects you to have done before interfacing with it, anyway. You will also have the ability to double-check the tax return the software produces.

What if I have questions that the workshop modules and worksheets don't answer?

Please participate in the live Q&A call! You can show up live to talk with me or you can submit your questions in writing at any time. All submitted questions are posted and answered in writing in the Q&A module.

For how long will I have access to the workshop? Can I use it next tax season as well?

The workshop will remain available through the extended tax filing deadline in October 2024. I don't leave any single version of the workshop available in perpetuity because tax law and IRS forms are updated every year, and I don't want you working from outdated information.

What is your refund policy?

I offer a satisfaction guarantee with this workshop, so if for whatever reason you realize it's not a good fit for you, simply email [email protected] and I will refund the purchase price.

Can I purchase this for my department/program/group?

Absolutely! I discount the workshop price to $25 per person for bulk purchases and offer a volume bonus. Please email me ([email protected]) to set up the purchase.

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

This is the Introduction video.
I'm ready to dive into the workshop!