As a student with a nonpaid internship, what can I write off on my taxes?

by Jennifer L. Romberger, CPA | Sep 05, 2018

I am a student and doing a nonpaid internship. What can I write off on my taxes? (Books, clothing, gas, car payments?) If I were to drive for Uber to make extra money, can I write off gas and car payments?

As a student with an unpaid internship, there’s no income to offset with deductions, so you can’t write off anything.

If you drive for Uber, keep a mileage log for your car detailing the miles driven while working for Uber versus total miles driven on the car for the rest of the year. Then, you can choose to deduct car expenses based on a standard mileage rate (for 2018, it’s 54.5 cents per business mile) or the business percentage of your actual car expenses (e.g., gas, repairs, the interest portion of your car payment, insurance). Uber pays you as a subcontractor, so be aware that you’ll most likely have to file a Schedule C with your tax return for the year, and may have to pay quarterly estimated income taxes.

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Answered by: Jennifer L. Romberger, CPA, EA, is with Long Financial Group Inc. in Blue Bell, Pa.

The responses are based on the limited information provided by the questioner and apply the laws and regulations at the time of posting. Other options could arise as rules and regulations may change over time, including but not limited to the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. They are intended to provide general information, not specific accounting or tax advice; they are not intended or written to be used and cannot be used for the purpose of avoiding or evading taxes or penalties under the IRS code or regulations. Views expressed do not imply an opinion of the PICPA, its officers, directors, employees, or members.
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