Finances are a struggle, especially for the Millennial generation. With the common baggage of bill management and student loans, a study conducted by Harris Polls and NerdWallet showed they have another factor of anxiety: taxes. Who wouldn’t? Taxes can be tricky to sort out, but more so when you’re paying off big loans or lump sums. With the study though, results also showed many alumni graduates aren’t even sure how loans affect their taxes, either negatively or positively.

For instance, a big one is that many students can actually lower their taxable income. $2,500 can be written off as a deductible depending on how much interest was paid on a loan. So, that whopping $2.5K can be taken advantage of if say, the student in question files as a single tax payer and makes less than the median of $65,000 annually. Considering the nature of expenses, it’s a huge benefit. It’s only redundant if the student is filed as a dependent by parent/guardians, meaning they’re reliant on someone else.

But, not everything gets written off. A popular choice for debt repayment shows income-driven repayment plans are most prominent, which base monthly bills based on received income while also offering forgiveness after two decades of on time payments. However, more income means a higher bill. Filing jointly in marriage is one such reason the bill will jump up, since two forms of income are combined. Worse yet, doing so might change or disqualify the repayment plan a student currently has. Instead, experts recommend filing independently with taxes to avoid this hurdle, assuming it’s a problem. Doing so however does detract from benefits and tax credits when filing jointly, so it’s important to be considerate.

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Adding to the dangers of big tax bills, experts also remind students that income-driven repayment plans have their own taxes to deal with after a balance is forgiven. If on the IDR plan, a student or borrower will be responsible for income tax had on the forgiven amount in the year the amount is considered forgiven. While it’s possible a policy change may alter this in the coming years, borrowers could be looking at a sudden hefty bill they weren’t prepared for. Those experts recommend having something set aside in case it’s a worst case scenario.

Taxes and student loans aren’t always a fun mix, but knowing how they affect each other is a huge part of paying off loans effectively. Those anxious students should however be reassured that many options for cutting down on big bills exist in plenty, as long as they understand their situation proper.

©2017