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Demystifying Taxes


Many postdoctoral scholars land within a unique tax bracket that could lend itself to confusing obligations and issues.

For example, those receiving a non-compensatory fellowship grant are not being compensated for services rendered, therefore it’s not wage income that’s subject to Social Security and Medicare. However, this is still taxable income that must be reported on tax returns because they are “nonqualified” fellowships.

On the other hand, a fellowship grant represents compensation for services if there’s a requirement for teaching, research, or other employment services, or if the grant enables the recipient to pursue studies or research primarily for the benefit of the grantor. In that case, the compensation must be reported as gross taxable income on the recipients’ income tax returns.


Postdocs are wise not to leave their taxes to the last minute, and to get a jump on the paperwork by learning what’s in store. This year’s deadline for filing taxes is April 17 — the date is normally April 15, but this year the 15th is on a Sunday and the 16th is Emancipation Day in Washington D.C.

UCSF postdoctoral fellows and paid directs are invited to find out how to navigate their specific financial situations during a workshop entitled, “Discussion for Postdoctoral Fellows and Postdoctoral Paid Directs on the Tax Considerations Associated with their Stipends.”

The Parnassus workshop is on March 6 from 1 to 2 p.m. in the Campus Library, rooms 221 and 222.

Note that this workshop is not intended for postdoc employees since taxes are already deducted from their paychecks.

For more information go to the UCSF Office for Postdoctoral Scholars website at

The website connects postdocs to other handy resources such as:

• How to figure out how much Federal estimated taxes to pay and how to make your payments

• How to figure out how much State of California estimated taxes to pay and how to make your payments

Information on Fellowship Income Statement

• Off-campus, a non-profit organization in San Francisco called "Tax Aid" offers free tax advice for people whose household income is less than $54,000.