Tax Tips for Teens with Summer Jobs
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With summer almost here, many students will turn their attention to making money from a summer job. Whether it’s flipping burgers or filing documents, the IRS wants student workers to know some facts about their summer jobs and taxes.

Not all the money they earn will make it to their pocket because employers must withhold taxes from their paycheck. Here are some tax tips young individuals should know when starting a summer job.

New employees:  Employees – including those who are students – normally have taxes withheld from their paychecks by their employer. When anyone gets a new job, they need to fill out a Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate. Employers use this form to calculate how much federal income tax to withhold from the new employee’s pay. The Withholding Calculator on IRS.gov can help a taxpayer fill out this form.

If your total income from all sources for the year will be less than $12,000 you will likely not be required to file a tax return. Therefore, you should indicate “Exempt” on your Form W4 so that your employer does not withhold federal and state income taxes from your pay. Otherwise, you would need to file a return to get that money refunded to you.

Self-employment: Students who do odd jobs over the summer to make extra cash are self-employed. This include jobs like baby-sitting or lawn care. Money earned from self-employment is taxable, and self-employed workers may be responsible for paying taxes directly to the IRS. One way they can do this is by making estimated tax payments on a quarterly basis during the year. Read up on this at www.irs.gov or check with your tax pro to determine when and how much you should pay in. In addition to income tax, payment in the form of Self-employment tax  which funds your Social Security and Medicare accounts is required.

Tip income: Students working as waiters or camp counselors who earn tips as part of their summer income should know tip income is taxable. They should keep a daily log to accurately report tips. They must report cash tips to their employer for any month that totals $20 or more.

Payroll taxes: This tax pays for benefits under the Social Security system. While students may earn too little from their summer job to owe income tax, employers usually must still withhold Social Security and Medicare taxes from their pay. If a student is self-employed, Social Security and Medicare taxes may still be due and are generally paid by the student.

Reserve Officers’ Training Corps pay: If a student is in an ROTC program, and receives pay for activities such as summer advanced camp, it is taxable. Other allowances the student may receive – like food and lodging – may not be taxable. The Armed Forces’ Tax Guide on IRS.gov provides details.

More Information:
Tax rules for students
Is My Tip Income Taxable?
Do I Have Income Subject to Self-Employment Tax?

 

One Response to “Tax Tips for Teens with Summer Jobs”

  • Hello, thanks for the great read on teens and taxes. I really enjoyed it.

    Please let me add that in Hawaii, self employed individuals must also file and pay Hawaii General Excise taxes Individuals are suprised to learn that this is a completely different tax system in addition to income tax and it requires periodic tax returns.

    Thanks again!

    Tod

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