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3 Tips for Teens Filing Their Taxes for the First Time

Having a part-time job is fun but also demanding as you balance school, work, and activities each week. Something you may not realize is that you need to report your taxable income to the IRS. If your income is above a certain amount, then you are required to tell the IRS how much you made even if your parents claim you as a dependent. You might even need to pay some taxes. This can be hard, so read on for a few helpful tips!

Get All Your Information

The first task is to gather all the information you need. You will need a copy of your W-2, which is a mailed statement of your work income from your employer. You will need your legal name and your tax ID number. Your tax ID number is usually your Social Security Number (SSN). If you do not have an SSN, then you will need an ITIN number, which you can request when you file your tax form.

Reasons to File Your Taxes

Whether you made enough money during the year to owe taxes, it may be the case that your employer still subtracted money from your paycheck each pay period. This money went to the government as an advance payment for your taxes. It is possible that this advance payment is more than you actually owe. In that case, you will need to file your taxes to get a refund. It could also be the case that you owe more taxes than what was already paid. If that is the case, you’ll need to send the IRS a check.

If your yearly earned income from your job is above $12,200, then you are required to file. If your self-employment income (from work you do yourself, like yard work, babysitting, et cetera) is above $400 for the year, then you are required to file. But it is always good practice to report your income even if you don’t make enough to owe taxes.

Save Your Documents

Saving your earning information is an important part of receiving money. Whether you work for an employer or earn self-employment income for various work-related activities, you should always keep records that list the work you did, the times you worked and the amount you earned. This is important in case the information your employer has about your income is wrong. If you are self-employed, you need to know if you made more than $400 for the year. Also, if you are self-employed, keep your receipts for any purchases made for your work. You may be able to subtract these costs from your income. At this time, it’s generally recommended that you also get things ready for next year’s return as well.

Filing taxes is part of the responsibilities we all face as citizens. Just like voting, reporting your taxable income will be your civic duty as an adult. Filing your taxes now will help prepare you for the future.

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