It’s hard enough for adults to navigate the complexities of filing taxes, let alone teens. But the truth is, teens should get into the habit of filing their taxes as early and as often as possible.
Teens, Taxes, and Guidance
With the right guidance, your teens can approach their tax filing with newfound confidence, which can give them the tools they need to start managing their finances independently.
In this article, we’ll share important tips to help set up teens for successful tax filing experiences, so they can stay compliant, defend against potential audits, and ensure their returns are accurate and free of errors. With the right strategies and guidance, you can give your teens the financial independence they need to make informed decisions in the future.
Teach Your Teens to File their Taxes
I don’t know about yall, but I didn’t file my own taxes until I was married and we were on our own. We had a MILLION W-2s and mileage deduction and car depreciation. It’s amazing how we really did live on both of us working $8 an hour almost full-time jobs, but we definitely couldn’t afford the luxuries, like Walmart tax professionals. So that became my part-time job at home – as it took WEEKS to get our taxes filed the first time.
Thankfully, years of practice have made this much easier to handle. We want that same confidence for our teens, so as soon as they start getting a W-2, we have them start filing their taxes. Here’s a quick guide to talk through with your kids as they begin their own filing system for important paperwork
WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE TO
We knew that our almost 16-year-old son didn’t need to file his taxes, as he only made a little under $2000 last year, but we want him to get into the practice of using his tax filing muscle now. Also, he is our investor kid and LOVES the fact that he can contribute up to the amount he made last year in an IRA Roth to start setting himself up for retirement. So, that’s his financial goal this year.
With this being his first year, I had him sit with me and tell me the information on the form, and I typed it in. We file online most years, and this was the case for him this year.
WHEN IT’S TIME FOR THEM TO DO THEIR OWN
Next was our daughter. I’ve been helping her file her taxes since she was 16, and this year, at 18, she was ready to go solo. This year, she sat at her own computer and filed her own taxes.
You guys, I am so happy for her. This is an act of maturational freedom for her. This is building her confidence that will transfer to other adult tasks, which she’ll also take charge of and master!
WHEN YOU SHOULD ASK FOR HELP
Lastly, sometimes, help is the best option. We are helping a precious 21-year-old learn all kinds of skills for independent living. She had some W-2s, Student Loan forms, and a few other variables to work through. So, we had her head up to her local H&R Block office and have them sort through the documents. She was in and out in 30 minutes, and we all had peace of mind that all the details were taken care of.
All this is our way of helping our teens continue to be more prepared than we were for the next step in launching as competent adults. Filing taxes is just one more way they can know that they’ve got this.
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