Taxes

Tips For Teenagers With Summer Jobs

Students and teenagers often get summer jobs which can be a great way to earn extra spending money or to save for later. Here are some additional top tips from the IRS for people with summer jobs:

  • New Employees. When a person 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 employee’s pay. The IRS Withholding Calculator tool on IRS.gov can help a taxpayer fill out the form.
  • Withholding and Estimated Tax. Students and teenage employees normally have taxes withheld from their paychecks by the employer.  Some workers are considered self-employed and may be responsible for paying taxes directly to the IRS. One way to do that is by making estimated tax payments during the year.
  • Self-Employment. A taxpayer may engage in types of work that may be considered self-employment. Money earned from self-employment is taxable. Self-employment work can be jobs like baby-sitting or lawn care. Keep good records on money received and expenses paid related to the work.  IRS rules may allow some, if not all, costs associated with self-employment to be deducted. A tax deduction generally reduces the taxes you pay.
  • Tip Income. Employees should report tip income. Keep a daily log to accurately report tips. Report tips of $20 or more received in cash in any single month to the employer.
  • Payroll Taxes. Taxpayers may earn too little from their summer job to owe income tax. Employers usually must withhold Social Security and Medicare taxes from their pay. If a taxpayer is self-employed, then Social Security and Medicare taxes may still be due and are generally paid by the taxpayer, in a timely manner.
  • Newspaper Carriers. Special rules apply to a newspaper carrier or distributor. If a person meets certain conditions, then they are self-employed. If the taxpayer does not meet those conditions, and are under age 18, they may be exempt from Social Security and Medicare taxes.
  • ROTC Pay. If a taxpayer is in a ROTC program, active duty pay, such as pay for summer advanced camp, is taxable. Other allowances the taxpayer may receive may not be taxable, see Publication 3 for details.

One great long-term retirement saving vehicle for a teenager would be a Roth IRA.  Someone can invest the less of $5,500 or the amount of compensation earned during the year into a Roth IRA, and all the earnings grow tax-free to be withdrawn tax-free upon retirement.  As a simple illustration, a $4,000 contribution to a Roth IRA compounding annually at 10% would be worth $181,037 in 40 years!

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