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Advice on how to file taxes for teenager

Posted: Sun Apr 19, 2020 12:18 pm
by Smokey21
Seeking advice for how to file taxes for my teenager that had to part-time jobs in 2019.

He has two separate w-2s.

I'd read that there's a free way to file on line for people who have low income like he does. I'm not sure if me classifying him as a dependent on my taxes will interfere with that. I'm also not sure if he would qualify for a stimulus check.

Any advice for how to file his relatively simple taxes?

Does anyone know if he might qualify for a stimulus check?

If he would qualify for a stimulus check, any pitfalls about the method of filing? I'd heard their issues with people with TurboTax an receiving stimulus checks. Hard to know was so much information and misinformation out there swirling.

Re: Advice on how to file taxes for teenager

Posted: Sun Apr 19, 2020 12:22 pm
by rob
Most tax software allows lodging of multiple returns.
No stimulus check for people that can be claimed as a dependant.

Re: Advice on how to file taxes for teenager

Posted: Sun Apr 19, 2020 12:24 pm
by kelvan80
I'd personally just efile for him on the irs.gov website if you understand the mechanics of taxes. It would be a good lesson for him/her to look at a tax table. Whether or not he qualifies for a stimulus check will depend on whether you claimed him as a dependent on your taxes which I'm guessing you did if he only had two part time jobs.

Re: Advice on how to file taxes for teenager

Posted: Sun Apr 19, 2020 12:27 pm
by snowman
1. Your teenager is your dependent, and as such does not qualify for $1.2K stimulus check on his own. If he is below 16, and your income is within limits, he will qualify for dependent stimulus check.

2. How do you file your taxes? If you have TT use it to file your kid's taxes too. Freetaxusa provides free filing software, but most people purchasing TT or HRB just use what they already paid for.

Re: Advice on how to file taxes for teenager

Posted: Sun Apr 19, 2020 12:29 pm
by RudyS
Just being technical, but I'd let HIM do the filling out of the forms, etc., with you watching over his shoulder. He needs to learn this sooner or later.

Re: Advice on how to file taxes for teenager

Posted: Sun Apr 19, 2020 12:37 pm
by Smokey21
My wife has a complicated business so we file jointly through a CPA. She told me the CPA's advice was to file on our own for him, but the advice was not specific.

Re: Advice on how to file taxes for teenager

Posted: Sun Apr 19, 2020 12:39 pm
by Smokey21
RudyS wrote: Sun Apr 19, 2020 12:29 pm Just being technical, but I'd let HIM do the filling out of the forms, etc., with you watching over his shoulder. He needs to learn this sooner or later.
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Absolutely!

Re: Advice on how to file taxes for teenager

Posted: Sun Apr 19, 2020 3:22 pm
by rob
kelvan80 wrote: Sun Apr 19, 2020 12:24 pm Whether or not he qualifies for a stimulus check will depend on whether you claimed him as a dependent on your taxes which I'm guessing you did if he only had two part time jobs.
I'm in a similar position for a 20 something student with a small W2 income BUT reading the rules it was whether they were able to be claimed as dependant - not whether you did or not.

Re: Advice on how to file taxes for teenager

Posted: Sun Apr 19, 2020 3:41 pm
by NotWhoYouThink
He should be able to do it without anyone looking over his shoulder. I did, back in the day when you picked up your forms at the post office or library. Even went to the library to pick up the forms, no one did it for me.

Publication 17 has lots of good information still, available on PDF from the comfort of your home. And the free fillable forms are easy for those with only W-2 income.

I have never reviewed or even seen my kids tax forms.

Re: Advice on how to file taxes for teenager

Posted: Sun Apr 19, 2020 4:06 pm
by teen persuasion
Go to the free file page on IRS.gov, or your state's tax website (if you have state income taxes, start here). Pick one of the options, I prefer TurboTax, but used HRBlock once, when TurboTax wasn't a free option.

I've walked my teens thru filing their own taxes, basically just answering questions when they didn't know what the program was asking, or explaining details. Most of the 1040 sections won't apply to a teen with just w2s. Really, it's data entry, the software does the math and computation.

Is your teen at least 16? Then they can likely e-file. We found out the hard way when DS2 tried to efile at age 15. Luckily, his birthday was only a week away. We waited until he was 16, and had no problem finishing up (it saved the nearly completed return).

Re: Advice on how to file taxes for teenager

Posted: Sun Apr 19, 2020 5:08 pm
by sled777
I filed for my teenage daughter using FreeTaxUsa. Free Federal and GA state filings.

Whatever you use, make sure to check the box “ Someone can claim: You as a dependent” at the start of the 1040 form if you already claimed them on your return.

Re: Advice on how to file taxes for teenager

Posted: Sun Apr 19, 2020 5:30 pm
by joe-kr
Can I ask, why file at all? This is assuming the teen earned less then $12,200, and did not have unearned income (interest, etc) over $1,100.

I was not planning on filing for my 17 year old because of the above rules. I want to make sure I’m not missing a good reason to file anyway.

Re: Advice on how to file taxes for teenager

Posted: Sun Apr 19, 2020 5:31 pm
by jebmke
joe-kr wrote: Sun Apr 19, 2020 5:30 pm Can I ask, why file at all? This is assuming the teen earned less then $12,200, and did not have unearned income (interest, etc) over $1,100.

I was not planning on filing for my 17 year old because of the above rules. I want to make sure I’m not missing a good reason to file anyway.
If taxes were withheld, the only way to get them refunded is to file.

Re: Advice on how to file taxes for teenager

Posted: Sun Apr 19, 2020 5:46 pm
by sled777
I file because my daughter has a Roth IRA she contributes too. The filing shows her taxable Compensation for this purpose even though she owed no taxes.

Re: Advice on how to file taxes for teenager

Posted: Sun Apr 19, 2020 5:58 pm
by joe-kr
jebmke wrote: Sun Apr 19, 2020 5:31 pm
If taxes were withheld, the only way to get them refunded is to file.
Yes, good point. In my daughter’s case, she filed an Exempt W4. But they still take out for SS, Medicare, and NJ Unemployment insurance. I believe those have to be paid regardless of exempt status.

Re: Advice on how to file taxes for teenager

Posted: Sun Apr 19, 2020 6:04 pm
by joe-kr
sled777 wrote: Sun Apr 19, 2020 5:46 pm I file because my daughter has a Roth IRA she contributes too. The filing shows her taxable Compensation for this purpose even though she owed no taxes.
My daughter also has a Roth. Is the reason for filing just record keeping? Or is it required to file with Roth? Thanks.

Re: Advice on how to file taxes for teenager

Posted: Sun Apr 19, 2020 6:34 pm
by sled777
joe-kr wrote: Sun Apr 19, 2020 6:04 pm
sled777 wrote: Sun Apr 19, 2020 5:46 pm I file because my daughter has a Roth IRA she contributes too. The filing shows her taxable Compensation for this purpose even though she owed no taxes.
My daughter also has a Roth. Is the reason for filing just record keeping? Or is it required to file with Roth? Thanks.

Not a CPA so don’t know exact answer. Maybe a pro can chime in. I do believe by filing it I would be able justify and satisfy any challenge to the Roth’s taxable income requirements.

Re: Advice on how to file taxes for teenager

Posted: Mon Apr 20, 2020 10:49 pm
by Smokey21
We filed today. Used TurboTax through free file on irs.gov. worked great and was a learning experience. Opened his eyes to how much "they" want to know about you and your money. I do not agree with the "let him figure it out on his own" approach, at least with my son. Now he's ready to do it on his own.

Re: Advice on how to file taxes for teenager

Posted: Mon Apr 20, 2020 11:44 pm
by GenawithanE
Good decision. Be sure he knows not to claim himself if you are claiming him as a dependent. I volunteer doing taxes and we see parents get messed up often because their college kid did his own taxes and claimed himself. In that case, you can’t efile and he has to amend his return for you to get any education credits, if you qualify for them.

Re: Advice on how to file taxes for teenager

Posted: Mon Apr 20, 2020 11:48 pm
by Flora
Did he file a state return?

Will he make a 2019 Roth IRA contribution by 7/15/2020?

Did he have unearned income?