Summer Tax Tips for Teens

Keeping summer job income reporting simple.

Many families make use of their summer vacations, not only by going on vacations and relaxing, but also by showing their children the value by signing them up for summer jobs. These rights of passage may seem like just an enjoyable way to make some income, yet many forget that these teens are responsible for tax management of this income.

Not sure where to start or how to report this income? Read below for some tips to keep tax withholding reporting simple and easy - straight from the IRS itself.


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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 properly. 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 teens fill out this form.

Self-employment: Students who have odd jobs over the summer to make bring home additional cash are self-employed. This include jobs such as 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 during the year.

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.

Check back the first and third week of every month for more helpful tax tips!

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