Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Teach Your Teens How To File Taxes. For Free.

Your Teen's Tax Return

Did your teen have a summer or part-time job?

Then it’s the perfect time to teach your teen how to file taxes. Ease into the process while the paperwork is still nice and simple, like a single W-2 income statement from the local fast food joint.

What’s in it for your teen?

Well, aside from picking up a critical life skill (yawn), most likely a refund (cha-ching). Unless, of course, your teen is a withholding wizard. Not likely. Admit it. You don’t know how to fill out a W-4 properly either.

Here’s how you can teach your working teen how to file taxes with minimal effort and no charge:

  • Visit the IRS free file site. Make sure your teen meets the income requirements. If not, congratulations for raising the next Mark Zuckerberg.
  • Pick one of the free tax prep programs. Turbotax online is excellent. Simple. Clear.
  • Walk through the screens together. Let your teen take the wheel and do the data entry while you take the passenger seat and answer questions.
  • Snag that refund. Tax prep software like TurboTax will let your teen direct deposit the funds right into a bank account or onto a prepaid card.

Free file. A few simple questions. No taxes owed. A refund. When you’re a teen, taxes are almost, umm, fun.

Oh, to be young again.

P.S. For bonus points, take that refund and plunk it into a Roth IRA for your teen. Offer a matching contribution if you can. That’s called a “Family 401(k)”, and it’s pure genius. Read more here.

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