Students With Summer Jobs

Aww, Summer… Many of us associate this season with cookouts, pool-side lounging, days at the beach, and overall relaxation. But, for others, Summer is the season for making money, especially if you’re a teen that’s permitted to work. The idea of making your own spending cash is motivation enough for an adolescent or young adult to clock-in everyday, if you could. However, with any type of income, there comes money management and tax awareness. Like the title states, this information is strictly for students that are working for those paychecks this summer, but parents are welcomed to read too.

If your summer job is also your very first job, then you’re in a valuable position to learn about work and paying taxes. The taxes that come from your paychecks help support your town, state, and even the nation. Being fresh in the work force, you’re going have a bunch of new words and responsibilities regarding your paycheck. Feel free to use this blog as a reference during your summer employment.

Withholding and Estimated Tax
As an employee, your employer withholds tax from your paychecks. This means with each paycheck you ever receive, there is a set amount of money subtracted from your earnings. You might think it sucks, but that’s life. We all have to pay our taxes.

If you have a self-employed job like babysitting, lawn care, or car washing, there’s a chance you may have to pay an estimated tax directly to IRS. But that depends on how much you actually make, and we’re talking about an amount greater than or equivalent to working 20 hours a week at minimum wage.

Just remember, withheld taxes and estimated taxes are mainly how our nation’s “pay-as-you-go” tax system works.

Form W-4
Any time you get hired by an employer, you have to fill out a Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate. Your employer uses your completed form to figure out how much federal income tax to withhold from your pay. The IRS also offers a Withholding Calculator, which you can use to help fill out the form.

The earnings you make doing work for others is always taxable, even if your work is counted as self-employment. You should keep record all your income and expenses related to your work. You can then subtract those expenses from your income. We call that a deduction, and deductions cut your taxes.

Tip Income
If you work at a restaurant, all your earnings from tips are taxable. Be sure you’re keeping a daily log to report them. You are required to report $20 or more in cash tips, in any one month, to your employer. You also have to report all of your yearly tips on your tax return.

Payroll Taxes
With a summer job, you may not make enough to owe any income taxes; however, employers generally take out Social Security and Medicaid taxes from your pay. You may have to pay those taxes yourself, if you’re self-employed, as it serves your coverage under the Social Security system.

Newspaper Carriers
The IRS states that there are special rules for paper boys or girls. You’re considered self-employed, if you meet certain conditions. If you don’t, and you’re under 18 years of age, you may be excluded from Social Security and Medicaid taxes.

If you’re in a ROTC program, active duty pay, like the pay you would receive for a summer camp, is taxable. During a summer training, the subsistence allowance you receive isn’t taxable.

IRS Free File
The IRS offers a Free File feature where you can prepare and e-file your tax return for free. Even if you don’t make enough to be required to file a federal tax return, you may want to still file. One reason is because you get a tax refund if your employer withheld income tax from your pay.

Keep in mind that these are general tax tips. If you have a specific situation, you may want to speak to your employer, or a local tax professional. For parents, you can search the Internet for more details about child labor laws. We, at ExpressTaxFilings, wish all you students a safe, fun, and enjoyable working experience this summer.

For questions or any assistance with our tax, e-filing services, you can contact live professionals from our Rock Hill, South Carolina headquarters at (704) 839-2270, Monday through Friday, from 9am to 6pm Eastern Standard Time, email us 24/7 at, or chat with us live at

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