Students File Taxes for the First Time

Lexi Morgan, Reporter

Many senior students at Arrowhead high school are employed. Some with minimum-wage fast food jobs at the Chick-Fil-A in Delafield, like Mara Hoffmann, or service jobs like the Walgreens in Sussex for Abby Dambeck. However, with jobs comes W2s, and taxes. Luckily for employed seniors, they are off the hook for a few more years.

NOLO, a legal encyclopedia site, states, “A child who has only unearned income must file a return if the total is more than $1,100.”

The IRS defines unearned income as, “Unearned income includes investment-type income such as taxable interest, ordinary dividends, and capital gain distributions. It also includes unemployment compensation, taxable social security benefits, pensions, annuities, cancellation of debt, and distributions of unearned income from a trust.”

This means that some Arrowhead seniors do not need to file because their income does not exceed the amount necessary to file. 

Those who do have to file can go through the IRS website. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants states, “The U.S. Treasury Department and the IRS announced on March 17, 2021 that the federal income tax filing due date for individuals for the 2020 tax year will be automatically extended from April 15, 2021 to May 17, 2021.”

Dambeck says, “I do remember my parents talking about that [filing] and I saw it [W2] but I, personally, didn’t do anything about it.”

Lily Gerbitz, a senior currently employed at restaurant Smoke on the Water, says, “I think I’m still on my parents plan.”

Unfortunately, taxes are not similar to phone plans, so Gerbitz is out of luck. Parents can still claim their children on their taxes as dependents, however.

Fox Business states, “You can claim dependent children until they turn 19, unless they go to college, in which case they can be claimed until they turn 24. If your child is 24 years or older, they can still be claimed as a ‘qualifying relative’ if they meet the qualifying relative test or they are permanently and totally disabled.”

Gerbitz does offer some insight into the filing process that is sure to be agreed among the entirety of Gen Z. She states, “How can they expect kids who are in school probably working a minimum wage job to pay for existing?”