Too Young to File – or the Tax Virgin!

Today TaxMama hears from Monique in California who tells us. “I am a student, living at home with my parents (they are still claiming me as a dependant). But I do work less than 20 hours (usually earning less than $160). Do I still have to file taxes?”

Dear Monique,

Sure. File a tax return, just to see if you do, in fact owe any money. If you’re earning about $150 per week, that adds up to nearly $8,000 per year.

When you earn over $5,200 per year, you may have to pay some taxes – or you might have a refund coming. You see, since your parents are claiming you as a dependent, you will lose your own personal exemption. That will expose part of your income to taxation.

The good news is that you can file your tax return online for free.

Go to the IRS’s Free File website and select a tax preparation company.,,id=118986,00.html

Before you finalize your tax return, have your parents look it over to make sure it’s right. And it’s always a good idea to print out a copy for your records. Yes, that will cost an extra $5 or $10. But it’s worth having.

It will be easy and fun. And you’ll learn a bit about your own finances before life gets complicated.

And remember, you can find answers to all kinds of questions about filing your first tax return, and other tax issues, free.

Where? Where else? At

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