IRS tax tips for those with summer jobs

Summer jobs are a great way for students and teenagers to earn extra money or to save for later. The following are some IRS summer job tax tips for taxpayers with a summer job:

  • Withholding and Estimated Tax. As a rule, taxes withheld from paychecks by the employer.  Some workers are considered self-employed and may be responsible for paying taxes directly to the IRS. One way to do that is by making estimated tax payments during the year. Be sure to find out if you need to make the estimated tax payments. 
  • New Employees. When a person gets a new job, they need to fill out a Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate. Employers use this form to calculate how much federal income tax to withhold from the employee’s pay. The IRS Withholding Calculator tool on IRS.gov can help a taxpayer fill out the form.
  • Self-Employment. A taxpayer may engage in types of work that may be considered self-employment. Money earned from self-employment is taxable. Self-employment work can be jobs like baby-sitting or lawn care. Keep good records on money received and expenses paid related to the work. IRS rules may allow some, if not all, costs associated with self-employment to be deducted. A tax deduction generally reduces the taxes you pay.
  • Tip Income. Employees should report tip income. Keep a daily log to accurately report tips. Report tips of $20 or more received in cash in any single month to the employer.
  • Payroll Taxes. Taxpayers may earn too little from their summer job to owe income tax. Employers usually must withhold Social Security and Medicare taxes from their pay. If a taxpayer is self-employed, then Social Security and Medicare taxes may still be due and are generally paid by the taxpayer, in a timely manner.
  • Newspaper Carriers. Special rules apply to a newspaper carrier or distributor. If a person meets certain conditions, then they are self-employed. If the taxpayer does not meet those conditions, and are under age 18, they may be exempt from Social Security and Medicare taxes.
  • ROTC Pay. If a taxpayer is in a ROTC program, active duty pay, such as pay for summer advanced camp, is taxable. Other allowances the taxpayer may receive may not be taxable, see Publication 3 for details.
  • Use IRS Free File. Taxpayers can prepare and e-file their federal income tax return for free using IRS Free File.  Free File is available only on IRS.gov. Some taxpayers may not earn enough money to have to file a federal tax return, by law, but may want to if taxes were withheld. For example, a taxpayer may want to file a tax return because they would be eligible for a tax refund or a refundable credit.  IRS Free File can help with these issues. 

Visit IRS.gov for more about the tax rules for students.