Think You’re Exempt From Withholding Taxes ‘Cause You’re a Student? Think Again!

Stephen Ganns,, shares tips and solutions for claiming taxes if you are a student.Today’s topic is tax information for students who take jobs in the summer after school lets out.

A student’s first job gives him or her a chance to learn about the work world, for example:

  • Learn about taxes
  • How to get along with co-workers
  • How to get along with bosses

If you are designated as an employee, as 99% of all summer workers SHOULD be, then your employer will withhold taxes from your paycheck. At the very least, he or she will withhold Social Security taxes and Medicare taxes. In addition, they will withhold whatever mandatory legislative unemployment and disability type taxes designated by the state that you are in.

Based on how much a student makes, the employer may also withhold income taxes. Contrary to popular belief, students are not exempt from income taxes.The reason this rumor has always had some life to it is because most students make under the minimum necessary for a dependent to pay taxes. That Federal amount for 2014 is $6,200. (State amounts differ.)

But do not mistake not making enough to pay taxes with being EXEMPT from taxes. With this in mind many students who do not believe they will make the minimum amount write exempt on their W-4 form. I never recommend this because if the student decides to work part-time after the summer is over, and does make more than the requirement, the student will experience that terrible feeling of owing money when they file their taxes on April 15th. This is an experience that a young person should not have to go through.

My advice to students is when they fill out the W-4, put down single-zero, provided you are single, (which I am assuming most students who take a part-time job are), and have your employer withhold taxes. Based on the weekly salary there may be some taxes withheld. The student will then be covered at filing time and may even get themselves a nice little refund.

Please, do not fall for the rumor that students are exempt from income taxes. They are not. Students have to pay income taxes like anyone else.

You are never exempt from income taxes from the time you are born to the time you die. It’s a fact of life that we have all gotten used to.

Still not sure what to do? Please contact your tax advisor, or give us a call.  We will be happy to answer your questions.

Stephen J. Ganns

Stephen J. Ganns, CPA


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