There’s a tax for that
As 2015 sets into full motion, a new season begins. For many students, this season is a dreaded one, filled with uncertainty, doubt and feelings of confusion. However, it can be an exciting time as they plan what to do with their tax returns. This season is not based on the weather — it is tax season.
There are hundreds of thousands of students filing taxes for the first time. Many of them are unsure of what to do.
Thankfully, there are a few resources to help you.
This is a go-to resource for many students. Most parents have gone through this process before, so they can help new tax filers with it.
Elizabeth Portella, 24, has been filing taxes since she started working at the age of 16.
When asked how she found out what she needed to do, Portella said, “I asked my mom.”
Another student, Sean Long, 28, has also been filing taxes since he was 16. He doesn’t remember much from having to file taxes for the first time, but he does remember one thing.
“My parents helped me out with most of it,” Long said. “So it was pretty easy going through that process in the beginning.”
As an alternative to parents helping through the process, Hallie Louzao, 20, has her dad complete the entire process for her.
“All I know is that you fill in some stuff,” Louzao said. “Then boom. You get most of your taxes back.”
Louzao admits that she would feel more independent if she knew how to file her own taxes.
“It would be easier and faster if you yourself knew how to do your own taxes instead of relying on someone else to do it on their own time,” Louzao said.
Commonly known websites, such as TurboTax, help people file.
TurboTax in particular is a big name in the tax filing industry, with features that include tax calculators, tips and all kinds of different guides to help. It has online products, mobile products and software that can be purchased from its website.
The IRS website has downloadable forms that can be filled out and submitted if the person filing their taxes wants to file without assistance.
Businesses focused on taxes
There are brick-and-mortar businesses available to go to for help as well.
A big name in B&M tax businesses is H&R Block. They have been present since 1955 and also feature online resources.
Some students think high schools should consider teaching a course to help upper-level students learn about things they will use in every adult-life track, such as filing taxes, because it’s something all students will eventually have to experience. Most students who remember their experience with filing taxes for the first time agree that there should be a course or at least some education on filing taxes, preferably in high school.
“Probably at the high school level would be ideal,” Portella said, “because there are a lot of students who are working through high school.”
“That would help because I know there’s a lot of students out there that kinda just do it and finish it and get their money,” Long said. “They don’t really understand why they were taxed in the first place.”
“It is an important thing to learn so they can do their taxes themselves when they get older and not be so dependent on their parents… Like me,” Louzoa said.
Katie Stewart, 18, has not had to file taxes because she hasn’t worked long enough, but next year she will have to. She gave a nervous laugh as she admitted to not knowing anything about taxes. She, too, depends on her parents to help her.
“I’m pretty nervous about doing it because my parents stress out about it all the time,” Stewart said.
She also thinks a high school program on how to file taxes would be useful for students.
“I think it would be very beneficial for, not only me, but I’m pretty sure the majority of this university could agree with that,” Stewart said. “I feel like high school didn’t really prepare me for adult things.”
Taxes can be intimidating, but just remember there are resources available at your fingertips to help.
As Stewart said, “Being an adult is scary.”
But it doesn’t have to be.