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Level 1

Filing taxes as a teen

So I heard that you don’t have to file taxes if you make less than 5k. I’m a teen who only had a summer job, and made less than that by a substantial amount. I however had my taxes taken out automatically but am unable to get that back. I’m confused as I logically could’ve kept the money if I decided to not have taxes be taken out automatically and since I wouldn’t have had to file taxes I would’ve essentially kept the money. Is my logic flawed, or is there a way to get my full refund as I went did the tax process and was only able to get a refund from federal taxes which is nothing when compared the my other taxes I paid.

6 Replies
Level 15

Filing taxes as a teen

Yes you don't have to file but you can go get back any withholding taken out in boxes 2 or 17.  But you don't get boxes 4 or 6 back.


To file a separate return as a dependent you need to set up a new account.  Online is only good for one return per account.  You can use the same email address for 5 accounts.  You can probably use the Free Edition or the Free File website



Be sure on your return they check the box that says they can be claimed on someone else’s return.  If their only income is W2 and under 12,200 they do not have to file a return except to get back any withholding taken out.


Filing requirements for a dependent

Level 1

Filing taxes as a teen

But if I didn’t have my taxes withdrawn automatically from the beginning, I could’ve essentially kept the money taken form things like social security tax?

Level 15

Filing taxes as a teen

You cannot avoid SS & medicare taxes from being withheld ... however you can stop the fed & state withholding so you don't need to file a return to get it refunded.  

Level 15

Filing taxes as a teen

No.  It's mandatory that they take out SS (6.2%) and Medicare (1.45%).  If you think you will make less than 12,200 total for the year you can stop the federal and state income tax withholding.

Level 1

Filing taxes as a teen

How would I be able to get my state tax back? I tried filing but was only able to get my federal tax back.

Expert Alumni

Filing taxes as a teen

You are able to prepare a state return when you prepare your federal return. If you did not prepare a state return yet, log back into your return and click to add the state you need to file to the return. Prepare the return, and then you can file it.


If you have prepared your state return and you are not able to file it yet, it is because your state has not opened up the e-filing option yet. Even though the IRS has started to accept e-filed starting 1/27/2020 there are some states who have not finalized their tax forms yet, thus not opening the e-file option.


Click here to look up your state and see when all forms will be ready:


Once the forms are ready you will be able to e-file your return and check the status here:


If you prepared your return and you are not due a refund, but owe the state more taxes, you may not be required to file a return if you made under your states threshold. You can see what the requirements are for your state by visiting your states department of revenue website. 

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