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My son is 16 and a full-time high school student. I thought he was tax exempt but he is not getting a full refund. Why not?

 
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My son is 16 and a full-time high school student. I thought he was tax exempt but he is not getting a full refund. Why not?

There is nothing about being a student that makes a person exempt from tax. Every taxpayer is treated exactly the same regardless of age or status. That being said, here is the way that taxes work.
Each taxpayer has a personal exemption, worth $3,900. If you can not be claimed as a dependent, you get your personal exemption. If you can be claimed as a dependent, then the person claiming you gets your personal exemption.
Each filing status has an associated Standard Deduction. That is a deduction from income that you get without having to keep records to prove.
You tax is figured as follows:
add up all of your income and subtract any adjustments (for a young person, there usually aren't any). The result is called  your Adjusted Gross Income.
next your exemptions are subtracted. If you are claimed as a dependent, then your exemption is 0.
next, your standard deduction is subtracted

Standard Deduction

Taxpayer under 65, not claimed as a dependent

$6,100 for Single

$12,200 for Married Filing Jointly, or Qualifying Widow(er) with dependent child

$8,950 for Head of Household

$6,100 for Married Filing Separately

For over 65 or blind, add $1,200 for each instance or add

$1,500 each instance if single and not a surviving spouse.

 If you are claimed as a dependent, then your standard deduction calculation is a bit involved, but for W-2 wages, the maximum amount is $6,100

Now that your exemption (if any) and standard deduction have been subtracted, what is left is called your Taxable Income.

To find the tax on that amount, you look it up in the IRS Tax Tables

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1040tt.pdf

If you qualify for tax credits (there are several but a high school student usually wouldn't have any of them.Now, your tax has been found from the tax tables. Now the amount of tax that was withheld is subtracted from the tax owed. If the tax withheld is less than the tax owed, you have to pay more.

If the tax withheld is more than the tax owed, then you get the difference as a refund. That is the process for Federal tax, the state tax process is similar.

The only way that you, or any other taxpayer gets back all of the federal tax withheld is if their taxable income is zero (or their tax is reduced to zero by credits). So in your case, if you made less than $6,100, you would get all of your withholding back. If you made more than $6,100, you would not get it all back.
In addition, only the Federal Income Tax withheld is refundable. The Social Security tax and Medicare tax withheld is not refundable under any circumstance.

 


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Alumni

My son is 16 and a full-time high school student. I thought he was tax exempt but he is not getting a full refund. Why not?

There is nothing about being a student that makes a person exempt from tax. Every taxpayer is treated exactly the same regardless of age or status. That being said, here is the way that taxes work.
Each taxpayer has a personal exemption, worth $3,900. If you can not be claimed as a dependent, you get your personal exemption. If you can be claimed as a dependent, then the person claiming you gets your personal exemption.
Each filing status has an associated Standard Deduction. That is a deduction from income that you get without having to keep records to prove.
You tax is figured as follows:
add up all of your income and subtract any adjustments (for a young person, there usually aren't any). The result is called  your Adjusted Gross Income.
next your exemptions are subtracted. If you are claimed as a dependent, then your exemption is 0.
next, your standard deduction is subtracted

Standard Deduction

Taxpayer under 65, not claimed as a dependent

$6,100 for Single

$12,200 for Married Filing Jointly, or Qualifying Widow(er) with dependent child

$8,950 for Head of Household

$6,100 for Married Filing Separately

For over 65 or blind, add $1,200 for each instance or add

$1,500 each instance if single and not a surviving spouse.

 If you are claimed as a dependent, then your standard deduction calculation is a bit involved, but for W-2 wages, the maximum amount is $6,100

Now that your exemption (if any) and standard deduction have been subtracted, what is left is called your Taxable Income.

To find the tax on that amount, you look it up in the IRS Tax Tables

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1040tt.pdf

If you qualify for tax credits (there are several but a high school student usually wouldn't have any of them.Now, your tax has been found from the tax tables. Now the amount of tax that was withheld is subtracted from the tax owed. If the tax withheld is less than the tax owed, you have to pay more.

If the tax withheld is more than the tax owed, then you get the difference as a refund. That is the process for Federal tax, the state tax process is similar.

The only way that you, or any other taxpayer gets back all of the federal tax withheld is if their taxable income is zero (or their tax is reduced to zero by credits). So in your case, if you made less than $6,100, you would get all of your withholding back. If you made more than $6,100, you would not get it all back.
In addition, only the Federal Income Tax withheld is refundable. The Social Security tax and Medicare tax withheld is not refundable under any circumstance.

 


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New Member

My son is 16 and a full-time high school student. I thought he was tax exempt but he is not getting a full refund. Why not?

Exactly the same question I had, with a well written answer.
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New Member

My son is 16 and a full-time high school student. I thought he was tax exempt but he is not getting a full refund. Why not?


@jerry2000 wrote:

 

. . . 

So in your case, if you made less than $6,100, you would get all of your withholding back. If you made more than $6,100, you would not get it all back.


This gets to the heart of my question. My daughter was a full-time high school student. She made less than $4, 000 income of any kind, combined. Turbo Tax claims:

1. That she should not get her withholding back.

2. That she must pay in more federal tax money. 

 

This makes no sense to me. How is this possible? What could be wrong?

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Expert Alumni

My son is 16 and a full-time high school student. I thought he was tax exempt but he is not getting a full refund. Why not?

We would need more information to answer your question.

 

Are you claiming your daughter as a dependent (probably yes)?

Is your daughter filing her own return (probably yes)?

What is her filing status (probably Single)?

What was her box 1 amount (Wages) on her W-2?

What was her federal withholding (box 2) on her W-2?

Was your daughter self-employed rather than on a W-2?

 

The answer you quoted is only if you are EMPLOYED, and not self-employed (1099-MISC). 

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New Member

My son is 16 and a full-time high school student. I thought he was tax exempt but he is not getting a full refund. Why not?

> Are you claiming your daughter as a dependent (probably yes)?

Yes.

 

> Is your daughter filing her own return (probably yes)?

Yes. 

 

> What is her filing status (probably Single)?

Single.

 

> What was her box 1 amount (Wages) on her W-2?

She had two jobs. Both jobs issued her a W-2.

- First: $46.01

- Second: $ 3189.35

 

> What was her federal withholding (box 2) on her W-2?

- First: $0

- Second: $3.13

 

> Was your daughter self-employed rather than on a W-2?

No, she had two part-time jobs. Both issued a W-2. 

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Level 15

My son is 16 and a full-time high school student. I thought he was tax exempt but he is not getting a full refund. Why not?

Well she shouldn't need to file except to get the $3 back.  I would not file for that.  Just give her the $3.

 

Are you using the Online version?  Look it over and see what lines have income and what tax it is giving her.  Did she get any other forms like a 1099R?

 

Before filing,  You can preview the 1040 or print the whole return

https://ttlc.intuit.com/community/accessing/help/how-do-i-preview-my-turbotax-online-return-before-f...