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Should A Working Teen Claim Themself While Being a Dependent?

Should a working teen claim themself on their tax return while still being listed as dependents on their parent's tax return? In short, the answer is often "no."

However, as we dive deeper into the factors that influence this decision, you'll discover that it's a choice that demands careful consideration. Let's explore the intricacies of this decision and help you make an informed choice that can positively impact your financial future.

Factors that would influence this decision are: Age, Income, and Financial support




Age is one of the primary determinants of whether a teen can claim themselves on their tax return or be claimed as a dependent. If the student is under the age of 19, or under 24 for full-time students, they are typically considered dependents.

1. Under 19 Years Old

  • If a child is under the age of 19 at the end of the tax year, they are typically considered a dependent for tax purposes, regardless of their student status. This means that parents can usually claim their child as a dependent on their own tax return.

2. Under 24 Years Old for Full-Time Students:



Income is another crucial factor. If a student's earned income falls below a certain threshold, they may not be required to file a tax return. The specific threshold can vary from year to year, so it's vital to consult the latest IRS

guidelines to stay updated. As of 2023, a dependent's income must be no greater than $13,850 to remain a dependent on a tax return.


Financial Support

Whether or not a student provides more than half of their financial support plays a significant role in the decision. Financial support includes expenses like tuition, rent, food, and other living costs. If the student covers over 50% of these expenses (providing more than half for their own support), they usually cannot be claimed as a dependent


Communication is Key!!!

To make the right decision, it's important for both the student and their parents to communicate and work together. Discussing the potential tax implications and considering the overall financial situation can lead to a decision that benefits everyone involved.


Advantages & Disadvantages

Now let's take a quick look into some of the advantages and disadvantages of a child claiming themselves on their own tax return while still being a dependent under someone else's tax return.

It is important to note that claiming your own taxes comes with more financial responsibility and independence as you now have complete control over your taxes. This can be seen as either an advantage for some or a disadvantage for others



Financial Responsibilities

  • managing tax credits, deductions, withholdings, etc

  • paying for larger share of expenses (tuition, housing, healthcare)

  • The teen has more control over their finances

  • This would be a step into financial independence

  • ​The teen has more control over their finances (could lead to irresponsibility if they are not ready; more stressful)

  • Taking on these responsibilities on top of school

​Tax Benefits

  • ​Could become eligible for deductions not given to dependents such as Lifetime Learning Credit, American Opportunity Credit, and others

  • ​The parents could lose tax benefits (Child Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit, education-related tax credits

​Tax Liability

  • ​The teen may have a lower tax liability due to low income, deductions, and/or credits which would lead to a lower tax bill

  • Since the parents no longer claim the child, they may end up paying higher taxes

  • With the loss of credits and deductions, it could lead to a higher tax liability

​Financial Aid

  • ​Parents' income and assets may no longer be considered when the financial aid amount is being decided which could increase the child's chance of receiving more aid

  • ​If the teen is in college and is still a part of their parent's household, independent filing could affect their Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

  • Higher EFC could lower the chances of receiving financial aid for the child's needs


The decision of whether a working teen should claim themselves when being filed on their parents' taxes depends on several factors, including


Financial support


Potential Tax Benefits

Understanding these rules and staying informed about the current regulations will help you make the best choice for your family's financial situation during tax season. Keep in mind that TAX LAWS CAN CHANGE, so seeking expert advice may be a wise step to ensure you're making the most informed-advantageous decision for your specific circumstances.


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