I'm 18, I have a part-time job as a student helper at my university. I get paid 10 dollars an hour, but I work like 2-3 hours a week. So overall in the semester it's gonna come to a total of 500 USD give or take a few 10s dollars. Semester ends at the start of May and then my jobs over. Do I need to file taxes for this income?

Information from the comments:

  • My 2020 income was zero.
  • My dad claims me as a dependent. My mom doesn't they're divorced
  • 2
    I'm assuming this is a US-based question based on the USD currency, although there are a few other places that use USD. Please comment or edit if not.
    – Vicky
    Mar 1 at 10:36
  • @mhoran_psprep No income in 2020 Mar 1 at 12:28
  • @BenMiller-RememberMonica Yes my dad claims me as a dependent. my mom doesn't they're divorced Mar 1 at 12:28
  • @Vicky Yep, I am in the United States. Mar 1 at 12:29

Because you have no income in 2020 and because you are a dependent on your parent’s return, you likely have no reason to file a 2020 return. The 2020 COVID stimulus payment/Recovery Rebate tax credit is not given to dependents.

For 2021, if you will only have $1000 in income, you likely will not be required to file. (See the latest version of the Form 1040 instructions for the filing requirements, which may or may not be the same for 2021 as they are now.)

However, even if you are not required to file, if you had any federal or state income tax taken out of your paycheck, it may be to your advantage to file anyway, since with your low income you would likely get most of it back as a refund.

It is too early to know what the rules will be for any future stimulus/tax credit, but it is possible that you would be eligible for a refundable tax credit, which would be another reason to file a return.

  • awesome! thank you. what exactly is the point of a refund though if I don't pay in the first place? is that like a reputation thing or something? Mar 1 at 12:55
  • 2
    @DoctorReality If you are not required to file and you would not be getting a refund if you did file, then there is no reason to file. But if you look at your pay statement and see that they are taking money out for federal or state income tax, then filing might get you some or all of that money back as a refund. Also, there are some tax credits that are called “refundable” tax credits, which means that you can take advantage of them even if you don’t owe any taxes. Mar 1 at 12:59
  • 1
    Note that whether your parents actually claim you on their tax return has no bearing on whether you are required to file, and also has no bearing on whether you are eligible for various tax credits. As long as you meet the conditions to be your parent's dependent, you are treated as a dependent for tax purposes no matter if your parents actually claim you or not.
    – user102008
    Mar 2 at 4:40

No - but if you file, you could get the COVID stimulus payments (unless you got them already). Well worth the effort.


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