CPA and TurboTax tax expert Lisa Greene-Lewis joins TheStreet to discuss how younger tax filers can avoid some common mistakes at tax time.
Tracy Byrnes: So there's a lot of young people out there investing in particular, and unbeknownst to them, they have to file a tax return. So what are some of the mistakes that Gen Z and millennials have been making? Lisa Greene-Lewis, CPA and TurboTax expert, is with us right now. You know, a lot of people don't even realize that once you start dabbling in crypto and in the stock market, you get a tax return on your hands.
Lisa Greene-Lewis: Yes, so one of the biggest mistakes that millennials and Gen Z make, a lot of them, not filing at all. You know, they may work a job where it doesn't meet the income thresholds for IRS to require them to file, so they think they don't need to file. But they are missing out on the possibility if they had federal taxes withheld, to get that back, as well as some education credits. And this year, the stimulus that they can claim.
Tracy Byrnes: Right, and I think part of it comes down to just gathering their documents. You know, this stuff is coming in the mail for the first time probably. They don't even know what they're getting. Keeping it all together is half the battle, isn't it?
Lisa Greene-Lewis: Right, yes, they should start gathering their documents all in one place, so they don't miss anything. The forms that report their income like W-2s and 1099s. Then also don't forget about some of the credits that they may be eligible for, like the American Opportunity Credit if they were in their first four years of college, or the Lifetime Learning Credit, even if they were taking just one class.
Tracy Byrnes: Right, and that stuff's huge, which is why, you know, being able to use a program to help walk me through is really key. In a previous video, you and I talked about how TurboTax is offering free filing. Do these young people qualify?
Lisa Greene-Lewis: It would be possible for them to qualify if they have a simple tax situation, so if they have a 1040 Form only, no schedules, and then they claim the standard deduction. They can have some interest and dividends, as well as be able to claim the student loan interest. And also Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit.
Tracy Byrnes: Yeah, so when you're not making a ton of money as a Gen Zer, you don't want to pay more money to have your tax return prepared. So why not get it for free? I encourage people to check out that previous video. Lisa Greene-Lewis, CPA and TurboTax expert, thank you for all of this.
Lisa Greene-Lewis: Thank you for having me.
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