TurboTax / Tax Calculators & Tips / All Tax Guides / Jobs and Career / Video: Guide to Summer Jobs and Taxes

Video: Guide to Summer Jobs and Taxes

Updated for Tax Year 2014


OVERVIEW

If you only work during the summer months, it may not be necessary to file a tax return. Watch this video to determine whether your summer earnings qualify as taxable.


Get every deduction you deserve

TurboTax Deluxe searches more than 350 tax deductions and credits so you get your maximum refund, guaranteed.

For only $54.99*
Start for Free

Hello, I'm Jill from TurboTax with some information for taxpayers who work summer jobs.

Maybe you attend school for most of the year or work in a profession where your skills are only in demand during the summer months. Regardless of the reason for your seasonal employment, the tax implications of your summer earnings are the same as when you earn income from a full-time job.

If you normally file a tax return each year because you have other employment obligations or income from other sources, you'll probably notice that your summer earnings aren't subject to any special tax rules.

All taxpayers, including students, whose sole source of income is from a summer job, may want to determine whether the filing of a tax return is even necessary. The income you earn during the summer is certainly taxable, but since you only work three months out of the year, your level of income may not require a tax return or any payment of tax.

The IRS requires you to file a tax return when your total income is at least equal to the sum of the standard deduction for your filing status and one personal exemption, or two exemptions if filing a joint return. Now this doesn't necessarily mean you will pay tax on your summer job earnings, just that you need to file a tax return.

To illustrate, suppose your only income for the year is the $5,000 you earn at a summer job. If the sum of your standard deduction and exemption is $9,500 (this amount changes from year to year), you don't have to file a tax return or pay any federal income tax on your summer earnings.

However, if your summer earnings exceed this sum, you may owe tax on the excess, but this also depends on whether you're eligible to claim other deductions and credits on your return, like education credits for college.

Also keep in mind that if another taxpayer claims you as their dependent, such as your parent, you still must file a tax return in some situations. But since dependents can never claim their own personal exemption, you will need to file a tax return when your summer income exceeds the standard deduction available to a single filer.

There will be times when you may want to file a tax return even though the IRS doesn't require you to do so. This generally occurs when your employer withholds income taxes from your wages despite the fact you don't owe income tax at the end of the year. Since you are entitled to a refund, the only way to obtain it is by filing a tax return.

Remember, when you use TurboTax to file your tax return, we'll ask you simple questions and recommend the best filing status for you. You'll also be able to see what your refund will be before you file.

The above article is intended to provide generalized financial information designed to educate a broad segment of the public; it does not give personalized tax, investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek the assistance of a professional who knows your particular situation for advice on taxes, your investments, the law, or any other business and professional matters that affect you and/or your business.

* Important Offer Details and Disclosures
  • Try for Free/Pay When You File: TurboTax online and mobile pricing is based on your tax situation and varies by product. Actual prices are determined at the time of print or efile and are subject to change without notice. Special discount offers may not be valid for mobile in-app purchases.
  • TurboTax CD/Download products: Price includes tax preparation and printing of federal tax returns and free federal efile of up to 5 federal tax returns. Additional fees apply for efiling state returns. E-file fees do not apply to New York state returns. Prices subject to change without notice.
  • TurboTax Mobile: Actual prices are determined at the time of print or efile and are subject to change without notice. Come back here before you file to confirm that the price has not changed, especially if it's been a while since you downloaded this app.
  • Anytime, anywhere: Internet access required; standard message and data rates apply to download and use mobile app features and content. TurboTax mobile app devices supported include Android 4.1 and above, iOS 8 on iPhone 4s and above, and iPad 2.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with efile and direct deposit; tax refund timeframes will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: A $34.99 Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice.
  • About our TurboTax Product Experts: Customer service and product support (phone or chat) vary by time of year. Phone support not included with Free Edition.
  • About our credentialed tax experts: Live tax advice service is available for your toughest tax questions; fees may apply. Service, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice. Click here for full terms and conditions. Not available for TurboTax Business customers.
  • Get up to 10% on top of your federal refund: Amazon.com Gift Card offer is for federal refunds only. Limits apply ($2000 per e-card, maximum $10,000 per customer). Offer available only for TurboTax Online (except Federal Free Edition) or CD/download versions sold and shipped, or downloaded directly from Intuit or Amazon. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards cannot be canceled, transferred for value or redeemed for cash.

    Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ('GCs') cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2013 TurboTax products.
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars: Average based on customer ratings on TurboTax.com for TurboTax Online and CD/download products tax year 2014, as of January 2015.
  • Most Popular: TurboTax Deluxe is our most popular product among TurboTax Online users with more complex tax situations.
  • TurboTax CD/Download priority phone support: Priority phone support for TurboTax CD/Download Premier and Home & Business is accessible exclusively via the TurboTax.com Help Center.
  • Benefit Assist: After you file, TurboTax automatically shows you a full list of government benefits you may qualify for, like Food Stamps or reduced phone & utilities. Plus, we help you apply, saving you time and making it easier than ever to get more money! Estimate based on calculation of Benefit Assist users from tax year 2013 and published reports of average benefit and savings amounts from federal and state programs. Actual amounts and qualifications based on your individual situation; some individuals will not qualify. Feature may not be available for all customers.
  • Simplified State Experience: New, simplified state tax preparation available for most filers.
  • Eligibility for $25 cash back for returning Deluxe customers: Customers who have completed their 2013 taxes in TurboTax Deluxe (CD or download), and have completed their 2014 taxes in either TurboTax Premier or TurboTax Home & Business (CD or download), and apply here before 11:59PM PDT April 20, 2015, are eligible for $25 back. 2014 TurboTax Advantage users are ineligible for this offer. Terms and conditions are subject to change without notice.
  • $0 Upgrade Offer: Valid for customers who filed their 2013 taxes with TurboTax Deluxe (CD or download), completed prior year data transfer this year, and encounter an upgrade to either 2014 TurboTax Premier or 2014 TurboTax Home & Business (CD or download). Valid February 6, 2015 through April 20, 2015. TurboTax Advantage users are ineligible for this offer. This offer may not be combined with our $25 cash back offer. Terms and conditions are subject to change without notice.