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Your Kids' Tax Prep
Old 04-04-2012, 07:45 AM   #1
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Your Kids' Tax Prep

Another "Cutting The Cord" post: as I have for the last few years, I did the taxes for my two kids, both in their very early 20's, both still in school, 1 dependent, 1 not. It's dawning on me that I am doing them a disservice by not providing them with the pleasure of doing their own, and 2012 will include a guided hand-off of that responsibility. Just curious: how have others dealt with the same?
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Old 04-04-2012, 08:15 AM   #2
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Just curious: how have others dealt with the same?
My kids had to do their own from day one - with help and oversight, of course. By the time they were in college they were on their own, with an occasional question and/or request that I review the return before filing.
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Old 04-04-2012, 08:24 AM   #3
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I have done my own from day one. My oldest daughter's return I did while she was younger and only had investment investment income. I also did her first W-2 return. Of course, she became unemployed for a long time and just now got a new job in another state. Not sure how that's going to play out for her. But I'm a professional preparer, if I were doing returns by hand it would have been easier to not do them.
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Old 04-04-2012, 09:06 AM   #4
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Still doing them for DS.
He has a difficult return in the works for 2012 so I'm going to do that one --then game over for tax preparation.
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Old 04-04-2012, 09:14 AM   #5
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Still doing them for DD. I showed her how it is done this year. Maybe I will cut the tether next year. I get the Vanguard free TT on the home PC so she will want to do it here anyway rather than buy a copy.
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Old 04-04-2012, 09:54 AM   #6
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I did them for DD through college. Since she graduated last year and is employed, she's doing her own right now (with a good bit of phone coaching as her return was more complicated than either of us expected, with some capital losses and several 1099s along with W-2s). Plan to do the same for DS.
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Old 04-04-2012, 10:46 AM   #7
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Another "Cutting The Cord" post: as I have for the last few years, I did the taxes for my two kids, both in their very early 20's, both still in school, 1 dependent, 1 not. It's dawning on me that I am doing them a disservice by not providing them with the pleasure of doing their own, and 2012 will include a guided hand-off of that responsibility. Just curious: how have others dealt with the same?
The first year after our daughter first left home (16 years ago, right after high school), we reminded her that she needed to do taxes. We told her where to get the forms, and to just ask us if she needed any help.

At that age (18), the idea of asking her parents for help was repugnant enough that it motivated her to figure out how to do her taxes independently. She has done her own taxes right from the start, and hasn't had any problem. She can read, and has a calculator, and as an 18-year-old going to college with a job as a projectionist in a local theater, her taxes were pretty simple.
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Old 04-04-2012, 11:32 AM   #8
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Once they are no longer dependents (by IRS definition), I walk them through the first year, and I am there for any future Qs. I point out anything that might not be obvious, like the higher local tax rates for my son in Chicago - TaxAct makes you dig for this info, which I don't understand since they have your zip code.

-ERD50
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Old 04-04-2012, 11:48 AM   #9
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as an 18-year-old going to college with a job as a projectionist in a local theater, her taxes were pretty simple.
I worked in a movie theater for several years as a teen and absolutely loved it. Being a projectionist is a very good job for a young person if you can get hired as one. There was a union where I worked and you had to know someone to get in.
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Old 04-04-2012, 11:55 AM   #10
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I worked in a movie theater for several years as a teen and absolutely loved it. Being a projectionist is a very good job for a young person if you can get hired as one. There was a union where I worked and you had to know someone to get in.
There was no union in College Station, Texas, where we lived at the time. We didn't know anybody and neither did she - - she got the job on her own, by being in the right place at the right time the summer before college. She started out at the snack counter and shortly thereafter when the projectionist quit, she slid right into that position. She just earned minimum wage, but LOVED the job. She even got some of those big original posters once they were taken down, and she put them up in her apartment. What she hated about the job was when she had to fill in for the cashier sometimes. Eventually she became assistant manager, which meant no raise in pay but she got to open the theater for the other employees, to oversee things, and make sure all ran smoothly. But still, projectionist was her favorite thing to do there and what she did most.
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Old 04-04-2012, 11:59 AM   #11
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DD does hers and gives me the file and I file for her using one of my 5 federal electronic filings. I still do DS but it only takes about 10 min a year, but you raise a good point that perhaps I should have him do it next year and I'll check it.
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Old 04-04-2012, 09:06 PM   #12
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Another "Cutting The Cord" post: as I have for the last few years, I did the taxes for my two kids, both in their very early 20's, both still in school, 1 dependent, 1 not. It's dawning on me that I am doing them a disservice by not providing them with the pleasure of doing their own, and 2012 will include a guided hand-off of that responsibility. Just curious: how have others dealt with the same?
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My kids had to do their own from day one - with help and oversight, of course. By the time they were in college they were on their own, with an occasional question and/or request that I review the return before filing.
Same here, from the time ours got her work permit at age 14.

"Hey, honey, how'd you like me to show you a way to max out your Roth IRA contribution?"

Turbotax will walk them right through the whole thing, provided they have the patience & attention span to actually read the instructions on the screen. Our daughter still struggles with that (at age 19) but she's getting better as she's getting older.

This year it sounds as though she got most of the way through the process and then filed for an extension. She still likes to have me look over her shoulder at some of the questions. We'll probably finish it off when we visit her this month, or if when she comes home for the summer.
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Old 04-05-2012, 12:20 AM   #13
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DD #1 is 22 and until 2011 has never had a W-2 job paying enough to reach the filing threshold. Also, when she was drawing wages she never had any withholding taken out that would require her to file for a refund.

So I did her taxes for her this year. It would have been to much for a first-timer to wade through the complexities of the "50% support" threshold, its affect on dependent status and working all the other numbers needed to confirm which of us got the education credit / deduction for the last semester of college expenses.

Sending in her return last month was one of those "wow" moments of fatherhood. Now it is now official she is no longer my dependent.

She'll be on her own next year.
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Old 04-05-2012, 05:32 AM   #14
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I have found my children wanted more involvement in their taxes as they grew, and also reach the point where they don't want me nosing into their lives without invitation. It doesn't bother me at all to help them with their tax returns, because taxes are complex in the US, but I also enjoy it when they announce that they don't need my help.
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Old 04-05-2012, 08:23 AM   #15
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I did our kids' taxes for a long time, even after they both were working (in jobs that involve finance and accounting! stupid me )--I had the TurboTax open on my computer and just plugged in their numbers as their returns were very simple. I don't think their financial maturity growth was stunted any more than if they'd paid someone to do it. Hey, they shoulda paid me!

Now they both do their own although DD asked me last month if I'd do them for her and her husband again. I declined.
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Old 04-05-2012, 11:36 AM   #16
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I helped the older son until this year when he said he's fine doing them on his own. He just has W-2 income and a K-1 that he knows how to handle. He was perfectly capable in previous years and just wanted me to proof read and double check it.

The younger son has only self employment income so we do his Schedule C together. He's very good about keeping receipts and mileage records. For 2011 he traveled out of state for some work so he had a few new things to consider. He paid estimated taxes all year but it still wasn't enough to cover the total self employment taxes so he owes and will have to increase his estimates for next year, which was disappointing.
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Old 04-05-2012, 07:43 PM   #17
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My parents never did mine and never even gave any advice on doing tax returns. I started at age 16.

You can imagine what my kids have to do. However, I have given them access to my copy of TurboTax while they are still minors.
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Old 04-05-2012, 08:34 PM   #18
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Turning this around, I now recall when I first started working, my Mom was just going to have their 'tax guy' (they had a small business) do mine too. My Mom seemed surprised when I insisted I wanted to do mine myself, so that I understood how this stuff works. Seemed to me if someone was going to take my money, I ought to at least know the rules. Glad I did, start when they are simple, and the complications as time goes on are a bit easier to grasp.

-ERD50
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Old 04-05-2012, 08:43 PM   #19
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Turning this around, I now recall when I first started working, my Mom was just going to have their 'tax guy' (they had a small business) do mine too. My Mom seemed surprised when I insisted I wanted to do mine myself, so that I understood how this stuff works. Seemed to me if someone was going to take my money, I ought to at least know the rules. Glad I did, start when they are simple, and the complications as time goes on are a bit easier to grasp.

-ERD50
+1 Same here, and I do think it made tax preparation a bit easier to grasp.
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Old 04-05-2012, 08:58 PM   #20
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Interesting answers all: thanks! It dawns on me that, in some ways I have been one of those "helicopter" parents that I have read about and laughed at. Not TOO bad, but I have been guilty. Hopefully my progeny will survive.
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