Teens & Taxes: My Teenager Took a Gig Job — Do They Need to File Taxes?

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Today’s teens have more options than ever in terms of earning money. While teens seeking gig work decades ago were often relegated to babysitting for the neighbors’ children, landscaping, or delivering newspapers, today’s teens can easily establish their own business or take a variety of side gigs for extra money.

See: Teens & Taxes: My Teenager Had a Summer Job — Do They Need to File Taxes?
Find: Teens & Taxes: I Received a Child Tax Credit for My College Student – Do They Need to File Taxes?

Teenagers looking to earn money can take surveys online, sell crafts on Etsy, sell items through the Facebook Marketplace, manage social media for brands on a freelance basis, and more.

But if your teen worked a side gig — or several side gigs — in 2021, you might wonder if they have to file taxes this year.

Anyone who earns money in the U.S. as a self-employed individual (or a gig worker) is responsible for reporting that income to the Internal Revenue Service. But if your net income as a gig worker is less than $400, you don’t have to pay taxes on that money — though you still must report said income. If your teenager worked a side gig, they will have to file taxes regardless of how much or how little they earned. The rules are the same regardless of the taxpayer’s age.

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Additionally, taxpayers who earned more than $400 in self-employment income — after any allowable business deductions — are responsible for paying self-employment taxes on that amount.

Learn: Teens & Taxes: How To Help Your Teen Choose and Set Up a Bank Account During Tax Season
Explore: Teens & Taxes: Does Your Teen Need To File Taxes for Their Part-time Job?

If your teen took surveys online or worked another age-appropriate gig where they reported directly to a company, the company will send your teenager a 1099 form (or a W9 form) if they earned more than $600 in 2021. Receiving a 1099 makes filing taxes easier, since your teen has paperwork showing exactly how much they earned. However, they should still keep track of their income to ensure the amount on the 1099 form (or W9 form) is correct.

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of GeekTravelGuide.net, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.
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