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US Teens Learn About Taxes

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A new trend is circulating on the internet, where parents in the US film their teenagers’ reactions to filing taxes for the first time. The US education system does not require schools to educate students on taxes, despite it being fundamental knowledge for sound financial health.

In 2022, teens with both earned and unearned income were required by law to file a tax return if their combined gross income was greater than $1,150, or more than their earned income (up to $12,550) plus $400. Additionally, if a teen earned $12,950 or more at their part-time job in 2022, they would need to file taxes in 2023. The standard deduction for 2022 was $12,950, so as long as a teen didn’t earn more than that amount, they wouldn’t have to file taxes. Basically, anyone who worked a part-time job was forced to give a portion to Uncle Sam.

Those advocating extreme spikes in the minimum wage do not realize that teenagers will be unable to pay. Moreover, employers will not be able to hire teens and young adults as they know they are there temporarily. These kids do not understand the system, and from a broader perspective, we need a future workforce with hands-on knowledge. Why is the government taxing teenagers who are too young to vote for representation? Why is the Biden Administration hell-bent on forgiving student loans when we are forcing teens to pay on the little that they earn? Everyone wants to talk about “equality,” but few realize that some cannot obtain higher education without a job. Not all parents are willing or able to support their children when they reach 18.

As a result, the youth is not joining the workforce. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a further decline in the teen labor force participation rate, from 34.0% in 2014 to 26.4% in 2024, citing increased school enrollment as a contributing factor. They are encouraged by the system to focus on school and take out larger loans to pay for their expenses. They do not realize that most will be unable to find work in their field of study, nor are they educated about compounding interest on loans.

In 2023, the number of employed 16- to 19-year-olds in the US was approximately 6 million, which is expected to decline. Fewer teens are working and gaining crucial hands-on experience in the workforce. We are producing a future generation of academics who simply do not know how to work.