Finance Blog

Filing Taxes: Paperwork to Expect When Starting Your First Job

Written by Eva Rosenberg on January 7, 2013 in Tax  |   No comments

I recently received this question from a reader: “I’m 17 and I’m going to be getting my first job. What kind of tax forms do I need? Do I claim myself as a dependent?” A first job is pretty exciting. You start out feeling a…

filing-taxes-paperworkI recently received this question from a reader: “I’m 17 and I’m going to be getting my first job. What kind of tax forms do I need? Do I claim myself as a dependent?”

A first job is pretty exciting. You start out feeling a little bit hesitant because you’re not entirely sure what to expect, but you know you’re going to put so much energy, enthusiasm, and joy into your work that you think you’ll do the job better than anyone else ever did it before. And you know what? You probably will.

So, what kind of paperwork will you face on your first job?

1) The Form W-4. This tells your employer how much federal and state tax to withhold from your paycheck. Generally, if you’re working full-time and still live at home, the best way to fill this in is to claim S-0. That means that in box 3 you will select SINGLE, and in box 5 you will write the number zero.

2) The I-9. This is to prove you have a legal right to work in this country. Be sure to bring your Social Security card and your driver’s license—your new employer will want to make photocopies. If you don’t have a driver’s license, bring your most recent school ID card, as long as it has a current photo and a description of you.

3) The benefits package. Take this home and discuss it with your parents, as it contains exciting (and possibly mysterious) information.

  • There may be information in the package about a flexible spending plan. This plan will allow you to set aside money to pay for medical costs you know you will be incurring, such as contact lenses, braces, medication, weight loss programs, or physical therapy. When you know you are going to have to spend the money anyway, these plans allow you to receive part of your wages tax-free to cover the costs.
  • This could be your opportunity to start putting away a little money toward retirement. You think that’s too far away to worry about? It might feel like forever—and who cares? You will at retirement.

At the end of the year, you’ll be filing taxes. Should you claim yourself as a dependent on your first Form 1040? If you’re 17, still living with your folks, and not a full-time student—no. If you’re 18 or older and paying your own way—yes, you should.

If you’re working your first job, it might also be a good time to check your credit report. Click here for more information about your Equifax Credit Report. 

Just one bit of advice for your new job: Separate yourself from your cell phone and texts while you’re working. All those friends (real and virtual) can wait until you take breaks or sign out for the day.

Eva Rosenberg, EA is the publisher of TaxMama.com , where your tax questions are answered. Eva is the author of several books and ebooks, including the new edition of Small Business Taxes Made Easy. Eva teaches a tax pro course at IRSExams.com and tax courses you might enjoy at http://www.cpelink.com/teamtaxmama.

No comments yet

Leave a Comment

Name :

Commenting guidelines

We welcome your interest and participation on this forum, but be aware that comments will be published at Equifax's sole discretion. Please don't use this blog to submit questions or concerns about your Equifax credit report or raise customer service issues. Instead, you should contact Equifax directly for all such matters and any attempts to do so in this forum will be promptly re-directed.

Some other factors to consider when commenting:
  1. Registration and privacy. While no registration is required to visit our forum, participants wishing to post a message must register by creating an account. All personal information provided by forum members incident to registration is governed by our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.
  2. All comments are anonymous. We'll delete your name, e-mail address, and any other identifying information, including details about your investments.
  3. We can't post or respond to every comment - As much as we'd like to, we can't post every comment, nor can we guarantee that we will respond to each individual message. All questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or similar customer service issues should be handled by contacting Equifax directly.
  4. Don't offer specific legal, tax or financial advice. All of the materials on this Site are for information, education, and noncommercial purposes only and this forum is not intended as a means of expressing views or ideas regarding any specific legal, tax, or investment advice. While offering general rules of thumb is both permitted and encouraged, recommending specific ideas or strategies regarding investments, taxes, and related matters is prohibited.
  5. Credit Repair. This blog is not intended as a venue for the discussion or exchange of ideas regarding credit repair or other strategies intended to assist visitors and community members improve or otherwise modify their credit histories, ratings or scores.
  6. Stay on topic. Your comment should be concise and pertain to the specific post in question.
  7. Be respectful of the community. The use of profanity, offensive language, spam, and personal attacks will not be tolerated and egregious or repeat offenders will be banned from future participation. We encourage disagreement and healthy debate, but please refrain from personal attacks on our WordPresss and contributors.
  8. Finally: Participation in this forum may be terminated by Equifax immediately and without notice for failure to comply with any guidelines or Terms of Use. As such, you should familiarize yourself with all pertinent requirements prior to submitting any response through the blog or otherwise. All opinions expressed in this forum are solely those of the individual submitting the comment, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.

Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.

Tax Archive

Stay Informed Sign up for our FREE Equifax email Newsletter