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Learning about income taxes will help teens for life L
detective,” has a program just ast year saw a major for her. development in the life She believes that students of 15-year-old Amanda. should become tax-literate For the first time in her at school, and her website life she was earning money. (www.taxdetective.ca) has She got a job at a local resinformation for teachers who taurant. Having the extra are interested in spending money looking at ways to was fabulous, and teach tax to the she also started students in their to save some of classes. She also her income to put has a program toward her postjust for students secondary educalike Amanda. tion. Her product is Up until now, Modern Parenting a student workthis has all been book on how to pretty straightKathy Lynn do Canadian tax forward. She went using TurboTax in for an interview Online. TurboTax Online is at the restaurant and was online software that is certihired. She learned how to do fied by the Canada Revenue her job, figured out how to Agency (CRA). There is also organize her time to accoma downloadable version of modate school, friends, famTurboTax that you can install ily and work shifts. And she on a computer. Online means experienced earning her own money to spend as she wished. the data is stored in the “cloud” and is accessible via But now a new reality has the Internet from any comhit. She needs to consider puter. This is what makes it taxes. It’s unlikely that she such a great learning tool. has learned much about And it’s why her workbook income tax at school. shows teachers, parents and According to Eileen kids how to use it anonymReppenhagen, CGA, what ously to learn, using case is covered in school is usustudies. ally really, really basic. It’s Reppenhagen’s online proincluded in math 10 and 11 gram includes information applications, business educasuch as sample tax returns. tion 11 and 12, accounting Students can access TurboTax courses, civic studies 11 and Online for free, anonymously. math essentials 10 to 12. They can use it in a computer Topics include basic payroll, and preparing a basic T4 and a lab at school, or save their work to finish at home or at basic T1. It’s not enough, and a library. her parents may also not be Stories are a wonderful knowledgeable about her tax way to learn anything. Tax situation. So where can Amanda go to is no different. To see what happens if and how the tax learn about paying her taxes? payable or refundable changes Reppenhagen, an accountant as a result, use the student who is also known as the “tax
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how much income they could expect from various occupations, and how much after-tax income would result, students might make very different life choices. After I spoke to Reppenhagen, I wondered how young people are doing tax-wise in the next stage of their life. Patricia Lalonde, a money mentor who runs workshops (www.moneymentors. biz) focused on demystifying financial rhetoric, says, “Young people go to school to learn how to earn. Who teaches them how to manage the money they earn?” Her workshops teach fundamentals of tax rules, saving and investing now. The point is that without some knowledge about income taxes, our young people are missing out on basic information they will need for their entire working life.
If a teen is old enough to have a job, he or she is old enough to learn about taxes. workbook she’s created for high school students. It’s possible to create up to 20 free samples when you’re using TurboTax Online for free. There are five case studies to get you started. All you need is a computer with an Internet connection and some imagination or a tax story to work on. The point is, of course, that
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learning it. With this lack of knowledge they could be leaving money (deductions) on the table. Learning about taxes also gives students a different way to consider life choices. If, for example, a student knew
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tax literacy is essential for everyone and yet we basically ignore it until we simply have to file a return. On her website, Reppenhagen points out that tax is an essential life skill and yet our students just aren’t
• Tri-Cities resident Kathy Lynn is a parenting expert who is a professional speaker and author of Who’s In Charge Anyway? and But Nobody Told Me I’d Ever Have to Leave Home. If you want to read more, sign up for her informational newsletter at www.parentingtoday. ca.
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