While out shopping, I met two teenage boys who were discussing doing their taxes while stocking shelves. I walked up right when they were talking about it, and the first boy was suggesting that the second boy use the same tax person his family used. The first boy mentioned how this person would do his taxes for him. The second boy was wanting to do his taxes on his own for the first time to really benefit from them, and that he had no idea what to do with them.
I told both of these boys that as long as they didn’t have major assets, which most teenagers don’t, they could easily do their taxes by themselves using Turbo Tax or HR Block. I explained that we only have to do federal income tax, which is free through most online tax providers. I even told them that HR Block will even walk you through it in person for free, as I had done that in college when I had trouble understanding why my tax refund went down as I added more employment.
These boys could not be far out of high school, if out at all. Why are we not teaching students basic financial literacy? As employees of a retail business likely only making minimum wage or slightly above it, they are in the enormous portion of our society that would not want to spend what little bit of their tax refund they get on someone else preparing it for them, especially when they can do it for free. This could be a single day activity for students between February and April 15th, when they would have access to their W2 forms, and could even be done in a computer lab so students could file their taxes right there together.
In our ever-changing and ever-progressing society, technology is a must. Our students should not be facing the realities of the world without proper preparation from their schools. Let us defend our students’ rights by preparing them to be functioning adults.