School's out, but the IRS has another lesson for students who will be starting summer jobs. Summer jobs represent an opportunity for students to learn about the tax system.

Not all of the money they earn will be included in their paychecks because their employer must withhold taxes.

Here are six things the IRS wants students to be aware of when they start a summer job.

  1. When you first start a new job you must fill out a Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate. This form is used by employers to determine the amount of tax that will be withheld from your paycheck. If you have multiple summer jobs, make sure all your employers are withholding an adequate amount of taxes to cover your total income tax liability.
  2. Whether you are working as a waiter or a camp counselor, you may receive tips as part of your summer income. All tips you receive are taxable income and are therefore subject to federal income tax.
  3. Many students do odd jobs over the summer to make extra cash. Earnings you receive from self-employment - including jobs like baby-sitting and lawn mowing - are subject to income tax.
  4. Even if you do not earn enough money to owe income tax, you will probably have to pay employment taxes. Your employer will withhold these taxes from your paycheck. If you earn $400 or more from self-employment, you will have to pay self-employment tax. This pays for benefits under the Social Security system that are available for self-employed individuals the same as they are for employees that have taxes withheld from their wages. The self-employment tax is figured on Form 1040, Schedule SE, Self-Employment Tax.
  5. Food and lodging allowances paid to ROTC students in advanced training are not taxable. However, active duty pay - such as pay received during summer camp - is taxable.
  6. Special rules apply to services you perform as a newspaper carrier or distributor. You are treated as self-employed for federal tax purposes regardless of your age if you meet the following conditions:
    • You are in the business of delivering newspapers.
    • All your pay for these services directly relates to sales rather than to the number of hours worked.
    • You perform the delivery services under a written contract which states that you will not be treated as an employee for federal tax purposes.

    If you do not meet these conditions and you are under age 18, then you are generally exempt from Social Security and Medicare tax.

More information about income tax withholding and employment taxes can be found at, the official IRS website.

TaxACT helps you determine how much you should withhold and complete a Form W-4 you can print and turn into your employer. Simply sign in to your TaxACT Online account or start your desktop program and click on the blue "Next Year" tab.


  • Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate (PDF)
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Upcoming Tax Dates

October 10 — Everyone
Federal Holiday (Columbus Day) - Details

October 11 — Employees who work for tips
If you received $20 or more in tips during September, report them to your employer - Details

October 13 — Communications and air transportation taxes under the alternative method (special September deposit rule).
Deposit the tax included in amounts billed or tickets sold during the period beginning September 12 and ending September 15.

October 14 — Regular method taxes (special September deposit rule).
Deposit the tax for the last 4 days of September.

October 17 — Individuals
If you have an automatic 6-month extension to file your income tax return for 2015, file Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ and pay any tax, interest, and penalties due - Details

October 17 — Partnerships
Electing large partnerships: File a 2015 calendar year return (Form 1065-B). This due date applies only if you were given an additional 6-month extension - Details

October 17 — Social security, Medicare, and withheld income tax
If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in September.

October 17 — Nonpayroll withholding
If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in September.

October 26 — Communications and air transportation taxes under the alternative method.
Deposit the tax included in amounts billed or tickets sold during the last 15 days of September.

October 28 — Regular method taxes
Deposit the tax for the first 15 days in October.

October 31 — Certain small employers
Deposit any undeposited tax if your tax liability is $2,500 or more for 2016 but less than $2,500 for the third quarter.

October 31 — Federal unemployment tax
Deposit the tax owed through September if more than $500.

October 31 — Form 720 taxes.
File Form 720 for the third quarter of 2016.

October 31 — Wagering tax
File Form 730 and pay the tax on wagers accepted during September.

October 31 — Heavy highway vehicle tax
File Form 2290 and pay the tax for vehicles first used in September.

View More Tax Dates