Taxes for Temps

taxIt’s ski season, and a lot of people end up being seasonal or temporary employees during this time of year. I have several friends and acquaintances that work at the local ski resort. They sell snacks, teach classes, or run ski lifts. Summertime’s the same way; when I was growing up, I worked as an attendant at a pool. I sold snacks, cleaned toilets, and checked people in to the pool area. It wasn’t necessarily the best job, but hey, I got some cash in my pocket and in the bank!

It’s also tax season, and taxes as a seasonal or temporary employee can be very different depending on your circumstances. Some people who work for a period of time are considered seasonal employees; others are independent contractors. Both of these have different processes that they must go through while filing their taxes. This is important to know because you may have to calculate the taxes that are being taken out yourself.

Some jobs are classified as temporary jobs so that employers do not have to pay benefits. One of the most popular is waitressing.  Did you know that your tips are part of your taxable income? Because of this, it’s important to keep track of them. Larger companies and chains usually have some sort of system; mom-and-pop restaurants may not. If so, take the time every day to fill out some sort of ledger or spreadsheet to keep track of the tips you make.

There’s another thing that a lot of people may not realize when they work a temporary job: You may not have to file taxes. If you’re an independent contractor that makes less than $400, you don’t have to file. If you are actually employed and receive a W2, you are not required to file until you make at least $8,750. But, honestly, you should file, because you will probably get every penny of your federal taxes back. Throughout high school and college, this was the case for me. I did usually have to pay into my state taxes, but I almost always got all that I paid in back into my pocket during tax time.

Unfortunately, by doing this, I was giving the government an interest-free loan for a few hundred dollars. Had I filed differently, I would have gotten more of my money into my pocket throughout the whole year and not given the government that loan. No matter what kind of employee you are, temporary or full-time, make sure that you are filing correctly on your forms so that the government isn’t getting hundreds or even thousands of dollars from you as a loan for no good reason. That’s what bonds are for.

So, enjoy your temporary employment, whether you’re stocking shelves, taking on the slopes, or selling snacks at the snack bar. And don’t stress too much about those taxes; if you really need help, always consider going to a tax professional or company that can assist you. Have a great week, and we’ll see you here next week!

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