WEST TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – It’s that time of year again: tax season. It’s a time many adults tend to stress over filing their taxes but some Wabash Valley teenagers are learning how to overcome that dreadful feeling with a little practice.
Mike Richards is a Business Education teacher at West Vigo High School. He knows a thing or two about taxes. Richards worked for a tax service company before pursuing a career in education. Now he's teaching his students how to file their own tax forms.
Students use a fake W-2 to fill out a 1040 form and find out how much money they will be refunded or how much they'll have to pay.
Richards says, "A lot of them have said we need to know real-world things like personal finance so I figured this was just the perfect opportunity to implement something like that."
Many of his students are getting their first W-2s this year after working their first jobs. That’s another reason Richards says now is the perfect time to offer his students this real-world experience.
"They're just really surprised by how much tax is really taken out of their paychecks."
Sophomore Sadie Herring says she's already learned so much about income tax, different types of deductions and exemptions.
Herring says, "I did not realize how many things that we are taxed on, like how broad it is."
Students are learning how to file as a single adult and how to file jointly as a married couple. They're also discovering how much money they can save by doing their own taxes.
Richards says, "If they're going to pay about $150 or more to get their taxes done and they're just getting a refund for only $200 then they're not really saving money."
Herring says, "It's definitely made me more open to doing my own taxes, not paying someone to do it, especially seeing how much you can save by doing that."
While taxes may be a less than pleasant part of life, students like Herring say they feel better knowing they're equipped to handle it.
"It definitely is a lot less stressful for students to at least get a general idea of what they're going to be thrown in to.
This is also an important lesson for these teens if they plan on going to college. They'll need a lot of the same information to file for financial aid.