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Should you review college age taxpayer's return with Mom without college student?

Hello everyone, 

I reached out a week or so about a client who didn't qualify (as near as I could tell) for the AOC as her scholarship covered all of her qualified expenses and created income besides. The college student also hustled and made an additional 25k on top of the 2100 additional income from the scholarship. 

I've explained to her why she now owes $364 to the federal government between not getting the AOC, as well as two employers who withheld zero or nothing for federal withholdings. 

Now her Mother wants to come in to pick up her taxes to review them. 

Of course, it is a small town, and everyone knows everyone, but any professional advice on how to handle that is appreciated. The college student daughter is on-board, but I feel like she should be here too, so that the return could be reviewed together. And no, she can't take the taxes out of the office to review them. 

Always appreciate the insight of the community! 

Dawn 

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1 Solution

Accepted Solutions
Accountant-Man
Level 12

I think everyone has to give up the issue about not getting the AOC. She didn't get it because  ...

SHE DIDN'T SPEND ANY MONEY.

Also, if she earned $25,000 yet the employers withheld little or no taxes, how come she only owes $364?

** I'm still a champion... of the world! Even without The Lounge.

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11 Comments 11
Just-Lisa-Now-
Level 15
Level 15

Mom can get the return copy from the taxpayer if the taxpayer wants her to review them.


♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥Lisa♥¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪

Agreed. Although now she doesn't want to file them until Mom reviews them because, I'm guessing, she owes instead of getting a refund. Maybe I'll just return all of the supporting documents and show her the lack of federal withholding and an article about the American Opportunity Credit for good measure.

she can't take the taxes out of the office to review them. 

How sad that you need that policy.  I'm very grateful that I trust my clients.  i'm lucky - prepared 1,500+ returns and only 3 didn't pay me.

Accountant-Man
Level 12

I think everyone has to give up the issue about not getting the AOC. She didn't get it because  ...

SHE DIDN'T SPEND ANY MONEY.

Also, if she earned $25,000 yet the employers withheld little or no taxes, how come she only owes $364?

** I'm still a champion... of the world! Even without The Lounge.

Thank you for the AOC comment. That is how I read the guidelines but was worried I was missing something. As far as why she doesn't owe more, in summary, she had 5 employers, approx 10k of income only had $200 of taxes withheld, approx 15k of income had $806 withheld.  If not for that $806, yes, she would have owed much more. 

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Typically, I do as well, and up to now have only had one client just not pay at the end. We'll see how today goes. 😉 

qbteachmt
Level 15

"she had 5 employers, approx 10k of income only had $200 of taxes withheld, approx 15k of income had $806 withheld.  If not for that $806, yes, she would have owed much more."

"she owes instead of getting a refund."

Here's your chance to help this young adult be informed.

Wanting a refund = I'm willing to overpay the government and let them have my money in advance to give it back to me later, as if I am a child who can't be trusted. This is not a Savings Bank. It's your own money.

Owing a little = dang, my withholding was just about right relative to the taxes I owe at the end of my year. My tax preparer and I are working well together as a team to best manage my financial resources.

Owing a lot = I didn't know I need to pay attention to how my year is going, so that I could either adjust for a great year or a poor year by changing the W4 or by making an estimate payment against what I likely will owe at the end of the year. Yes, sometimes life will yoyo.

(now to get off my high horse...)

*******************************
"Level Up" is a gaming function, not a real life function.

I wish I could like this TWICE!!! Yes, I will be the hero before it is all over. I really do hate the W-4 form, and online paystubs. But I will inform this young lady of what she needs to consider at the beginning of her next job, as well as how important it is to reassess occasionally. 😉 

Accountant-Man
Level 12

All those separate W2s couldn't have more tax withheld. Too little separate income.

Even w/o her own dependency, she gets about half her wages as std deduction, so her income tax is only at 10%.

Her total fed tax is about $1,200.

** I'm still a champion... of the world! Even without The Lounge.

You're a ROCK STAR!

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BobKamman
Level 15

Not three blind men trying to describe an elephant, but two people trying to describe tax withholding without knowing whether the jobs are being worked simultaneously or serially.  Getting back to the question asked:  Who is your client?  If Mom hired you to prepare the return, review it with her.  If daughter hired you to prepare the return, review it with her.  I prepare returns for people all the time who are not clients.  (Usually, they're disabled or incapacitated.)  The name on the return is not always the client.

If your client asks you to review the return with someone else, you may choose to do that. If your client asks you to review the return with both her and someone else, you may choose to do that also, but take that into consideration when setting your fee.  You aren't being paid just for filling out forms, you are being paid for answering questions about the result.  

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