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Helping Your Child Find a Job

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To make a résumé using a template in Word, simply answer the questions posed by the Résumé Wizard found under “Other Documents”—first select New from the File menu.

For more professional-looking, custom-tailored résumés, consider investing in a résumé software program, such as Résumés That Work (contact Macmillan at www.macdigital.com).

After your child is hired, she'll be asked by her employer to complete Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate. This is an IRS form that tells her employer how much federal (and state) income taxes to withhold (subtract) from her paycheck and submit to the government on her behalf. For example, if she earns $100, she may have $15 withheld for federal income taxes. The $15 is sent to the U.S. Treasury under her Social Security number and is treated as her tax payment. She must complete it, and she doesn't want to appear ignorant about the form when she's hired. It's up to you to explain things beforehand.

Piggybank on It

Be sure that your child updates her résumé after each new job, school award, or other accomplishment worth noting.

Money ABCs

Liability means that your child owes something. When talking about federal income taxes, then liability refers to taxes he owes.

Generally, your child tells the employer how many withholding allowances he wants to claim (none, one, two, or more) and then the employer does the rest. In most cases, he'll claim one allowance (for himself). This lets the employer figure withholding on the basis of his being single and claiming one allowance. He may be eligible to claim exemption from withholding so that no taxes are withheld. To claim exemption, he must meet both of these conditions:

  • He had no federal tax liability in the prior year (even if he paid taxes, he received a full refund of his payments).
  • He doesn't expect to have any federal tax liability this year. If in 1999 he earns no more than $4,300, he won't have any federal tax liability. If he's not sure whether he's going to be under or over this limit, he may want to forgo the exemption and pay the tax to make sure he has the funds to cover his liability. He can always get back any excess payments when his 1999 tax return is filed in 2000.

Your child cannot claim exemption from withholding if his income is more than $700 and includes interest, dividends, or other unearned income and if he can be claimed as your dependent on your tax return. If any investments have been made on his behalf, he may well have bank accounts paying interest, or stock or mutual funds paying dividends to him that will prevent his claiming exemption from withholding.

He may not know that his grandmother has a savings account for him or that you've set up a custodial account in his name to save for college. These investments may generate enough income to prevent him from claiming exemption withholding. When you know he's job-hunting, be sure to review the W-4 process and explain how many withholding allowances he should claim, or whether he's eligible for exemption from withholding. When my oldest child got her first job, she asked with some embarrassment to bring the W-4 home for me to look at. You can bet that my other kids knew what to do with this form when they got their first jobs.

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Money-Smart Kids © 1999 by Barbara Weltman. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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