There will come a time when your kids ask you how babies are made, why the sky is blue, and why they have to come home by curfew. One thing your kids probably won’t ask is about taxes — or at least not until it’s too late. It’s important to teach your kids about taxes early so they can be well prepared to file their returns and to create an efficient tax strategy. Not sure where to begin? Start with these 5 things every child should know about taxes.
Where Taxes Go
Taxes are a strange topic for children to understand because they can’t see where the money goes. All they see is how much money is being deducted on their sales receipts or pay stubs, so they often struggle to understand the purpose of taxation. To best explain it, discuss the places and services where taxes are used for, such as for maintenance and upkeep of local parks, playgrounds, hospitals, roads, bridges, and schools. This will help them understand why taxes are essential and what they are used for without getting too technical.
The Different Types of Taxes
Children also struggle to grasp the different types of taxes that need to be paid. To help them become more familiar with the tax process, we recommend providing examples of all the various types of Canadian taxes, like the federal, provincial, and municipal government taxes on your income statement, the sales tax on a receipt, property tax on your assessment, and the tax to move goods across the border if you’ve ordered anything overseas. That way they can see exactly how tax is deducted and get a better sense of what to expect as they grow older and need to manage their taxes on their own.
The Impact on Earnings
It’s also a good idea to teach your kids about how taxes will impact their take-home pay before they receive their first pay stub. This will help prevent them from being caught off guard once they get their first paycheque and notice that it’s less than their hourly rate. Also, show them how to calculate all the deductions, so they know how to inspect their pay stubs in case of accounting errors.
All About Refunds, Payments, and Returns
When you’re working on filing taxes for your teenager, it’s also a great time to teach them about the process. Show your kids how to fill out the income tax return by using their paycheques and income report so they can get a clear view into the filing requirements. In addition, explain what happens if they underpay/overpay and what kind of tax breaks/penalties they could encounter.
Explaining taxes to your child is the easy part. Understanding all the tax implications when your child is a dependent, or when the Kiddie Tax applies, and what family tax breaks are available, can often be very confusing. Fortunately, with smart tax planning and a tax optimization strategy, you can increase your personal wealth and keep more money in your pocket. When you’re ready to improve your tax management strategy, contact us at The Beacon Group of Assante Financial Management Ltd. We know the ins and outs and how they can be applied to minimize the effects of taxation for you and your family.