How to Explain Taxes to Kids

Written by janetb
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How to Explain Taxes to Kids
Kids can start to learn about taxes before they start to pay them. (tax forms image by Chad McDermott from

It may seem as if kids are unaffected by taxes, but between hearing their parents groan around income tax time and paying their own sales taxes, they need to understand a little about what taxes actually are.

Income Tax

Children can understand at an early age what services the government provides. You can explain that most people in the country pay taxes so the government can pay for these services.

Sales Tax

Every child who has bought something with his own money has run into the concept of sales tax when his purchase unexpectedly cost more than he planned for. Kids can understand that states and cities charge taxes on almost everything that's bought so they can provide their own services.

Property Tax

If a child lives in a house that his parents own, he can understand that every year his parents pay taxes to the local government based on the value of that house. If the child lives in rented property, explain that the property taxes still get paid, but they're included in the monthly rent.

Your Child's First Paycheck

Your child may be surprised when his first paycheck has taxes deducted from it. By the time he's old enough to earn a wage, he should be able to understand that the government withholds some of his money to make sure he pays all the taxes he owes before they're due.

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