Can I conceal my earnings from my parents at age 18?

October 25, 2002

Subject:  tax question
Date:  Mon, 16 Sep 2002
From:  Sanjay

Hello, my name is Sanjay. I have a tax question. I am currently 18 years old, just started college, and I earned a little over a thousand dollars working on the college campus over this summer. I am currently a dependent student, where my parents pay for my college tuition and other needs. My parents do not know about my summer job, and I want to keep the money I earned to myself, which means keeping it discrete. Since I am 18 years of age now, I want to open up a bank account and bank my money without notifying my parents.

What I wanted to know was can I do all of this, that is bank my thousand dollars in the bank discretely without notifying my parents and not break the law? Can I discretely bank the money I earned without having to notify my parents for tax purposes, since I'm a dependent student? Is there a certain dollar amount that I can bank/save in the bank under my own name and not have to notify my parents so they can report it? I was told by a friend that I can have/bank up to $3,000 on my own, and still keep it discrete and not have to tell my parents. Is that true? Or do I still need to tell them for tax reasons?

Please let me know everything you can on this mattrer. I just want to save some money on my own for my own spending purposes without having my parents involved, but I want to stay within the laws and not get into any trouble with the IRS over taxes. Please let me know as soon as possible.

Thank, Sanjay

Answer

Date:  Wed, 16 Oct 2002

Hello Sanjay,

It may depend on which state you live in. In California, you are an adult at age 18 and don't have to tell your parents about your finances. If you are living at home, the bank will probably send you statements to your residence and your parents can find out about it. You could open a post office box to keep your mail confidential.

If you have to be this secretive about your finances with your parents, you have a problem for which you should seek counseling.

Good luck!
Mike Gray

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