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A Taxing Conversation with Your Kids

Taxes can be a challenging concept for adults, let alone kids, but teaching your children about why we pay taxes is a good move. They will one day have to pay them, so having an understanding early on can get them prepared. Let’s break it down.

Be General. Explain to your kids in simple terms what taxes are. A basic definition like, taxes are money that we pay to the government so that the government can pay for things everybody in our town, our state, and our country use.

Use Examples. There are many ways to show a child where our taxes go that will help them comprehend the concept. When you’re at a town or state park, for instance, you can point out that tax money helps take care of that park and thus allows you to have a nicer experience there. Walking on a sidewalk or attending public school are two more things that taxes are used for that kids can easily relate to.

April 15. Getting into how we pay taxes and all the forms required may be too much information for kids under 13. A more valuable discussion could be based around the idea that when they work, there will be taxes taken out of their paychecks. To really illustrate this, talk to your child about taking a percentage out of their allowance that you will use to do something for the entire family. This could include helping to pay a utility bill, or professional service your family uses for the upkeep of your home, like a lawn service, or house cleaner, it just has to be something the whole family will benefit from.

Teaching your children about taxes can prepare them for having a job and budgeting later in life. It can also help them to have a more positive outlook on the reasons we pay taxes and the experiences (clean parks), and amenities (sidewalks) they provide us.