I am still living with my parents and don't pay my own taxes so I don't have any tax information. I can't earn anything for the writing I do unless I join the earnings program. Should I use my parents' tax information, or something else?
I don't recall what it is asked when you sign up for the earnings program. I believe the social security number must be one of the things. Other than that, I'm not sure if they ask anything other than you address (that type of thing). You can use your social security number (if you're in the US) to sign up, and then, depending on how much you make on here, in the one tax year; you can see whether you would be required to fill out your own tax return (for the state and for the Federal government).
When parent "claim" a son or daughter as a dependent on their returns, the son or daughter can't claim him/herself; so the way to deal with that is to report the income (if it meets the amount required for state and/or Federal taxes) but not claim yourself.
Check the most recent line for earning when it comes to being required to fill out a state and/or Federal return. The last time I checked it was 400 a year for state and 600 a year for Federal. You would fill out the "main" part of the return(s) and then you could fill out the self-employment form with it. You could check on the IRS site (or ask your parents to ask their accountant if they have one) whether you could just file what you earn from here as "other income" on the "main" return (rather than fill out a self-employment form). (I fill out the self-employment form because I earn in other places too, so I'm not sure if it would be OK just to list HP income as "other income" on a return or not.
Maybe someone else on here knows that. Either way, you can (and I think should) use your own social security number. If this would be your only source of income filing a return in your own name wouldn't at all be a big deal. Your parents can still do whatever they're doing now (assuming this would be your only income). If you have other income, and someone fills out a separate return for you (some parents do their kids' returns or have them done), you'd just add the income from here next year when tax time comes around.
HP and Google both send a form that tells you how much you've made in the previous tax year.
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