Oh, the carefree days of college, I mean three months of summer--am I right?  The thirties have their upside too: career, marriage, kids, property or some combo of that. One thing we all have in common, though as we cruise into our 30’s; we’re captain of our own ship. We’ve moved from dependent to independent.  When tax time comes we may get a little wistful about the ease we once had filing taxes in college with the good ol’ 1040EZ: click, click, done.  At least we get to claim a bunch of credits now. One thing that will never go out of style, everyone, eighteen to 103, will be checking their email every 10 seconds ‘til the money comes in!  Tax refund!!

A few differences between filing taxes in college and filing taxes now:


1. Dependents

College:

For most of us, Mom and Dad paid the bills and did the laundry.

You were dependent and they could claim you as one on their taxes.


In Your 30s:

You are an adult now and responsible for your own bills and laundry. You are independent.

You can claim any dependents you may now have when you file your taxes.



2.  Student Loans

College:

You build up student loans. 


In Your 30s:

You pay down student loans. You can claim a Student loan interest deduction.

This is an income adjustment deduction so you do not need to itemize.



3. Income

College:

You worked weekends and summers.

You probably made minimum wage or close to it. Your lack of hours most likely put you in the lowest tax bracket.


In Your 30s:

You now work weekends, summer, weeknight, weekdays, you set your alarm to get extra hours in the middle of the night…

You got that degree and the job and salary too. Your income is significantly more and places you in a higher bracket.


4. Filing

College:

Your taxes were simple to file. You most likely took the standard deduction with 1040EZ  and did not itemize.


In Your 30s:

You may have one or more deductible expenses that would make itemizing yield a bigger return than the standard deduction.

You use form 1040 with schedule A to file your taxes.


5. Filing Status

College:

You were single.


In Your 30s:

You’re single or married, a single parent or a divorced co-parent, a married parent (of 1,2,3...8?), a step-parent, a widow, a widowed parent.. there are a lot of things you may be and may influence your number of dependents.

Publication 504 will help you figure out your filing status.


6. Employment Status

College:

You worked for someone else.


In Your 30s:

You may:

●      Work for yourself.

●      Work for someone else.

Work for yourself and employ others: you’re advised to use a tax advisor to file your taxes.


7. Housing

College:

You lived in a dorm or rented during the school year.


In Your 30s:

You may own your own home, or multiple properties.

●      To claim homeowners tax deductions you must itemize your deductions.

●      Homeowners can deduct real estate taxes, home mortgage interest and mortgage insurance premiums.

Rental Properties generate income that must be claimed, however there are several expenses that can be deducted.  


Circumstances certainly can change in a span of ten years. Life gets more complicated, but the rewards are great. From time-to-time your confidence may waver as the tides of life shift, but you can always rely on the security and guarantees from DIY Tax to take care of your tax filing worries, year-after-year.