Ah, youth. The excitement. The energy. The illusion of immortality.
The first-ever filing of a tax return.
Taxes often are the first indication of young adulthood. And apparently it's a grown-up responsibility that many millennials are turning over to other grownups, specifically their parents.
Real mom-and-pop tax help: More than a third (37 percent) of millennials relies on their parents at least in part for tax help, according to a new study released by TaxAct.
The survey, conducted by ORC International earlier this year on behalf of the tax software company, also found that young men are more likely to rely on parents for tax help than their female counterparts.
Forty-four percent of male millennials said they've turned to their parents for tax assistance, substantially more than the 31 percent of young adult women who got tax help from mom and dad.
Trust was a big factor in turning to the 'rents for tax help. The TaxAct survey found that 41 percent of millennials don't believe that do-it-yourself tax software always acts in the taxpayer's best interest.
Trust troubles: Part of that distrust likely was colored by the quarter+ of millennials (27 percent) who reported feeling lured into a tax-filing solution, only to be charged later for specific features and services.
Sanjay Baskaran, president of TaxAct, denounced such bait-and-switch tactics and encouraged all filers to shop carefully for a tax prep package.
"While it's a natural instinct to trust parents or DIY tax software providers on tax-related issues, Americans of all ages would be better served to do careful homework about preparing their own taxes online before choosing a provider," he said in a statement accompanying release of the TaxAct survey results.
Older filers, however, have more confidence in the computer-based tax preparation help. Their responses helped pull the overall number of filers who feel that DIY tax software companies act in taxpayers' best interest up to 59 percent overall.
Consider free filing options: I suspect finances also are a factor in seeking tax guidance from parents. The literal mom-and-pop tax advice is free.
And while Free File is still available to folks who this year make $64,000 or less, as well as some free online options from assorted tax preparation software manufacturers, if you buy software it will cost you.
Plus, if you're just now buying your tax software, less than a month from the April 18 filing due date, it'll probably cost you more.
That's a fact that escaped not just millennials, but all the taxpayers surveyed by ORC International earlier this year on behalf of TaxAct.
Two-thirds of survey respondents said they didn't realize that tax filing software programs raise their prices throughout tax season.
Note to self for filing season 2018, that's yet another reason to file early.
Wait dear blog readers who are tax filing veterans, don't go. Several of these six newbie filing hints can be used by us, too!
Have you filed your taxes yet? Did you use tax preparation software?
Or do you, regardless of age, depend on free help from a family member at tax time?
You also might find these items of interest:
- 12 often overlooked tax breaks
- Picking the proper tax-filing status
- Tax to-do list for young professionals