Tax season is in full effect! And while it’s usually a daunting time for adults, it’s a great opportunity to introduce your students to the civic duty of paying taxes. As Tax Day approaches, here are six resources to help them gain a better understanding of taxes, how they work and why they exist.

1. | Explaining Taxes to Kids Lesson Plan

With this lesson plan, you can teach students about the concept of taxes - including sales tax, state income tax, and property tax - without confusing them with complex codes and regulations. Designed for students in grades 5-9, the goals of the activity is to explain:

  • What taxes are, who pays taxes and why we pay them
  • General concept of taxes, why they exist, and how they work
  • Different types of taxes
  • Goods and services that are paid with taxes
  • Basic process of collecting taxes

There are additional materials included with this resource, like this Sales Tax Activity and Property Tax Activity, to help students better understand taxes and how they work. 

2. Scholastic | Teaching Financial Responsibility for Tax Day

For Tax Day, Scholastic is taking it as an opportunity to teach students about financial responsibility. The resource provides an overview of taxes as well as activities and lessons that reinforce the importance of money management. The lesson plans, which are divided by grade levels, cover topics such as economics (play money, banks, credit and entrepreneurship), budgeting and saving. The printables activities include a tax vocabulary word search, a challenging crossword puzzle and the Bargain Hunter worksheet. This resource provides everything you need to deliver an engaging and comprehensive lesson for Tax Day.

3. IRS | Understanding Taxes for Teachers

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the perfect resource for helping students understand taxes. It discusses the “hows” of taxes - such as payroll taxes, federal income tax withholding and exemptions - and the “whys” of taxes - like the taxpayer’s role, taxes in U.S. history and the impact of taxes. Most of the lessons include a teacher lesson plan, fact/info sheet, worksheets and assessment. With this vast resource, you can teach students about taxes the entire month of April. 

4. BrainPOP | Taxes

Featuring notable characters Tim and Moby, this BrainPOP movie explains taxes and why they exist. Students will discover what their family’s tax dollars pay for - such as highways, schools and parks - plus learn the difference between federal, state and local taxes. Throughout the movie, they’ll also hear terms like “Internal Revenue Service,” “sales tax” and “income tax,” and learn what they mean.

Along with a complete lesson on taxes, this resource provides a quiz, challenge, related reading materials and other activities to deepen students’ understanding. A subscription is required to access this content, but the lessons learned are invaluable.

5. Ducksters | U.S. Government Taxes

Government taxes are here to stay, as they are used to pay for a number of government jobs and services. This resource covers why we need government taxes and the different types, like income taxes, property taxes, sales tax, social security tax and Medicare tax. After reviewing this information with students, you can even test their knowledge with a 10-question quiz!

6. Finance in the Classroom | Completing Tax Forms

Want to give your students hands-on practice filling out a tax form? With this resource, students can complete an actual tax form based on two simulations. While this is a 2014 Utah State Tax Form, they can still receive a real-life example of what it’s like to file a tax return.


Do you have any lessons or activities planned for Tax Day? Share them with us in the comments below!