For Teachers

Teaching by Topic: Taxes

Here are a bunch of tips, learning objectives, worksheets, and pre-built lesson plans to help you build your curriculum to teach students about taxes!

classroom-with-teacher-preparing-lesson-plan

Taxes are a central part of personal finance, and the more exposure you can give your students, the more prepared they’ll be. Educators can help students see the whole picture by keeping a focus on taxes – and their impact on personal finance.

You can find the materials you need to teach taxes, regardless of your students’ levels. Here are budgeting lessons, worksheets, activities and games, and some key tips. We also include spending learning objectives for each grade, which are pulled straight from the National Standards for Personal Finance Education.

National Standards for Personal Finance Education

Download Our Free Teachers' Cheat Sheet

Our free cheat sheet covers every learning objective in the National Standards for Personal Finance Education and the corresponding Kids' Money Lesson Plans - we cover each and every standard!

Pre-K

In pre-K, students work on basic arithmetic and money identification. While the learning objectives for taxes are for higher grades, teachers can build the money base students need. Some activities to help include:

For more resources on other topics, check out our Pre-K Money Lesson Plans Center.

Kindergarten

Your kindergarten students continue to work on money awareness and skip counting – the basis for understanding more advanced math that will come with taxes. In this grade, they can solidify their understanding of how money works and how to perform simple calculations. These are some activities to boost their money skills:

For more resources on other topics, check out our Kindergarten Money Lesson Plans Center.

1st Grade

Learning Objectives

1st-graders are ready to learn about the basics of taxes, particularly sales tax, and how they affect savings and spending. They should be able to:

  • Compare the costs and benefits of purchasing an item for people with different characteristics (e.g. age, income).

1st Grade Taxes Lesson Plans

  • KMLP 1st Grade – Spending: Students see that spending money requires careful decision-making and that they can find ways to lower costs with deals and coupons. Taxes can impact costs, but kids learn ways to reduce expenses.

1st Grade Taxes Worksheets

1st Grade Taxes Games and Activities

Tips for Teaching Taxes to 1st Graders

  • Use a classroom store to introduce sales tax.
  • Show kids that the price tag usually is not the final cost (add taxes).
  • Continue working on skip counting with coins.

For more resources on other topics, check out our 1st Grade Money Lesson Plans Center.

2nd Grade

Learning Objectives

2nd-grade students can use multiplication to work on money math, see how prices work, and learn to manage their money. They should be able to:

  • Prioritize future spending, taking resource limitations into account.

2nd Grade Taxes Lesson Plans

  • KMLP 2nd Grade – Price: Kids see how prices go up and down, what fair prices look like, and learn how to shop smartly at the store. They watch a video, read a book, and shop at the classroom store to see how taxes impact spending.

2nd Grade Taxes Worksheets

2nd Grade Taxes Games and Activities

Tips for Teaching Taxes to 2nd Graders

  • Multiplication is crucial to tax math, so the more practice, the better.
  • Perform simple tax problems with the kids every day.
  • Introduce the idea that are many types of taxes besides sales tax.

For more resources on other topics, check out our 2nd Grade Money Lesson Plans Center.

3rd Grade

Learning Objectives

3rd-graders learn about other types of taxes, like income tax, and why people pay them. They should be able to:

  • Describe examples of government-provided goods and services that are paid for with taxes.

3rd Grade Taxes Lesson Plans

3rd Grade Taxes Worksheets

3rd Grade Taxes Games and Activities

Tips for Teaching Taxes to 3rd Graders

  • Build multiplication skills and continue working with money.
  • Introduce decimal points and paper-pencil problems.
  • Use real money frequently.

For more resources on other topics, check out our 3rd Grade Money Lesson Plans Center.

4th Grade

Learning Objectives

In this grade, students look at the purpose of taxes and how individuals need to factor them into their financial picture. They should be able to:

  • Explain why citizens are required to contribute to the cost of fire protection, police, public libraries, and schools.

4th Grade Taxes Lesson Plans

  • KMLP 4th Grade – Earning Income: Students learn different ways to make an income through reading stories and role-play. They understand how taxes work and why people need to pay them for public benefits.

4th Grade Taxes Worksheets

4th Grade Taxes Games and Activities

Tips for Teaching Taxes to 4th Graders

  • Keep money math as real-life as possible.
  • Work on estimating, long division, and multiplication with tax examples.
  • Emphasize the pros and cons of taxes.

For more resources on other topics, check out our 4th Grade Money Lesson Plans Center.

5th Grade

Learning Objectives

5th-grade students have the math foundation to compute basic tax calculations, and learn how to determine tax affects personal finances. They should be able to:

  • Explain how taxes impact take-home pay.

5th Grade Taxes Lesson Plans

  • KMLP 5th Grade – Taxes: In this lesson, students learn all about taxes. They see the various types of taxes, understand how taxes affect pay, and complete a worksheet on sales tax.

5th Grade Taxes Worksheets

5th Grade Taxes Games and Activities

Tips for Teaching Taxes to 5th Graders

  • Try to come up with tax-related word problems.
  • Continue working on rounding and estimation to estimate total prices with tax quickly.
  • Have them look at incomes and determine how much tax is taken out each year.

For more resources on other topics, check out our 5th Grade Money Lesson Plans Center.

6th Grade

Learning Objectives

6th-graders look into how taxes benefit the population through government programs and public works. They should be able to:

  • Identify the different groups of people who qualify for Social Security benefits.

6th Grade Taxes Lesson Plans

  • KMLP 6th Grade – Standard of Living: This lesson breaks down what goes into the standard of living, including how taxes and government benefits affect the quality of life. They watch a video, look at PowerPoints, and analyze how taxes fund Social Security and what that means for society.

6th Grade Taxes Worksheets

6th Grade Taxes Games and Activities

Tips for Teaching Taxes to 6th Graders

  • Use a classroom economy.
  • Put students in groups to solidify learning and hear new viewpoints.
  • Link taxation to topics they learn about in History class.

For more resources on other topics, check out our 6th Grade Money Lesson Plans Center.

7th Grade

Learning Objectives

7th-graders begin to create savings and spending plans, and taxes are a significant part of them. They should be able to:

  • Illustrate the relationship between income level and income tax paid.

7th Grade Taxes Lesson Plans

  • KMLP 7th Grade – Personal Finance: This lesson has kids look at budgeting, and teachers can narrow it down to consider taxes. They watch a video, read an article, create a budget, and set goals, building skills to deal with income taxes.

7th Grade Taxes Worksheets

7th Grade Taxes Games and Activities

Tips for Teaching Taxes to 7th Graders

  • Keep tax lessons fun. Use mazes, puzzles, and games in instruction.
  • Teach a growth mindset, looking at taxes in a positive light.
  • Get to know student learning styles and incorporate them into instructional delivery.

For more resources on other topics, check out our 7th Grade Money Lesson Plans Center.

8th Grade

Learning Objectives

8th-grade students break down budgets closely, seeing the real-life implications taxes have. They should be able to:

  • Differentiate between gross and net income.

8th Grade Taxes Lesson Plans

  • KMLP 8th Grade – Spending: Students create detailed budgets, incorporating several types of taxes into their calculations. They play games and take notes on videos to gain knowledge of taxes and how they impact personal finance.

8th Grade Taxes Worksheets

8th Grade Taxes Games and Activities

Tips for Teaching Taxes to 8th Graders

  • Use daily warmups to review taxes.
  • Write objectives on the board, checking off progress as you go.
  • Have students fill out exit tickets to show understanding of taxes.

For more resources on other topics, check out our 8th Grade Money Lesson Plans Center.

9th Grade

Learning Objectives

9th-graders should be able to:

  • Explain the difference between earned and unearned income.

9th Grade Taxes Lesson Plans

  • KMLP 9th Grade – Taxation: Students analyze the pros and cons of taxation, look at IRS forms in detail, and take an assessment to show their knowledge. They also play a game and watch a video about taxes and their effects.

9th Grade Taxes Worksheets

9th Grade Taxes Games and Activities

Tips for Teaching Taxes to 9th Graders

  • Use competition in teaching money education, including taxes.
  • Encourage participation by offering bonus points or incentives.
  • Use practical examples like cars or products they want, like shoes or video games.

For more resources on other topics, check out our 9th Grade Money Lesson Plans Center.

10th Grade

Learning Objectives

In 10th grade, students get hands-on learning to guide them through tax challenges and procedures. They should be able to:

  • Complete IRS Form W-4.
  • Explain the difference between a tax credit and a tax deduction.

10th Grade Taxes Lesson Plans

  • KMLP 10th Grade – Personal Finance: In this lesson, students see how taxes apply to adults’ lives as they fill in a W-4 Form and learn about credits and deductions. They also imagine their lives in the near future, considering things like income and taxes.

10th Grade Taxes Worksheets

10th Grade Taxes Games and Activities

Tips for Teaching Taxes to 10th Graders

  • Expose students to as many taxes as you can. They will be surprised at how many there are.
  • Use extension activities often so that students can personalize the information.
  • Use tax examples in other subjects, particularly History and Math.

For more resources on other topics, check out our 10th Grade Money Lesson Plans Center.

11th Grade

Learning Objectives

In 11th grade, students dive into the specific ways taxes impact their net pay, purchase costs, and benefits from these taxes. They should be able to:

  • Describe benefits they receive, or may receive in the future, from government tax revenue.

11th Grade Taxes Lesson Plans

11th Grade Taxes Worksheets

11th Grade Taxes Games and Activities

Tips for Teaching Taxes to 11th Graders

  • Go over the legal consequences of tax evasion and emphasize the importance of having a good system.
  • Have them update budgets often to include taxes.
  • Give them room to research and discuss taxes with classmates.

For more resources on other topics, check out our 11th Grade Money Lesson Plans Center.

12th Grade

Learning Objectives

In 12th grade, students should be able to:

  • Differentiate between gross, net, and taxable income.

12th Grade Taxes Lesson Plans

  • KMLP 12th Grade – Earning Income: Students jump into career research in this lesson, finding information about careers and benefits. They also write an essay on earning income and create a Google Slide presentation showing income and tax findings.

12th Grade Taxes Worksheets

12th Grade Taxes Games and Activities

Tips for Teaching Taxes to 12th Graders

  • Watch out for senioritis. Keep activities fun through games and partner work.
  • Go over budgets and taxes with each student, ensuring they are prepared for the world after high school.
  • Use IRS forms and tax apps to prepare them for the real thing.

For more resources on other topics, check out our 12th Grade Money Lesson Plans Center.

About the Author

Peter Brown

Peter Brown is a National Board Certified teacher with over two decades of experience in the classroom. He loves working with students of all ages in many subjects, but particularly in practical areas like money education, to help kids achieve their goals. When he is not teaching or writing about financial literacy, you can find him surfing, hiking, skiing, or traveling to new places.

Last updated on: August 2, 2022