As an employee, you will have certain rights and obligations. Although there are some exceptions, your employer must generally provide regular breaks, overtime pay, worker’s compensation insurance, and unemployment insurance.  You should know that your job is not guaranteed, and you can be fired without being given a reason, unless your personnel manual or collective bargaining agreement grants you additional rights[1]. However, in Delaware it is illegal for employers to discriminate against a person because the individual has a disability, or based on certain other characteristics like race or sexual orientation. For more information on employment and vocational rights for Delaware Transition-Age Youth and their Families please refer to the guide available at:

Responsibility to Pay Taxes 

Taxes are fees charged by local, state and federal governments and paid by individuals and businesses.  This money is used to run government programs.  Frequently, federal, state and local taxes are taken directly out of your paycheck before you get it.  You do not have a choice regarding this.   Be sure to review your pay stubs regularly to make sure that they are accurate.  You may also have to pay additional taxes directly to the government.

The amount of tax that each person must pay depends on a number of things. Calculating the amount can be very complicated, and sometimes requires assistance from tax professionals.  Fortunately, there are a number of free programs that can help you figure out whether or not you need to submit a tax return, and if so, they can also help you to complete the forms which must generally be submitted by April of each year.

The following organizations provide free Personal Income Tax filing assistance, or referral for assistance, to eligible Delaware taxpayers:

    601 N. Church Street, Wilmington, DE
    20127 Office Circle, Georgetown, DE
    1-302-298-3252  or
    1-877-825-0750 x 102​​

  • My Free Taxes
    Provides free Federal and State tax filing for individuals or families with a combined income under $60.000 in 2014: Call 855-698-9435 if you are unable to file online.
  • Nehemiah Gateway Community Development Corporation (NGCDC)
    Provides free Federal and State tax filing for individuals whose household income does not exceed $52,000 with dependents (such as a spouse or children) or $35,000 with no dependents. This program also provides access to financial education and services for low-to-moderate income individuals and tax-filing services for small business owners with approximate gross receipts of $85,000 or less. Find out more, including locations and dates at: 302-655-0803

If you have never submitted a tax return before, it can be hard to know what types of receipts you will need to submit. However, you will receive important documents from your employer (such as a W-2 form, which you should receive by January 31st), and your bank or other financial investment institutions (interest earned), that you will need to calculate and submit your taxes.  Therefore, it is important to watch for these in the mail and to keep them for preparing your taxes.   Your W-2 will also have important information regarding how much tax has already been taken out of your paychecks.

There are also some things that you may be able to deduct or get a credit for, on your tax forms, to reduce the amount of taxes you owe.  Examples can include child care costs, donations to charities, work-related expenses, and more.  You should keep receipts of these things with your taxes.  You should consult with a tax professional if you are unsure whether you must report something on your taxes, if you are unsure if you can deduct or get a credit for something on your taxes, or you have any other questions or concerns about your taxes.

Delaware State Taxes, Important Things to Know:

  • Delaware tax returns are due April 30 for the prior year.
  • If you owe Delaware but do not have the funds to make payment on April 30th, it is still important to file the return and make future payment arrangements because there is a 5% monthly penalty if the return is not filed on time.
  • If you do not have all of your return completed by the deadline, you can request an extension using the Delaware extension form, DE1027, which will give you more time to file the original tax return without the 5% non-filing penalty.
  • You can file access forms and file your return online.

Federal Taxes, Important Things to Know:

  • You must submit a federal tax return if you meet specific income requirements. The filing deadline for federal taxes is April 15th
  • Just because you must submit a tax return does not necessarily mean that you owe the government money. Sometimes submitting a tax return can result in a tax refund, payable to you.
  • Failing to submit a return can result in financial penalties so it is very important to submit the information required.
  • As of 2014, if you are filing as an individual who has gross income (before taxes) of $10,150 or more for the year, then it is likely that you must file a federal income tax return.
  • You can find more information on Federal Income Tax documents and filing requirements at

Money Management / Budget Assistance

Financial Accounts

When deciding what type of bank account or credit card to open, first, you should ask about the types of accounts that are available. This will help you decide what type of account would be right for you.  Ask about the services and interest rate, but it’s also important to ask about the fees, if you would be required to keep a minimum balance, and the bank’s overdraft program services.  Of course you want to try to avoid having to pay fees as much as possible, so you can keep your hard earned money for yourself!   You can download additional information on banking and credit cards at:

Establishing Credit

It is very important to establish “good credit” and to have a good credit “score.”   Paying your bills on time and not spending more money than you make will help you to establish good credit.  If you pay your bills on time, you will have a good credit rating.  However, the more often you fail to pay, the more your credit score will suffer. A low credit score will make you pay a higher interest rate to borrow money.  If your credit score is too low, it’s possible that banks or other companies will not want to offer you a loan.  Poor credit also makes it hard to rent an apartment and to buy a house or a car.  A poor credit score may impact your ability to get certain jobs or professional licenses.

Credit Reports

A credit report includes information on where you live, how promptly you pay your bills, and whether you’ve been sued or have filed for bankruptcy. Companies keep track of how promptly you pay your bills and issue “credit reports”.  Other companies use these reports to decide whether they will let you buy items using credit.  Also, the rating is used to determine how much interest you have to pay, and whether you will be approved for a loan (such as a car loan or a mortgage on a home) if you ever do need to borrow money.

Reviewing your credit report is a great way to help guard against identity theft. That’s when someone uses your personal information — like your name, your Social Security number, or your credit card number — to commit fraud.  This negatively affects your credit when the thief does not pay the bills opened in your name.  This affects your ability to get credit, insurance, or even a job.[3]  How to avoid identity theft will be discussed in more detail in the next section.

Under federal law, you have the right to one free credit report every 12 months from each of three major credit-reporting agencies.  You can order your credit report in the following three ways:

However, be aware of “imposter” websites, as these may require the payment of fees that are hidden in the fine print.  Only one website is authorized to fill orders for the free annual credit report you are entitled to under law —

Money Management Assistance

  • The Delaware Money Management Program (phone: 1-800-223-9074) is cosponsored by the Division of Services for the Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities and the AARP. This program offers money management service to help low-income adults with physical disabilities (and seniors) that have difficulty budgeting, paying routine bills and keeping track of financial matters.
  • The Delaware Money School (DE Financial Literacy Initiative) has free classes on a variety of topics related to financial management. Call (800) 267-5002 or visit
  • $tand By Me offers free one-on-one support to Delawareans who want to understand more about their money and make good financial decisions. Find out more at

Identity Theft[4]

When someone steals your personal information and uses it without your permission, it is called identity theft.  For example, someone might use your name and information to open a credit card with your name on it, and then uses that credit card to buy things.  It’s a serious crime that can really mess up your finances and credit— and can take time, money, and patience to fix.[5]

Protecting your personal information can help reduce your risk of identity theft. Protect your identity by:

  • Knowing who you are about to share information with;
  • Asking questions before deciding to share your personal information; ASK:
    1. Why do they need it?
    2. How it will be used?
    3. How they will protect it?
    4. What happens if you don’t share the requested information?
  • Being careful about sharing information online
    1. Do not overshare on social networking sites. If you post too much information about yourself, an identity thief can find information about your life, use it to answer ‘challenge’ questions on your accounts, and get access to your money and personal information.
    2. When using the internet and social media sites. You should:
      1. Avoid posting your home address, phone number, or email address.
      2. Use strong passwords and not share them
      3. Not post your social security number or your full birth date.
      4. Not label or tag full names when posting photos.
      5. Not post anything online that reveals you are out of town – wait to post those vacation pictures until you are back home! Someone could figure out where you live and realize there is an unoccupied home that is an easy target for a burglary.
  • Keeping your paper documents & records secure (lock them in a safe place, shred what you do not need, limit what you carry, and promptly remove mail from your mailbox).
  • Keep your personal information secure online and on your phone, computer and other devices
    1. Keep passwords private and use strong passwords
    2. Use security software or encrypt your data (install anti-virus software, anti-spyware software, and a firewall and set your preferences to update these protections often).
    3. Be Wary of public Wi-Fi.
    4. Avoid Phishing Emails. Don’t open files, click on links, or download programs sent by strangers. Opening a file from someone you don’t know could expose your system to a computer virus or spyware that captures your passwords or other information you type.
    5. Lock Up Your Laptop. Keep financial information on your laptop only when necessary. Don’t use an automatic login feature that saves your user name and password, and always log off when you’re finished, so if your laptop is lost or stolen, it will be harder for a thief to get at your personal information.
    6. Delete and wipe personal information from mobile phones and computers before disposing of them.

What If Someone Does Steal Your Identity?

If you do become a victim of identity theft, if you take action quickly, you can stop an identity thief from doing more damage. The Federal Trade Commission recommends you follow these three steps as soon as possible:

  1. Place an Initial Fraud Alert – for more information see
  2. Order Your Credit Reports – for more information see:
  3. Create an Identity Theft Report = for more information see:

If you are interested in learning even more about how to prevent identity theft, you can visit the Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft Consumer Information Site:

Free Phone Programs

Having a telephone will help you find jobs, access health care services, connect with family, call for help in an emergency, and more.  Because paying for a home or wireless phone can be expensive, the “Lifeline” government benefit program can provide you with discounts ($9.25 per month in 2014) on your monthly telephone service if you meet the eligibility requirements. Frequently, the plans include a free telephone.  If your income is at or below 135% of the federal poverty level or if you participate in certain assistance programs[6], you will typically qualify.

The following links have more detail on the program and eligibility: and  However, note that only one “Lifeline” discount is available per household, and that a person cannot get the discount for both a wireless and a home phone at the same time.  Contact information for participating companies can be found at:

[1] Delaware State employees may not be discharged or suspended for more than 30 days in a year period, except for cause, once they have completed the probationary period.  29 Del. C. § 5949.

[2] However, an adult without a child cannot qualify for the EITC until the tax year in which he turns 25.

[3] See .

[4] See

[5] See

[6] Such as Medicaid, food stamps/SNAP, SSI, Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8), Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, TANF, or the Free Lunch Program. Also, if you are part of a Head Start program or if you receive other state assistance you may qualify.