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Do Your Kids Need to File Taxes?

Do your kids need to file taxes? Usually filing taxes for the kids is an afterthought. Only after people scramble to finish filing in time for the tax deadline [1] do they realize they didn’t even think about the kids.

Will you remember to file taxes for your kids?

If your kids earn interest and dividends, or have a job, check out the requirements for filing taxes.

2017 Kids Tax Filing Requirements

We will update this page soon with requirements for this year. If you need it updated right away, feel free to drop us a note [2]!

If you claim your child as a dependent [3] on your return, the kids need to file taxes if ANY of the following are true for tax year 2017 (due in 2018):

  • Earned income, from a job for example, is more than $6,350.
  • Unearned income, including dividends or interest, is more than $1050.
  • Self employment [4] net earnings are more than $400.
  • Earned and unearned total income is more than the larger of $1050 or earned income plus $350.

Also, if interest, dividends and other investment income are more than $2,100 in 2017, you’re going to get hit with the kiddie tax [5] (which means you’ll pay your tax rate [6] on part of your child’s income).

Filing a Child’s Tax Return

You can file your child’s taxes for free at TurboTax [7].

If you want, you can also attach it to your return if the income is less than $10,500 and only from interest or dividends. This option is available to children under age 19 (or a full time student under 24) who are not filing a joint return [8] using Form 8814.

A word of caution though, qualified dividends or capital gains may be taxed at a higher rate if you attach it to your return instead of filing the child’s return separately.

More Filing Requirements

There are other circumstances when children must file a tax return. For more information see Publication 929, Tax Rules for Children and Dependents [9].

For more information when others must file, see minimum income to file taxes [10].

More Tax Topics