Recent Posts

Archive

Must a dependent child file a Federal individual tax return if they have taxable income from a W-2 j


As is often the case, the answer is, it depends. In the simplest form, the IRS requires a child to file an individual tax return if he or she had taxable earned income of $6,300 or greater for 2015. If the child had less than $6,300 in taxable earned income, the child is not required to file an individual return. However, even if the child does not meet the $6,300 filing mandate, the child may elect to file an individual return if he or she had federal income tax withheld, as often times, they will be entitled to a full or partial refund of the tax withheld. Remember, Medicare and Social Security taxes are not refundable. Medicare and Social Security taxes are required to be withheld from the child’s income even when the child has no federal income tax withheld.

If the child does not meet the $6,300 filing threshold and elects to not file a return, the child’s parent can’t claim the child’s earned income on the parent’s return.

Example 1:

Justin, an 18-year-old student, is claimed by his parents as a dependent. Justin worked part time on weekends at a W-2 job. He earned $6,000 in 2015 and had no federal income tax withheld.

Justin is not required to file a return for 2015 as he didn’t meet the $6,300 requirement.

Example 2:

Justin has $7,500 in taxable W2 wages and has no federal income tax withheld.

Justin has met the $6,300 threshold and must file a return. The fact he had no federal income tax withheld is not relevant to the filing requirement.

The rules for dependent tax return filing are more complicated than simply considering earned income. Unearned income, age, and martial status must be consider too. Consult with a tax attorney or CPA if your situation warrants. consult a CPA for filing requirements in your state.