Does My 14-Year-Old Have to File a Tax Return?

by Cynthia Myers

Income, not age, determines a person's filing status with the Internal Revenue Service. If your 14-year old made money working a summer job, or had profitable investments and savings, he may have to file a tax return. In some cases, you can include your child's income on your tax return. The type of income and the total amount determine when and how you need to report to the IRS.

Earned Income

If your child worked for someone else, or made money from her own business, and earned more than $5,800 in the year, she must file a tax return. If your child is blind, she doesn't have to file a tax return until her annual income reaches $7,250. If your child is self-employed, this figure reflects net income, after she's deducted her business expenses. Even if your child didn't make enough money to require her to file taxes, if she was employed and had taxes withheld from her paycheck, she should file a return to claim a refund of the taxes that were withheld.

Unearned Income

If your 14-year old's income is from savings, stocks and other investments, this is unearned income. If your child realizes $950 or more in unearned income, or $2,400 if he is blind, he must file a tax return. However, since your child is younger than 19, if he only has unearned income and this doesn't exceed $9,500, you may elect to file the income on your return, instead of your child filing a separate return.

Filing on Parents' Return

To claim your child's unearned income on your tax return, you must attach Form 8814 to your tax return, Parents' Election to Report Child's Interest and Dividends. By doing so, your child may end up owing more tax than she would if she filed her own, separate tax return. On Form 8814, the tax on the first $1,900 of your child's unearned income is $95. If your child files a separate return, her tax on that first $1,900 may be as low as $0.

Earned and Unearned Income

If your child has both earned and unearned income, he must file a tax return if his total income is more than his earned income plus $300 or $5,800. The IRS provides a worksheet for figuring the amount at which your child would have to file taxes. When your child's income is a combination of earned and unearned, you don't have the option of claiming the income on your own tax return.

About the Author

Cynthia Myers is the author of numerous novels and her nonfiction work has appeared in publications ranging from "Historic Traveler" to "Texas Highways" to "Medical Practice Management." She has a degree in economics from Sam Houston State University.

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