Question

Does my child need to file taxes if he or she earns income — Is filing a separate child income tax return necessary?

Answer

Regarding tax returns for a child, how much the child earned from what activities will determine if your child needs to file taxes. Don’t worry — we’ll help you figure out what you and your child need to do.

If your child or dependent is under age 65, a tax return for your child is necessary if one of these applies to their income:

  • Unearned income more than $1,100
  • Earned income more than $12,200
  • Gross income more than the larger of these:
    • $1,100
    • Earned income (up to $11,850) plus $350

You might ask: “Does my child need to file taxes if they’re blind?” Well, if your child or dependent is age 65 or older or blind, the filing requirement will be the above amounts plus these amounts:

  • $1,650 if filing single
  • $1,300 if one of these:
  • Married filing jointly
  • Married filing separately
  • Qualifying widow(er)

Even if your dependent doesn’t have to file a return, they could still file to get a refund of wage withholding.

What’s Earned Income for a Child Filing Taxes?

Earned income is usually:

  • Wages
  • Salaries
  • Professional fees
  • Other compensation for personal services

If you still need help, an H&R Block tax pro can go into more detail how and when your child has to file a tax return.

Related Topics

Related Resources

What Foreign Moving Expenses Are Deductible if I Move Overseas?

Find out if you're able to deduct your foreign moving expenses with help from the experts at H&R Block. The rules have changed due to the latest tax reform.

Can I claim medical expenses on my taxes?

If you’re itemizing deductions, the IRS generally allows you a medical expenses deduction if you have unreimbursed expenses that are more than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income for tax years 2017 or 2018. You can deduct the cost of care from several types of practitioners at various stages of care.

“Lookback” rule lets you use 2019 income on two credits

Heard about a new rule that lets you apply 2019 income to your 2020 taxes? Find out what’s myth vs. reality for this recent change from H&R Block.

Qualified Tuition Plans

What is a qualified tuition plan? Can it impact your tax return? Learn more about this type of savings account and get tax answers at H&R Block.