What Is My Child’s Gross Income Threshold for Filing Taxes?

You may need to file a separate tax return if your dependent child’s gross income is above a certain amount during the year. For 2018, all dependent children whose gross income is more than $12,000 must file a personal income tax return and may owe tax to the IRS.

Even if your child’s gross income is below the annual threshold, you may want to file your child’s tax return as they could be eligible for a refund.

Note: Dependents who are more than 18 years old can have income up to $4,150 in 2018 and still qualify as a dependent.

Calculating Gross Income for Your Child

Simply put, a child’s gross income is made up of the total of their income from taxable sources before subtracting any adjustments, deductions, or exemptions. To determine your child’s gross income, you should gather all of their related tax documentation showing their earned and unearned income.

Earned income includes wages your child received from work or salary. For example, your child may have a Form W-2 from a part-time job.

Unearned income can include interest or capital gains from a bank account or investments held in your child’s name. If your child earned income from one of these sources, they should’ve received Form 1099 from the bank or investment firm.

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