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Do Dependents Need To File Taxes

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Tax Treatment Of A Dependent Childs Income For 2020

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The following table summarizes the tax treatment of a dependent childs income for 2020:

Type of Income
Earned income minus remaining amount of standard deduction1 Childs tax rate

1 Standard deduction is the greater of $1,100 or earned income plus $350, but not to exceed $12,400. Add $1,650 if the child is blind.

You Must File An Income Tax Return If:

  • You owe tax to the CRA.
  • Youve participated in the Home Buyers Plan or Lifelong Learning Plan and have repayments owing.
  • You disposed of capital property. If you sold your home, you must file a tax return even if you dont have to pay capital gains tax on the sale .
  • You have received a Canada Workers Benefit advance payments in the tax year.
  • The CRA has sent you a Request to File.
  • If the CRA has sent you a Demand to File, then that means they are serious about your lack of filing and you had better get to it.

Making Money In Canada

Your Canadian residency status doesnt affect whether or not you have to file a Canadian income tax return, however, it does affect how you file your taxes, what income you need to report, and the availability of certain credits or deductions. If you meet any of the CRAs criteria listed above, for example, you have to file a tax return regardless of your residency status.

If you live in another country but receive income from a business you own in Canada, or from investments you have in Canada or if you have property in Canada, then you will need to file an income tax return.

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Could My Adult Dependent Still Be Required To File A Tax Return

Yesyour adult dependent may still need to file a tax return in certain situations.

If your single dependent was under age 65 and not blind in 2020, they must file a tax return if they had:

  • Unearned income more than $1,100
  • Earned income more than $12,550
  • Gross income more than the larger of:
  • $1,100
  • Earned income up to $12,050 plus $350

If your single dependent was blind or age 65+ they must file a tax return if they had:

  • Unearned income more than $2,800
  • Earned income more than $14,250
  • Gross income more than the larger of:
  • $2,800
  • Earned income up to $12,200 plus $2,050

If your single dependent was age 65+ and blind, they must file a tax return if they had:

  • Unearned income more than $4,500.
  • Earned income more than $15,950.
  • Gross income more than the larger of:
  • $4,500

For more info, check out Do I Need to File?

Does A Dependent Child Have To File A 2020 Federal Tax Return

Do I Have to File Taxes and How Much Do I Need to Make?

ByEd Zurndorfer

This column discusses under what conditions a dependent child has to file a 2020 federal income tax return and when a childs income is taxed.

Edward A. Zurndorfer

Many employees have dependent children who received income during 2020. For example, a child may have worked over the summer months or after school. Or a child may have been the recipient of investment income such as interest and dividends. The question that many parents of these children are asking at this time is whether these children have to file a 2020 federal income tax return, even when these children are claimed as tax dependents on their parents tax return. This column discusses under what conditions a dependent child has to file a 2020 federal income tax return and when a childs income is taxed.

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What It Means To Have A Qualifying Relative

A qualifying relative is a member of your family or a friend who is designated by the IRS as a tax dependent. This means that a taxpayer must provide financial support for that relative or friend during most of the year.

Here are some general rules and exceptions for qualifying relatives:

  • If you have a relative who relies on you for most of their financial assistance be it a parent or great aunt twice removed you can claim them as dependents as long as no one else claims them. But keep in mind that if your relative is considered a qualifying child , you cannot claim them as a dependent on your tax return.
  • In order for you to claim a relative as a dependent, that family member cannot have a gross annual income above $4,300 in 2021. Gross income includes all earned and unearned income.
  • The relative who you want to claim as a dependent must also live with you for the entire year. There are exceptions for mothers, fathers, nieces, nephews and other relatives.
  • If someone died during the year, you can claim that relative as a dependent for the whole year as long as they lived with you up until their death.

For a full list of relatives who you can claim even if they dont live with you, youll need to review IRS Publication 501.

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All You Need To Know Is Yourself

Answer simple questions about your life and TurboTax Free Edition will take care of the rest.

  • Estimate your tax refund andwhere you stand

  • Know how much to withhold from your paycheck to get

  • Estimate your self-employment tax and eliminate

  • Know which dependents credits and deductions

  • Estimate capital gains, losses, and taxes for cryptocurrency sales

  • See which education credits and deductions you qualify for

The above article is intended to provide generalized financial information designed to educate a broad segment of the public it does not give personalized tax, investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek the assistance of a professional who knows your particular situation for advice on taxes, your investments, the law, or any other business and professional matters that affect you and/or your business.

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Childs Tax Filing Options

If a child has to file a 2020 federal income tax return for himself or herself, the following are the childs filing options:

  • Child files his or her own return. Form 8615 must be completed and attached to the childs Form 1040, or
  • Parents report childs income on their return as explained below certain tests must be met to do this.

Note that if a child files his or her own return , the parents taxable income must be computed first in order to complete Form 8615. Parents who cannot prepare their own return by the childs filing due date may enter a reasonable estimate of their taxable income on the childs Form 8615. The word estimated should be entered on the appropriate lines. If the final information from the parents tax return differs from the estimated amounts originally reported, then the child must file an amended return . A better option may be to request an extension to file the childs tax return until the final information from the parents return is available.

With regard to signing the return, if the child cannot sign the return, either parent may sign the childs name in the appropriate space. The parent should include the notation: By , parent for minor child.

How Do I Report Someone Falsely Claiming Dependents

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If you think someone has falsely claimed dependents you’re entitled to claim, you’ll need to file your return, claim the dependent, and offer proof that you are legally entitled to claim them. The IRS offers a list of acceptable documentation on Form 886-H-DEP. You and the other taxpayer will receive a letter about the double-claim. If neither of you then files an amended return without the dependent included, you’ll both be audited to verify who may claim them.

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Other Situations That Require Filing A Tax Return

In addition to requirements based on age, your filing status and income, and the rules regarding the Affordable Care Act and self-employment income, there are several other situations that require you to file a tax return.

For example, if you owe any special taxes, such as the alternative minimum tax extra taxes on qualified plans like an IRA household employment taxes for employees like nannies, housekeepers or gardeners or tips you didnt report to your employer, then you need to file a federal return. You must also file if you had write-in taxes that might include taxes on group term life insurance or health savings accounts. In addition, you have to file if you have recapture taxes on the profitable sale of an asset.

Another instance which requires you to file a return is if you or your spouse received distributions from a health savings account, Archer MSA or Medicare Advantage MSA.

If you worked for a church or a church-controlled organization that is exempt from paying Social Security and Medicare taxes and you had wages of $108.28 or more, youre required to file a return.

Finally, if you have a tax liability and are making payments under an installment agreement, you must file a return.

How Can I Reduce My Taxable Income

One way to reduce taxable income is by topping up your retirement savings with traditional IRAs and 401s, up to the maximum allowable contribution.

Contributions to Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts are another way to shrink your taxable income.

You could potentially earn thousands of dollars before paying taxes. However, even when your income falls below the cut-off level and you do not have to pay taxes, you need to file to taxes to get a refund check.


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Earned Income Tax Credit

If you earn under a certain amount of money, you can claim the EITC. The amount of the EITC increases the more children you have. The numbers below reflect the IRS’s rules for claiming the EITC, for tax year 2021.

Filing Status: Single, married filing separately, head of household or widowed

# of Qualifying Children
$57,414 $6,728

Additionally, no taxpayer can claim the EITC if he or she makes more than $3,650 in investment income in tax year 2021.

Income Tax Filing Requirements

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In the state of Arizona, full-year resident or part-year resident individuals must file a tax return if they are:

  • Single or married filing separately and gross income is greater than $12,550
  • Head of household and GI is greater than $18,800 or

Note: For non-resident individuals the threshold numbers above are prorated based on the individual’s Arizona gross income to their federal adjusted gross income.

The filing requirements are explained at the beginning of the instructions on all Arizona income tax returns. All tax forms and instructions are available to download under Individual Forms, or by visiting ADOR offices.

To expedite the processing of an income tax return, ADOR strongly encourages taxpayers to use the fillable Arizona tax forms or electronic file . Fillable Forms and e-file information are available. Each year, ADOR provides opportunities for taxpayers to file their individual income tax returns electronically at no cost to those who qualify.

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Tax Filing Requirements For Children


The IRS requires that all taxpayers file a tax return, regardless of age.

The Internal Revenue Service requires all taxpayers, regardless of age, to file a tax return and pay the appropriate income tax in any year their gross income exceeds certain levels. This requirement extends to the children you claim as dependents. However, unlike adult taxpayers, children have more flexibility in choosing how to comply.

Claiming A Qualifying Child As A Dependent

There are potentially higher tax credits for claiming a dependent child than there are for claiming other types of dependents, such as an elderly parent.

The dependent child must satisfy the IRSâs following tests:

  • Relationship: They were âyour son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, half brother, half sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or a descendant of any of them.â

  • Age: They were âunder age 19 at the end of the year and younger than you â or âunder age 24 at the end of the year, a student, and younger than you â or âany age if permanently and totally disabled.â

  • Residence: They âmust have lived with you for more than half of the year,â with exceptions for temporary absences , children of parents who live separately, or children who were born or died during the year.

  • Support: You must have provided more than half of the childâs support during the year.

  • Childâs filing status: If the child earned any income that year, he or she has to file tax return. You canât claim a child as a dependent if he or she is married and files a joint return unless theyâre claiming a tax refund.

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Age And Status Requirements For Dependents

Being claimed as a dependent on someone elses taxes changes the rules a bit, and it does not rule out the possibility that you will still be required to file. If you are an adult, working dependent, you will likely be required to file your own return.

Under 65 $12,400 earned
65 or older OR blind $14,050 earned
65 or older AND blind $15,700 earned
Under 65 $12,400 earned OR Your gross income was at least $5 and yourspouse files a separate return and itemizes deductions.
65 or older OR blind $13,700 earned income OR Your gross income was at least $5 and yourspouse files a separate return and itemizes deductions
65 or older AND blind $15,000 earned OR Your gross income was at least $5 andyour spouse files a separate return and itemizes deductions

Earned Vs Unearned Income

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The IRS has two categories of income:

  • Earned Income. This refers to wages, tips, salaries, professional fees, or commissions your child earned from doing actual work.
  • Unearned Income. This is any other income that your child didnt directly work for, such as dividends, interest, or capital gains. If a child has a trust fund, distributions from the trust count as unearned income unless the child has a disability trust, in which case distributions are considered earned income.

Knowing where your childrens earnings fall is critical to determining whether theyre required to file a tax return.

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Release Of Claim To Exemption

A non-qualifying parent can still claim their child as their dependent if the qualifying parent releases their claim by filing Form 8332, Release of Claim to Exemption for Child of Divorced or Separated Parents, with the IRS. You can indicate the year or years for which you’re agreeing to release your claim. You can also revoke the release if you later change your mind.

This rule doesnt apply to all tax credits and deductions, however. The right to claim the child cant be transferred in some cases, such as to claim head-of-household filing status. The child must actually live with you in order for you to qualify for that status.

Child And Dependent Care Credit

A tax credit for people who cared for one or more qualifying dependents while incurring work-related expenses, including looking for work. The credit is worth up to $3,000 for one qualifying dependent and up to $6,000 for two or more qualifying dependents.

The child and dependent care credit has stricter qualification guidelines than the child tax credit. For one, the qualifying dependent must either be a qualifying child age 13 or younger, or an individual who is physically or mentally unable to care for him or herself.

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When A Dependent May Want To File Even If They Dont Have To

Even if the dependent isnt required to file a tax return, they may choose to file because its the only way to get a refund theyre owed.

For example, say your 15-year-old son earns $3,000 working a summer job and has taxes withheld. If hes due a refund of any of the tax withheld, filing a return is the way to get that refund.

A lot of times, the dependents income is not a lot, says Sacco.

But it could still be worth filing.

We would file a tax return for them just to get the withholdings back into their pocket, he says.

In addition to filing for the purpose of claiming a refund, a dependent might opt to file to claim credits like the earned income credit.

How Much Money Do You Have To Make To Not Pay Taxes

Does my teenager have to file taxes 2017
  • Taxes
  • How Much Money Do You Have to Make to Not Pay Taxes?
  • The amount that you have to make to not pay federal income tax depends on your age, filing status, your dependency on other taxpayers and your gross income. For example, in the year 2018, the maximum earning before paying taxes for a single person under the age of 65 was $12,000.

    If your income is below the threshold limit specified by IRS, you may not need to file taxes, though its still a good idea to do so.

    What this article covers:

    NOTE: FreshBooks Support team members are not certified income tax or accounting professionals and cannot provide advice in these areas, outside of supporting questions about FreshBooks. If you need income tax advice please contact an accountant in your area.

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