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Current Year Tax Map
Rev. date: 09/24/2012


Tax on a Child's Investment Income

Tax Topic 553
rule
The following two rules may affect the tax on the investment income of certain children:
For either rule to apply, the child must be required to file a return. See Publication 929, Tax Rules for Children and Dependents, for filing requirement information.
Part of a child's investment income may be taxed at the parent's tax rate if:
  1. The child's investment income was more than $1,900
  2. The child meets one of the following age requirements:
    • The child was under age 18 at the end of the tax year
    • The child was age 18 at the end of the tax year and the child's earned income does not exceed one-half of the child's own support for the year, or
    • The child was a full-time student who was under age 24 at the end of the tax year and the child's earned income does not exceed one half of the child's own support for the year (excluding scholarships)
  3. At least one of the child's parents was alive at the end of the tax year
  4. The child is required to file a tax return for the tax year, and
  5. The child does not file a joint return for the tax year
The child's tax is figured on Form 8615, Tax for Certain Children Who Have Investment Income of More Than $1,900. This form must be attached to the child's tax return.
A parent may be able to avoid having to file a tax return for the child by including the child's income on the parent's tax return. A parent can elect to do this if all of the following conditions are met:
  1. At the end of the tax year the child was under age 19 or under age 24, if a full-time student
  2. The child's interest and dividend income was less than $9,500 for the tax year
  3. The child had income only from interest and dividends, which includes Alaska Permanent Fund dividends and capital gain distributions
  4. No estimated tax payments were made for the tax year, and no prior tax year's tax overpayment was applied to the current tax year, under the child's name and social security number
  5. No federal income tax was withheld from the child's income under backup withholding
  6. The child is required to file a return unless the parent makes this election
  7. The child does not file a joint return for the tax year
  8. The parent is the parent qualified to make the election or files a joint return with the child's other parent
To make this election, attach Form 8814, Parents' Election to Report Child's Interest and Dividends, to your Form 1040.
Refer to Publication 929, Tax Rules for Children and Dependents, for more information in general, including the following issues: