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IRS.gov Website
Publication 17
taxmap/pub17/p17-166.htm#en_us_publink1000174280

Tax for Certain Children Who Have Unearned Income(p209)

rule
If a child's interest, dividends, and other unearned income total more than $2,000, part of that income may be taxed at the parent's tax rate instead of the child's tax rate. If the parent does not or cannot choose to include the child's income on the parent's return, use Form 8615 to figure the child's tax. Attach the completed form to the child's Form 1040 or Form 1040A.
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When Form 8615 must be filed.(p209)

rule
Form 8615 must be filed for a child if all of the following statements are true.
  1. The child's investment income was more than $2,000.
  2. The child is required to file a return for 2013.
  3. The child either:
    1. Was under age 18 at the end of the year,
    2. Was age 18 at the end of the year and did not have earned income that was more than half of his or her support, or
    3. Was over age 18 and under age 24 at the end of the year, was a full-time student, and did not have earned income that was more than half of his or her support.
  4. At least one of the child's parents was alive at the end of 2013.
  5. The child does not file a joint return for 2013.
These conditions are also shown in
Figure 31-B.
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Earned income.(p209)

rule
Earned income includes salaries, wages, tips, and other payments received for personal services performed. It does not include unearned income as defined later in this chapter.
taxmap/pub17/p17-166.htm#en_us_publink1000174283

Support.(p209)

rule
Your child's support includes all amounts spent to provide the child with food, lodging, clothing, education, medical and dental care, recreation, transportation, and similar necessities. To figure your child's support, count support provided by you, your child, and others. However, a scholarship received by your child is not considered support if your child is a full-time student. See chapter 3 for details about support.
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Certain January 1 birthdays.(p209)

rule
Use the following chart to determine whether certain children with January 1 birthdays meet condition 3 under When Form 8615 must be filed.
taxmap/pub17/p17-166.htm#en_us_publink1000261336

Figure 31-B. Do You Have To Use Form 8615 To Figure Your Child's Tax?

taxmap/pub17/p17-166.htm#en_us_publink1000261337
IF a child was born on...THEN, at the end of 2013, the child is considered to be...
January 1, 199618*
January 1, 199519**
January 1, 199024***
*This child is not under age 18. The child meets condition 3 only if the child did not have earned income that was more than half of the child's support.
**This child meets condition 3 only if the child was a full-time student who did not have earned income that was more than half of the child's support.
***Do not use Form 8615 for this child.
taxmap/pub17/p17-166.htm#en_us_publink1000174286

Providing Parental Information
(Form 8615, lines A–C)(p210)

rule
On Form 8615, lines A and B, enter the parent's name and social security number. (If the parents filed a joint return, enter the name and social security number listed first on the joint return.) On line C, check the box for the parent's filing status.
See Which Parent's Return To Use at the beginning of this chapter for information on which parent's return information must be used on Form 8615.
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Parent with different tax year.(p210)

rule
If the parent and the child do not have the same tax year, complete Form 8615 using the information on the parent's return for the tax year that ends in the child's tax year.
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Parent's return information not known timely.(p210)

rule
If the information needed from the parent's return is not known by the time the child's return is due (usually April 15), you can file the return using estimates.
You can use any reasonable estimate. This includes using information from last year's return. If you use an estimated amount on Form 8615, enter "Estimated" on the line next to the amount.
When you get the correct information, file an amended return on Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.
Instead of using estimates, you can get an automatic 6-month extension of time to file if, by the date your return is due, you file Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. Extensions are discussed in chapter 1.
taxmap/pub17/p17-166.htm#en_us_publink1000174292

Step 1. Figuring the Child's Net Unearned Income
(Form 8615, Part I)(p210)

rule
The first step in figuring a child's tax using Form 8615 is to figure the child's net unearned income. To do that, use Form 8615, Part I.
taxmap/pub17/p17-166.htm#en_us_publink1000174293

Line 1 (unearned income).(p210)

rule
If the child had no earned income, enter on this line the adjusted gross income shown on the child's return. Adjusted gross income is shown on Form 1040, line 38, or Form 1040A, line 22. Form 1040EZ cannot be used if Form 8615 must be filed.
If the child had earned income, figure the amount to enter on Form 8615, line 1, by using the worksheet in the instructions for the form.
However, if the child has:then use the Alternate Worksheet for Form 8615, Line 1, in Publication 929 to figure the amount to enter on Form 8615, line 1.
taxmap/pub17/p17-166.htm#en_us_publink1000174294
Unearned income defined.(p211)
Unearned income is generally all income other than salaries, wages, and other amounts received as pay for work actually done. It includes taxable interest, dividends (including capital gain distributions), capital gains, unemployment compensation, the taxable part of social security and pension payments, and certain distributions from trusts. Unearned income includes amounts produced by assets the child obtained with earned income (such as interest on a savings account into which the child deposited wages).
taxmap/pub17/p17-166.htm#en_us_publink1000174295
Nontaxable income.(p211)
For this purpose, unearned income includes only amounts the child must include in total income. Nontaxable unearned income, such as tax-exempt interest and the nontaxable part of social security and pension payments, is not included.
taxmap/pub17/p17-166.htm#en_us_publink1000174296
Income from property received as a gift.(p211)
A child's unearned income includes all income produced by property belonging to the child. This is true even if the property was transferred to the child, regardless of when the property was transferred or purchased or who transferred it.
A child's unearned income includes income produced by property given as a gift to the child. This includes gifts to the child from grandparents or any other person and gifts made under the Uniform Gift to Minors Act.
taxmap/pub17/p17-166.htm#en_us_publink1000174297

Example.(p211)

Amanda Black, age 13, received the following income. The dividends were qualified dividends on stock given to her by her grandparents.
Amanda's unearned income is $2,100. This is the total of the dividends ($800), taxable interest ($1,200), and net capital gains ($100). Her wages are earned (not unearned) income because they are received for work actually done. Her tax-exempt interest is not included because it is nontaxable.
taxmap/pub17/p17-166.htm#en_us_publink1000174298
Trust income.(p211)
If a child is the beneficiary of a trust, distributions of taxable interest, dividends, capital gains, and other unearned income from the trust are unearned income to the child.
However, for purposes of completing Form 8615, a taxable distribution from a qualified disability trust is considered earned income, not unearned income.
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Line 2 (deductions).(p211)

rule
If the child does not itemize deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040), enter $2,000 on line 2.
If the child does itemize deductions, enter on line 2 the larger of:
  1. $1,000 plus the portion of the child's itemized deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040), line 29, that are directly connected with the production of unearned income entered on line 1, or
  2. $2,000.
taxmap/pub17/p17-166.htm#en_us_publink1000174300
Directly connected.(p212)
Itemized deductions are directly connected with the production of unearned income if they are for expenses paid to produce or collect taxable income or to manage, conserve, or maintain property held for producing income. These expenses include custodian fees and service charges, service fees to collect taxable interest and dividends, and certain investment counsel fees.
These expenses are added to certain other miscellaneous itemized deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040). Only the amount greater than 2% of the child's adjusted gross income can be deducted. See chapter 28 for more information.
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Example 1.(p212)

Roger, age 12, has unearned income of $8,000, no other income, no adjustments to income, and itemized deductions of $300 (net of the 2% limit) that are directly connected with his unearned income. His adjusted gross income is $8,000, which is entered on Form 1040, line 38, and on Form 8615, line 1. Roger enters $2,000 on line 2 because that is more than the total of $1,000 plus his directly connected itemized deductions of $300.
taxmap/pub17/p17-166.htm#en_us_publink1000174303

Example 2.(p212)

Eleanor, age 8, has unearned income of $16,000 and an early withdrawal penalty of $100. She has no other income. She has itemized deductions of $1,050 (net of the 2% limit) that are directly connected with the production of her unearned income. Her adjusted gross income, entered on line 1, is $15,900 ($16,000 − $100). The amount on line 2 is $2,050. This is the larger of:
  1. $1,000 plus the $1,050 of directly connected itemized deductions, or
  2. $2,000.
taxmap/pub17/p17-166.htm#en_us_publink1000174304

Line 3.(p212)

rule
Subtract line 2 from line 1 and enter the result on this line. If zero or less, do not complete the rest of the form. However, you must still attach Form 8615 to the child's tax return. Figure the tax on the child's taxable income in the normal manner.
taxmap/pub17/p17-166.htm#en_us_publink1000174305

Line 4 (child's taxable income).(p212)

rule
Enter on line 4 the child's taxable income from Form 1040, line 43, or Form 1040A, line 27.
However, if the child files Form 2555 or 2555-EZ to claim the foreign earned income exclusion, housing exclusion, or housing deduction, see the Form 8615 instructions or Pub. 929.
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Line 5 (net unearned income).(p212)

rule
A child's net unearned income cannot be more than his or her taxable income. Enter on Form 8615, line 5, the smaller of line 3 or line 4. This is the child's net unearned income.
If zero or less, do not complete the rest of the form. However, you must still attach Form 8615 to the child's tax return. Figure the tax on the child's taxable income in the normal manner.
taxmap/pub17/p17-166.htm#en_us_publink1000174307

Step 2. Figuring Tentative
Tax at the Parent's Tax Rate
(Form 8615, Part II)(p212)

rule
The next step in completing Form 8615 is to figure a tentative tax on the child's net unearned income at the parent's tax rate. The tentative tax at the parent's tax rate is the difference between the tax on the parent's taxable income figured with the child's net unearned income (plus the net unearned income of any other child whose Form 8615 includes the tax return information of that parent) and the tax figured without it.
When figuring the tentative tax at the parent's tax rate on Form 8615, do not refigure any of the exclusions, deductions, or credits on the parent's return because of the child's net unearned income. For example, do not refigure the medical expense deduction.
Figure the tentative tax on Form 8615, lines 6 through 13.
Note.If the child or parent has any capital gains or losses, get Publication 929 for help in completing Form 8615, Part II.
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Line 6 (parent's taxable income).(p212)

rule
Enter on line 6 the parent's taxable income from Form 1040, line 43, Form 1040A, line 27, or Form 1040EZ, line 6.
If the Foreign Earned Income Tax Worksheet (in the Form 1040 instructions) was used to figure the parent's tax, enter the amount from line 3 of that worksheet instead of the parent's taxable income.
taxmap/pub17/p17-166.htm#en_us_publink1000174309

Line 7 (net unearned income of other children).(p212)

rule
If the tax return information of the parent is also used on any other child's Form 8615, enter on line 7 the total of the amounts from line 5 of all the other children's Forms 8615. Do not include the amount from line 5 of the Form 8615 being completed.
taxmap/pub17/p17-166.htm#en_us_publink1000174310

Example.(p212)

Paul and Jane Persimmon have three children, Sharon, Jerry, and Mike, who must attach Form 8615 to their tax returns. The children's net unearned income amounts on line 5 of their Forms 8615 are:
Line 7 of Sharon's Form 8615 will show $1,600, the total of the amounts on line 5 of Jerry's and Mike's Forms 8615.
Line 7 of Jerry's Form 8615 will show $1,800 ($800 + $1,000).
Line 7 of Mike's Form 8615 will show $1,400 ($800 + $600).
taxmap/pub17/p17-166.htm#en_us_publink1000174311
Other children's information not available.(p212)
If the net unearned income of the other children is not available when the return is due, either file the return using estimates or get an extension of time to file. See Parent's return information not known timely, earlier.
taxmap/pub17/p17-166.htm#en_us_publink1000174313

Line 11 (tentative tax).(p212)

rule
Subtract line 10 from line 9 and enter the result on this line. This is the tentative tax.
If line 7 is blank, skip lines 12a and 12b and enter the amount from line 11 on line 13. Also skip the discussion for lines 12a and 12b that follows.
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Lines 12a and 12b (dividing the tentative tax).(p212)

rule
If an amount is entered on line 7, divide the tentative tax shown on line 11 among the children according to each child's share of the total net unearned income. This is done on lines 12a, 12b, and 13. Add the amount on line 7 to the amount on line 5 and enter the total on line 12a. Divide the amount on line 5 by the amount on line 12a and enter the result, as a decimal, on line 12b.
taxmap/pub17/p17-166.htm#en_us_publink1000174315

Example.(p212)

In the earlier example under Line 7 (net unearned income of other children), Sharon's Form 8615 shows $1,600 on line 7. The amount entered on line 12a is $2,400, the total of the amounts on lines 5 and 7 ($800 + $1,600). The decimal on line 12b is
.333, figured as follows and rounded to three places.
 $800=.333 
 $2,400 
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Step 3. Figuring the Child's Tax
(Form 8615, Part III)(p212)

rule
The final step in figuring a child's tax using Form 8615 is to determine the larger of:
  1. The total of:
    1. The child's share of the tentative tax based on the parent's tax rate, plus
    2. The tax on the child's taxable income in excess of net unearned income, figured at the child's tax rate, or
  2. The tax on the child's taxable income, figured at the child's tax rate.
This is the child's tax. It is figured on Form 8615, lines 14 through 18.
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Alternative minimum tax.(p212)

rule
A child may be subject to alternative minimum tax (AMT) if he or she has certain items given preferential treatment under the tax law. See Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) in chapter 30.
For more information on who is liable for AMT and how to figure it, see Form 6251, Alternative Minimum Tax—Individuals. For information on special limits that apply to a child who files Form 6251, see Certain Children Under Age 24 in the Instructions for Form 6251.