It depends on how much your son made in 2019. Sometimes it's better if it's below the limit to add his income onto yours. If he goes to school you should have him as a dependent.
Your son would need to file taxes separately - he especially wants to file himself if he had federal income tax withholding taken out of his check and was due a refund. The real question is if he qualifies as a dependent for you and whether it is better for you to take the dependent deduction on your return or he takes it himself on his. If you are in a higher tax bracket (e.g. your son is still in High School making min wage, but you make decent money), then you likely will pay less taxes overall between you if you take him as a dependent.
Turbotax makes it pretty easy to run the scenario both ways for each of you. I had this situation for my son. In High School and when he first started his career - the first partial year he worked - I took him as a dependent to save taxes, but paid him the amount extra he had to pay by not taking himself as a deduction. After that he no longer lived at home, so the choice wasn't there.
Your son will have to file his own tax return if any of the following apply.
Your son is younger than age 19 or a full-time student age 19-23, he must file a tax return for 2019 if he had any of the following:
- Unearned income (interest, dividends, capital gains, taxable scholarships, unemployment compensation) of more than $1,050.
- Earned income (wages, salaries, tips, and fees) of more than $12,200.
- Gross income (earned and unearned income) was more than the larger of: $1,050 or earned income (up to $12,000) plus $350
If none of the above items apply and you qualify to claim your son as your dependent your son may want to file anyway to get a refund of any tax withheld.
If he does file he needs to check the box Someone can claim: You as a dependent on her Form 1040.
To claim an exemption for your son, you must be able to answer "yes" to all of the following questions.
- Are they related to you? The child can be your son, daughter, stepchild, eligible foster child, brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, stepbrother, stepsister, adopted child or an offspring of any of them.
- Do they meet the age requirement? Your child must be under age 19 or, if a full-time student, under age 24. There is no age limit if your child is permanently and totally disabled.
- Do they live with you? Your child must live with you for more than half the year, but several exceptions apply.
- Do you financially support them? Your child may have a job, but that job cannot provide more than half of her support.
- Are you the only person claiming them? This requirement commonly applies to children of divorced parents.
This link Rules for Claiming a Dependent on Your Tax Return has information you may find helpful.
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