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Child's earned/unearned income

I'm confused with this wording on whether or not my daughter needs to file a return

- Gross income (earned and unearned income) was more than the larger of: $1,100 or earned income (up to $12,200) plus $350
  She is 16 years old.  she received a W2 for wages of $1,083 (earned income), her savings account had year to date interest of $26.64 (unearned income) making her gross earnings $1109.64.  Does she need to file a return?

3 Replies
Level 15

Child's earned/unearned income

No.  She does not have to file a tax return.  Her unearned income is less than $1,100 and her earned income is less than $12,200.

Level 15

Child's earned/unearned income

While I agree with the advice, the math isn't accurate


the rule is there is no need to file If the TOTAL income 


is less than EARNED income Plus $350 (not to exceed  TOTAL INCOME of  $12,200)


AND there is no federal tax withholding


since you daughter's TOTAL income is $1100 and that is less than her earned income of $1083+$350 (or 1433), there is no need to file as long as there was no withholdings


if here numbers were $700 earned and $375 unearned, while it would be less than $1100, there would be a filing requirement since the Total income of $1075 would not be less than the earned income of $700 +350.   


The IRS in its infinite wisdom doesn't make it easy for these small numbers 


Level 15

Child's earned/unearned income

Another way of looking at it: since her unearned income (interest of $26.64) is less than $350;  she doesn't need to file. 


If your dependent child is under age 19 (or under 24 if a full time student), he or she must file a tax return for 2019 if he had any of the following:

  1. Total income (wages, salaries, taxable scholarship etc.) of more than $12,200.
  2. Unearned income (interest, dividends, capital gains) of more than $1100.
  3. Unearned income over $350 AND gross income of more than $1100
  4. Household employee income (e.g. baby sitting, lawn mowing) over $2100 ($12.200 if under age 18)
  5. Other self employment income over $400, including box 7 of a 1099-MISC**



    Even if he had less, he is allowed to file if he needs to get back income tax withholding. He cannot get back social security or Medicare tax withholding.

    In TurboTax, he indicates that somebody else can claim him as a dependent, at the personal information section.

**There are actually two more rules (that you encountered). But as somebody else pointed out, they're confusing:

6. Gross income was at least $5 and his spouse files a separate return and itemizes deductions

7. Gross income (earned and unearned income) was more than the larger of: $1100 or his earned income plus $350  (up to $12,200)

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