File taxes for my child with low income?
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Level 3

File taxes for my child with low income?

My son is my dependent and I claim him as such every year, he's 18 and in school. In 2020 (first year he ever worked), he made over 2,000

Looking at the rules he is not required to file. But I just wonder what if I do? He'd get the small amount he paid for federal and state tax? Any benefit for doing so?


Also, my daughter (claimed by her mom) filed her previous 2 years and she made not much and in 2020 she made even less, merely1,345 in wages. She paid about 45 in federal tax and almost 100 in state tax. I assume she'd also get that money back. Again, is it worth filing the tax for 2020? I mean getting about 145 bucks back is better than nothing, but any negatives for filing at all?

3 Replies
Level 15

File taxes for my child with low income?


If your dependent has a W-2 for his after-school job, summer job, etc. you do not include the information on your own return. You can still claim your child as a dependent on your own return.  He/she can file his own return for a refund of some of his withheld wages (he won’t get back anything for Social Security or Medicare), but MUST indicate on it that he can be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s return.  (Supervise this closely or prepare it for him!)

If your dependent’s earnings were over $400 and were reported on a 1099Misc or 1099NEC then he must file a return and pay self-employment tax for Social Security and Medicare.  You may want to use this version of TT for that:

**Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to offer the most correct information possible. The poster disclaims any legal responsibility for the accuracy of the information that is contained in this post.**
Level 15

File taxes for my child with low income?

Yes they can file to get back the withholding taken out.  It would be good for them to learn how to file, etc.


They don't have to file if you only have W2 income under 12,400 but you can file to get back any withholding taken out in boxes 2 or 17. But you don't get boxes 4 or 6 back. If you got a 1099Misc or 1099NEC you have to file it as self employment income no matter how small the amount.


To file a separate return as a dependent you need to set up a new account separate from your parents. Online is only good for one return per account. You can use the same email address for 5 accounts. You can probably use the Free Edition or the Free File website


Be sure on your return you check the box that says you can be claimed on someone else’s return. If your only income is W2 and under 12,400 you do not have to file a return except to get back any withholding taken out.

Filing requirements for a dependent



Level 3

File taxes for my child with low income?

Correct, they both have a W-2 from a part time, that's it.

I know they would both get what they paid shown in boxes 2 and 17....I was just wondering if there's any pros or cons in doing so.

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