Menu 
Share Button

Dependent Return Filing


A dependent must file a return if all of his or her income is earned income and is above certain amounts. And some dependents may have to file a return even if their income is below the amount that would normally require them to file.

Which Dependents should file a tax return?


Single dependents

Were under age 65 or older or blind? If the answer is No, you must file a return if any of the following apply:

  • Your unearned income was more than $950.
  • Your earned income was more than $5,950.
  • Your gross income was more than the larger of:
    • $950 or,
    • Your earned income (up to $5,650) plus $300.

If the answer is Yes. You must file a return if any of the following apply:

  • Your unearned income was more than $2,400 ($3,850 if 65 or older and blind).
  • Your earned income was more than $7,400 ($8,850 if 65 or older and blind).
  • Your gross income was more than the larger of:
    • a. $2,400 ($3,850 if 65 or older and blind), or
    • b. Your earned income (up to $5,650) plus $1,750 ($3,200 if 65 or older and blind).

Married dependents

Were you either age 65 or older or blind in the tax year?

If the answer is No, you must file a return if any of the following apply:

  • Your gross income was at least $5 and your spouse files a separate return and itemizes deductions.
  • Your unearned income was more than $950.
  • Your earned income was more than $5,950.
  • Your gross income was more than the larger of:
    • $950, or
    • Your earned income (up to $5,650) plus $300.

If the answer is Yes, You must file a return if any of the following apply:

  • Your gross income was at least $5 and your spouse files a separate return and itemizes deductions.
  • Your unearned income was more than $2,100 ($3,250 if 65 or older and blind).
  • Your earned income was more than $7,100 ($8,250 if 65 or older and blind).
  • Your gross income was more than the larger of:
    • $2,100 ($3,250 if 65 or older and blind), or
    • Your earned income (up to $5,650) plus $1,450 ($2,600 if 65 or older and blind).

Dependent must file a return if:

  • Any taxes are owed:
    • Social Security and Medicare taxes on tips not reported to employer
    • Uncollected Social Security and Medicare or railroad retirement taxes on tips not reported to employer or group-term life insurance
    • Alternative minimum tax
    • Recapture taxes
    • Taxes on qualified plans, including IRAs or other type of tax-favored plan
  • The dependent received any of the following:
    • Advance earned income credit payments from employers
    • Wages of $108.28 or more were earned from a church or church organization that is exempt from employer Social Security or Medicare taxes
    • Net earnings from self-employment was at least $400

Even if not required to file, a dependent should file if:


Who is responsibility to File?

The child is responsible for filing his or her own tax return and for paying any tax, penalties and interest. If the child cannot file his or her own return due to age or any other reason, the parent or guardian is responsible for filing the return on the child’s behalf.

If the child cannot sign his or her own tax return the parent can sign the child’s name and add his or her own signature, notating the return was signed “By parent or guardian for minor child.” If a parent or guardian signs the return, that person is authorized by the IRS to represent the child in all matters related to the tax return.

On federal income tax returns, any income a child receives in return for personal services or labor counts as the child’s income, even if state law provides that the parent is entitled to the income.

Share Button