Children who receive investment income are subject to special tax rules that affect how parents must report a child's investment income. Some parents can include their child's investment income on their tax return while other children may have to file their own tax return. If a child cannot file his or her own tax return for any reason, such as age, the child's parent or guardian is responsible for filing a return on the child's behalf.
Here's what you need to know about tax liability and your child's investment income.
1. Investment income normally includes interest, dividends, capital gains and other unearned income, such as from a trust.
2. Special rules apply if your child's total investment income in 2015 is more than $2,100 ($2,000 in 2014). The parent's tax rate may apply to a part of that income instead of the child's tax rate.
3. If your child's total interest and dividend income are less than $10,500 ($10,000 in 2014), then you may be able to include the income on your tax return. If you make this choice, the child does not file a return. Instead, you file Form 8814, Parents' Election to Report Child's Interest and Dividends, with your tax return.
4. If your child received investment income of $10,500 or more in 2015 ($10,000 in 2014), then he or she will be required to file Form 8615, Tax for Certain Children Who Have Investment Income of More Than $2,100, with the child's federal tax return for tax year 2015.
In addition, starting in 2013, a child whose tax is figured on Form 8615, Tax for Certain Children Who Have Unearned Income, may be subject to the Net Investment Income Tax. NIIT is a 3.8 percent tax on the lesser of either net investment income or the excess of the child's modified adjusted gross income that is over a threshold amount.