If a child's income from interest and dividends plus any other investment income exceeds $2,300 ($2,200 for tax years 2019-2021, or $2,100 for tax years 2018 and prior), part of the child's income will be taxed at the parent's tax rate. This tax is calculated on Form 8615, Tax for Certain Children Who Have Unearned Income.
As opposed to earned income, which is received for work actually performed, unearned income consists of the following types of income:
- taxable interest
- capital gains (including capital gain distributions)
- rents and royalties
- pensions and annuities
- taxable scholarship and fellowship grants not reported on Form W-2
- unemployment compensation
- the taxable part of social security and pension payments
- income (other than earned income) received as the beneficiary of a trust
Form 8615 can be filed if all of the following conditions are met:
- The child had more than the threshold amount of unearned income;
- The child is required to file a tax return;
- The child is either:
- Under age 18 at the end of tax year;
- Age 18 at the end of tax year and didn’t have earned income that was more than half of their support; or
- A full-time student age 19-24 at the end of tax year and didn’t have earned income that was more than half of their support.
- At least one of the child's parents was alive at the end of tax year;
- The child isn't filing a joint return for the tax year being filed
These conditions apply whether or not the child is a dependent but don't apply if both parents are deceased at the end of the year.
To include Form 8615 with a child's tax return, from the Main Menu of the child's tax return (Form 1040) select:
- Tax Computation
- Tax for Children Under Age 18 (8615)
- Enter the Parent’s Information (use the parent who is listed first on a MFJ return; if MFS or not married use the parent whose return had the higher income).
- Complete the Form 8615 Edit Menu - You will need a copy of the parent's tax return to complete this form, either the MFJ return, the MFS return of the parent with the higher income, or the return from the parent with whom the child resided the most during the tax year.
As an alternative, the parent(s) can elect to report the child's interest, ordinary dividends, and capital gain distributions on their return rather than on Form 8615. If so, include Form 8814, Parents’ Election To Report Child's Interest and Dividends, instead of Form 8615 with the parents' tax return.
Note: This is a guide on entering Form 8615 into the TaxSlayer Pro program. This is not intended as tax advice. Refer to the IRS instructions below for more information.