Filing Taxes as a Dependent

By | February 25, 2014

Can someone claimed as a dependent file their own tax return?

Sometimes dependents will have their own jobs and wish to file a tax return. Especially for students, if someone claims you as a dependent on their income tax return, this does not mean that you don’t have to file your own tax return. There will be special rules for taxpayers who are dependents and file tax returns. For example, dependents are not allowed to claim their own personal exemption, and sometimes they have a lower standard deduction.


Filing Taxes as a Dependent

The general tax filing rules require taxpayers, who are not dependents, to file a tax return for years their annual income exceeds the sum of the standard deduction plus one personal exemption, or two exemptions if filing a joint return.


Earned Income vs. Unearned Income For Dependent

For purposes of a dependent’s income tax return, the IRS treats earned income differently from unearned income. Earned Income is generally income that is gained by wages. A dependent will need to file a federal income tax return when annual earned income exceeds the standard deduction for a single filer.


Unearned income includes any money you receive

Unearned income includes any money you receive, other than gifts and inheritances, from investments and taxpayers will be required to file a tax return when this exceeds $950. For most dependents, a 1040-EZ can be used to file their returns if their income is from relatively simple sources and their income is under certain thresholds.


Qualifying dependent child

For a qualifying dependent child, there are four basic tests, any one of which requires a federal income tax return to be filed for a given year:

  • The child has unearned income (from investment interest, gains, and so on) above $1,000.
  • The child has earned income above $6,550.
  • Gross income is greater than the larger of $1,000 or earned income (up to $6,200) plus $350.
  • Net earnings from self-employment are $400 or more.


IRS Reference on Filing Taxes as Dependent

IRS Publication 929-Tax Rules for Children and Dependents