How to File Taxes When One's Child Receives Social Security Benefits

Filing taxes is an annual chore that most people dread, and if you're not well-versed in tax law, an extra means of income can add to the confusion. If you have a child that is receiving Social Security benefits from his other parent or due to a disability, you're probably wondering how to go about claiming that income when you file your taxes. When it comes to income of a minor, the Internal Revenue Service has clear guidelines on if and when the benefits must be declared.

Step 1

Determine whether your child had other income for the year. A child's Social Security benefits are considered to be the child's income, not yours, and are typically not taxable. While most children will not need to file a tax return, if they have unearned income greater than $900 or earned income greater than $5,450 (not including Social Security benefits), they might need to file. Typically, a child who has only Social Security as an income will not need to file taxes.

Step 2

Confirm that your child is not taking themselves as an exemption on their taxes. If your child is receiving Social Security benefits and does need to file an income tax return due to other earnings, make sure she does not take herself as an exemption. Typically, this will be a check box on the tax return form that states, "If someone can claim you as a dependent, check the box below." The child will be asked to fill out a worksheet, which will confirm that her income is below the standards set.

Step 3

Declare your child as a dependent on your own tax return form by filling out his name, relationship and Social Security number in the "Exemptions" area. Typically, for you to take your child as an exemption, the child must be younger than 19 at the end of the filing year, a full-time student under the age of 24 at the end of the filing year or totally and permanently disabled, regardless of age.

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