Determine the child's age. Form 8615 is filed for children who at the end of the year are under the age of 18. Additionally, it should be filed for full-time students above 18 but under 24 years at the end of the year. In determining the age of the child, the IRS provides a chart on how to determine the age of a child born at the beginning of the year. A child born on January 1, 1983, for example, is considered 18 at the end of 2010, and therefore does not need to file.
Determine the child's investment income. The kiddie tax is only applicable when the investment income of the child is more than $1,900. Form 8615 should also be filed for children who at the end of the year were 18 years of age, but whose earned income was not more than one-half the child support. This also applies to full-time students between the ages of 18 and 24. The IRS defines "child support" as all the amounts used to provide the child with food, clothing, shelter, education, medical care and other necessities but excludes scholarships provided to full-time students.
Choose between filing by the child or the parent. An additional condition that must be met for the filing of Form 8615 is that one of the parents must be alive at the end of the year. When both parents are alive and file jointly, the IRS requires that the name and Social Security number of the parent whose name appears first in the joint returns be listed on Form 8615. Additional instructions govern filing instructions where the parents are divorced or separated.