My Child Started Working. Can I Claim Them as a Dependent on My Tax Return?

Here’s a question we get all the time: When your child starts working, can you still claim them as a dependent on your taxes?


This is a question we get ALL the time. When your child starts working, can you still claim them as a dependent on your tax return? | Accounting Plus Bookkeeping, Payroll and Accounting for individuals and small businesses in Columbia, MO

Many people have a misconception that when their children begin working, they can no longer claim them as dependents, but that’s not true.

Let’s say you have a 16 year old who just started their first job this past year. When January rolls around, they receive their first ever W-2. Now it’s tax season and you’re starting to think about filing. What do you do?

Well, as the parent it’s important to know that your child’s W-2 does not go on your tax return – it goes under theirs.

If you’re still paying at least half of their support expenses, your child is still considered your dependent even if they’re now working.

But remember: their income isn’t going to you, it’s going to them. Because they’re earning money (but are still supported by you), they should file a dependent tax return.

So what’s a dependent tax return?

A dependent tax return is simply the type of tax return a dependent files. So in this situation, your 16 year old child who still has at least half of his or her expenses paid by you would file a dependent return. 

Often young workers who have just started their first job don't make enough money to owe taxes. However, taxes are still being withheld out of their paycheck.

Filing a dependent tax return is a way to get those withholdings back. 

In addition to getting withholdings back, filing a dependent return is a great way to help your child start understanding how filing tax returns work. Since filing tax returns is an experience they’ll face throughout their working life, beginning to file as soon as your child starts working offers valuable life experience. 

Filing a dependent tax return is only $30 through us here at Accounting Plus. Get in contact with us today and we can set up a free consultation to figure out the best fit for you!