(NEXSTAR) — With tax season upon us, there has been plenty of conversation about the Child Tax Credit and the impact it’ll have as you file your taxes. While your dependent children may help you with your tax refund, you may be able to help them get a refund, too.
If you have a child who is under the age of 19 for the entirety of the tax year (or 24 if they’re a full-time student), you can claim them as a dependent if they lived with you for more than half of 2021 and you provide more than half of their financial support. (Those who can’t be claimed as a dependent will have the same obligations to file taxes as any other adult.)
Those dependent children who had a job in 2021 may still have to file their own taxes, even though you can claim them. If they earned $12,550 in income, your child will need to file a tax return, according to Mark Steber, chief tax information officer for Jackson Hewitt Tax Services.
“If they’ve had a job – big job, small job, new job, doesn’t matter – if it had tax withholdings, they can’t get that money back unless they file a tax return,” Steber tells Nexstar. “And so if your kid worked for the summer and made 1,000 bucks or 5,000 bucks or whatever the number is, odds are they had tax withholding and that tax withholding, federal and state, they can’t get that money back unless they file a tax return.”
The same goes for any of your dependents who are in college, says Lisa Greene-Lewis, a CPA and tax expert with TurboTax.
“Every year, [the IRS] reports over a billion dollars in unclaimed refunds and a lot of it belongs to college students who don’t think they should file,” she explains.
If your child is receiving income from sources other than a job, like interest, dividends, and other unearned income, the rules on filing change. Once the total of this income your child received in 2021 surpasses $2,200, it may be subject to a specific tax, according to the IRS.
If the only income your child had in 2021 is interest and dividend income, and the total is less than $11,000, you may be able to include that income on your return rather than filing a separate return.
Ultimately, if you’re uncertain whether your child should file their own return, both Steber and Greene-Lewis suggest speaking with a tax expert.