July 2017 Tax News: Tax-free Income & Hiring Your Child

July 2017 Tax news

Tax-free Income

Yes, that’s correct, there are some forms of income you receive that may be tax-free. Here is a list of eight common sources of tax-free income.

  1. Gifts. Gifts you receive are not taxable income to you. In fact, they are not subject to gift tax to the person giving the gift as long as the gifts received in one year from one person do not exceed $14,000.
  2. Rental income. If you rent your home or vacation cottage for up to 14 days, that rental income does not need to be reported. Homeowners often can earn some tax-free income by renting out a home while a large sporting event (Superbowl or a golf event) is in town.
  3. Child’s income. Up to the standard deduction amount ($6,350 in 2017) in earned income (wages) and $1,050 in unearned income (interest) for children is not taxed. Excess earnings above these amounts could be taxed and $2,100 in unearned income is taxed at the parent’s higher tax rate.
  4. Roth IRA earnings. As long as you meet this retirement account type’s rules, earnings in a Roth IRA are not taxed.
  5. Child support revenue. Income you receive as child support is not deemed to be taxable income. On the other hand alimony received is taxable income.
  6. Home sales gains. Up to $250,000 ($500,000 for married filing jointly) in gains on the sale of a qualified principal residence is not taxable.
  7. Scholarships/fellowships. Money received to cover tuition, fees, and books for degree candidates is generally not taxable.
  8. Refunds. Federal refunds (technically you’ve already accounted for this income) and most state refunds for non-itemizers are also tax-free.

This is by no means a complete list of tax-free income, but it’s nice to know that some areas of tax law still benefit taxpayers.

Reap the Benefits of Hiring Your Child for the Summer

Hiring your children to work in your business can be a win-win situation for everyone. Your kids will earn money, gain real-life experience in the workplace, and learn what you do every day. And you will reap a few tax benefits in the process. The following guidelines will help you determine if the arrangement will work in your situation.

  • Make sure your child works a real job that he or she can reasonably handle, no matter how basic or simple. Consider tasks like office filing, packing orders, or customer service.
  • Treat your child like any other employee. Expect regular hours and appropriate behavior. If you are lenient with your child, you risk upsetting other employees.
  • To avoid questions from the IRS, make sure the pay is reasonable for the duties performed. It’s not a bad idea to prepare a written job description for your files. Include a W-2 at year-end.
  • Record hours worked just as you would for any employee. If possible, pay your child using the normal payroll system and procedures your other employees use.
  • Hiring your children works best if you are a sole proprietor. It has additional tax benefits not available if your business is organized as a C corporation or an S corporation.

If you have questions, give us a call. Together we can determine if hiring your child is the right course of action for your business and your family.

Call today

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