ElectroFile Income Tax Service   Income Tax Service
5200 W Market St
Greensboro, NC 27409
  Terry Hough, President Terry Hough
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March 12, 2016

Never, Ever Let Your Kids File A Tax Return (For Themselves)

I know, you're proud that they got a job and earned some money during the year. And they got a W2 for the year.

Make sure they know not to go online and file a return for themselves! All this advertising on TV and elsewhere saying they can do it for free is very tempting. They can, but it will hurt you every time!

I was reminded of this just yesterday. It happens a few times a year to some of our customers.

A longtime client's college age son went online and filed his own tax return and he claimed himself as a dependent. No problem for him, the IRS accepted the return and he was happy.

Then we completed the parent's return properly including the son as a dependent and claiming the son's educational expenses, etc., it was rejected by the IRS because the dependent's SSN had been filed as the primary taxpayer on another (his own) tax return, and claimed as a dependent (even though he wasn't eligible to do so).

The parent's return cames to a screeching halt!

They are faced with some choices:

See? This situation royally messes up the parent's tax situation. And, the "free" tax return for the son "ain't free" anymore at all!

That is one of the reasons that ElectroFile Income Tax Service has always offered to file a dependent's first tax return for free and provides a discount for subsequent returns for dependent children. The parents should always control the filing of their dependent children's tax returns to protect their own interest.

In summary, DO NOT allow a dependent child to file his own tax return. Dependent children's, including fulltime students up to the age of 24 and in some instances age 26, tax returns should be coordinated with the parent's tax return filing by a competent and trained tax preparer. Otherwise, there is almost always a real fiasco!