The Benefits of Employing Your Children
by Collin Almeida
How many times a week do you hear, "Mom, I need a new pair of shoes!" or "Dad, can I have money to go to a movie?" Not to mention cost of school supplies, braces, and college tuition that haunt every parent. If you're like average parent, you probably spend several thousand dollars a year providing for all needs and wants of your children. But unlike most Americans, if you are a home-based business owner, you can make those thousands work for you.
The IRS allows you to hire your school-age children as part- time employees for your business. Then, you pay them a reasonable salary for their work that is then used to cover all their expenses. And their salary is completely tax deductible. Plus, as employees, their medical expenses can also count as tax deductions.
For example, if you have two children, one age 10 and another age 17, you can officially and legally hire them to work for you. Perhaps ten year old can clean up your home office or sort mail while older child could answer phones, handle filing, or type correspondence. No matter what responsibilities you elect for your offspring, make sure to prepare a formal employment agreement between you, as business owner, and your child. Make sure your agreement includes a list of duties, compensation arrangement, and any special details you want to have in writing. In addition to official agreement, you can create a job title and description for your new "employee". Not only will this help to audit-proof deduction, it will also clearly spell out for your child what his or her responsibilities are.
There are some restrictions, however. For instance, child's yearly income (according to 2001 tax regulations) can be no more than $4550. Additionally, pay rate must be comparable to similar services offered by professionals. If you are paying your child for vacuuming or dusting, you should contact cleaning services in your area for a written estimate and base his or her wage accordingly. Also, child must maintain a record of his or her work. The log must include date, type of work, time worked, and hourly rate. The last restriction is that child must be paid what he or she earns. So you will need to open separate checking accounts for children in which to deposit their salaries. All expenses then can be covered from that account, including entertainment, clothes, school expenses, or even a car or college tuition.