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  • Writer's pictureTRS CPA

Employment Tax Considerations When Hiring Parents or Children

Business owners need to consider things besides family dynamics when hiring their parents or children. One of those things is employment taxes. Generally, payments made for services rendered to a child by a parent's business or to a parent from a child's business are subject to income tax withholding. But these payments may or may not be subject to employment taxes depending on who is the employer and the age of the child. Child works for parent

When a child works for a parent's sole proprietorship in which each partner is the child's parent:

  • Payments for the child's services are subject to income tax withholding. But, payments for the services of a child under age of 18 are not subject to social security and Medicare taxes, while payments to a child over age 18 are.

  • Payments for the services of a child under age of 21 are not subject to Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA). Payments to children over 20 are.

In all other circumstances, i.e., the child works for the parent's corporation, non-parental partnership or estate, the employer treats the child's wages like those of any other employee.


Parents working for child

The tax situation changes when a parent works for their child's sole proprietorship. In this case, payments for the parent's services are subject to income, social security and Medicare tax, but are not subject to FUTA tax.


In other situations, the child's entity treats the parent's wages like those of any other employee.


Parent's performing nonbusiness services

Need childcare? Hire your parent. Payments for services of a parent are not subject to social security and Medicare taxes, unless the payments are for domestic services and each of the following apply:

  • The child hires their parent to take care of a child or stepchild (grandchild) living in the child's home.

  • The child can't care for the grandchild (or step-grandchild) for at least four continuous weeks due to mental or physical condition, and

  • The grandchild (or step-grandchild) is under age 18 or requires adult care for at least four continuous weeks due to a mental or physical condition.

Note: This means a child's payments to a parent for childcare that enables the child to work aren't subject to social security and Medicare taxes.


Payment for a parent's personal services are not subject to FUTA.


For more information about family members as employees for withholding purposes, please feel free to contact us.

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