||2001 Tax Year
Responsibility for Child's Return
Generally, the child is responsible for filing his or her own tax
return and for paying any tax, penalties, or interest on that return.
If a child cannot file his or her own return for any reason, such as
age, the child's parent or guardian is responsible for filing a return
on his or her behalf.
Signing the child's return.
If the child cannot sign his or her return, a parent or guardian
can sign the child's name in the space provided at the bottom of the
tax return. Then, he or she should add: "By (signature), parent (or
guardian) for minor child."
Authority of parent or guardian.
A parent or guardian who signs a return on a child's behalf can
deal with the IRS on all matters connected with the return.
In general, a parent or guardian who does not sign the child's
return can only provide information concerning the child's return and
pay the child's tax. That parent or guardian is not entitled to
receive information from the IRS or legally bind the child to a tax
liability arising from the return.
Third party designee.
Beginning with the 2001 return, a child's parent or guardian who
does not sign the child's return may be authorized, as a third party
designee, to discuss the processing of the return with the IRS as well
as provide information concerning the return. The child or the person
signing the return on the child's behalf must check the "Yes" box
in the "Third Party Designee" area of the return and name the
parent or guardian as the designee.
If designated, a parent or guardian can respond to certain IRS
notices and receive information about the processing of the return and
the status of a refund or payment. This designation does not authorize
the parent or guardian to receive any refund check, bind the child to
any tax liability, or otherwise represent the child before the IRS.
See the return instructions for more information.
Designated as representative.
A parent or guardian who does not sign the child's return may be
designated as the child's representative by the child or the person
signing the return on the child's behalf. Form 2848,
Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, is
used to designate a child's representative. See Publication 947,
Practice Before the IRS and Power of Attorney, for more
If designated, a parent or guardian can receive information about
the child's return but cannot legally bind the child to a tax
liability unless authorized to do so by the law of the state in which
the child lives.
If you or the child receives a notice from the IRS concerning the
child's return or tax liability, you should immediately inform the IRS
that the notice concerns a child. The notice will show who to contact.
The IRS will try to resolve the matter with the parent(s) or
guardian(s) of the child consistent with their authority.
For federal income tax purposes, the income a child receives for
his or her personal services (labor) is the child's, even if, under
state law, the parent is entitled to and receives that income.
If the child does not pay the tax due on this income, the parent
may be liable for the tax.
Deductions for payments that are due to the child's earnings are
the child's, even if the payments are made by the parent.
You made payments on your child's behalf that are deductible as a
business expense and a charitable contribution. You made the payments
out of your child's earnings. These items can be deducted only on the
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