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Unlocking Tax Benefits: Paying Your Kids from Your Business as Sole Proprietorships, Partnerships, & Corporations

April 20th, 2024 | 5 min. read

By Bryan Cremeen

When you own a small business, you have the freedom to hire the employees you want – provided they meet the legal requirements to work. 

For parents, the thought of hiring your kids can be pretty appealing. You already know their personalities and work ethic, plus, you can help them save up personal funds for things like a car or higher education.

At CSI Accounting & Payroll, we’ve worked with small businesses for over 50 years. Many of them have considered hiring their children, and they’ve asked us:

  • Can I pay my kids from my business?
  • How do different entities pay their kids?
  • How much can I pay my kids tax-free?

Can You Pay Your Kids From Your Business?

Yes, you can pay your kids from your business if they work for you! Again, this is if they meet the legal requirements to work.

You would pay your taxes at a higher rate in your tax bracket, but hiring your kids to work for you is a good way to take the money and put it into a lower (or zero) tax bracket. In a way, it’s a legal income shift.

If you were planning to help your kids pay for a large purchase or investment like a car or higher education anyway, this method helps save you in taxes!

Not sure which pay methods to use when you hire your child (or anyone else)? Check out this guide on how to pay your employees!

How Do Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, & Corporation Owners Pay Their Kids?

Whether you own a Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, S-Corporation, or C-Corporation, you can hire your child to work for you. Let’s dive into the benefits of hiring your child under each entity.

Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships Employing Their Kids

This is where the benefits that are unique to entities lay, regardless of how much you pay your kids. 

If you hire your child and they are under 18 years old, they are not subject to FICA taxes (Social Security and Medicare), federal unemployment taxes, or most state unemployment taxes.

If you hire your child and they are under 21 years old, they still get some tax benefits. They are not subject to federal unemployment taxes or some states’ unemployment taxes.

S-Corporations and C-Corporations Employing Their Kids

S-Corps and C-Corps don’t get the tax benefits that Sole Props and Partnerships do. 

However, you still get to use the benefit that’s generic for all business entity types. We outline this benefit in the next section.

How Much Can You Pay Your Kids Tax-Free?

If you’re interested in only paying your child a tax-free wage, you need to know the income limit. 

As long as your child doesn’t have another job and performs bonafide, legitimate work for your business, you can pay up to $14,600 per year (tied to the federal standard deduction). You’ll get the deduction on your business tax return, and they won’t owe any income tax since they’re under the standard filing limit.

This wage-related benefit is available to all business entities. It’s the only one that S-Corps and C-Corps can use, but it can be stacked onto the age-related benefit that only Sole Props and Partnerships can use. (An easy way to remember who gets the benefits is “For Corporations, only wage. For Sole Props and Partnerships, wage and age.”)

Even better yet, if your business offers Roth retirement plans, they can hold the funds in it for at least five years, and then take the principal out of it tax-free. Then, even though they didn’t pay tax on it, your business can still get a tax deduction for it.

Maximize Your Tax Benefits!

Now that you know how different entities pay their kids and how to pay your kids tax-free, are you ready to check out monthly accounting services?

If so, please consider CSI Accounting & Payroll! After all, tax laws are constantly changing! For current tax benefits of paying your kids, be sure to talk to an expert.

To see if we can be a good fit for your business, click the button below for a free consultation:

Not ready to talk? That’s okay! First, learn more about what you need to know about taxes by clicking the image below:

Bryan Cremeen

Bryan joined CSI Accounting in 2019. He joined the team after CSI purchased his accounting firm, AccountSource LLC, which he had owned since 2005. He graduated from St. Cloud State in 2001 with a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting and has been an Enrolled Agent since 2010. Before owning his own accounting practice, Bryan had worked at the State of MN handling financial reporting and had been in private industry as a Controller. His primary responsibilities include overseeing the accounting department and making sure clients are receiving quality service. Fun Fact: Bryan has played soccer since the age of 4. He still plays soccer year round through various adult leagues and is an avid supporter of the Minnesota United MLS soccer team. COYL!!! (Come on, you Loons!!!)