You can achieve two goals by employing your children in your family business: you provide your offspring with valuable work experience, and you get a few special tax breaks:

  • If your business is not a corporation, you do not have to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes. Your business can be a sole proprietorship, an LLC, or a partnership.
  • You can deduct your child’s wages as a business expense.
  • If your children’s income is below the standard deduction they receive (currently $6,200 in 2014) they do not have to pay taxes on the income.
  • You can put some of their earnings aside for a Roth IRA, Section 529 college savings plan, or a custodial account that you control until your child reaches the age of twenty-one.


Remember the following:

  • The work your children do must be necessary and essential to your business. They can’t clean the bathroom, for example, but they can file or hand out flyers.
  • You must pay them a reasonable salary.  You cannot pay them an exorbitant rate just for tax savings.  Check to see what employees in your area pay their employees for similar work.
  • You must keep good records, give them paychecks like other employees, and keep a record of how their pay was determined.
  • You should pay them from your payroll; don’t give them cash.


You must comply with all legal requirements for employers:

  • You must fill out a W-4 form and complete the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.
  • You must record the social security number. If your child doesn’t have one, you must apply for it.
  • As the employer, you must have an Employer Identification Number (EIN). If you do not have this number, you can get it by filing IRS Form SS-4.
  • Complete and file a W-2 form with the IRS showing how much you paid your child.


Be sure you understand state and federal child labor laws; an accountant can help you with this.