Income Shifting: SAVE Thousands in Taxes

Want to save money in taxes WITHOUT working harder? One way is to shift income from a higher bracket taxpayer to a lower one or even a zero rate-bracket. Typically, splitting the income between family members by hiring them to work in the business will save thousands in taxes. An example is shifting income to your kids by hiring them. It is perfectly legal if done correctly, but if your children are unreasonably paid, the IRS will take notice. Let me give you an example of how this can work.

Jane owned a consulting business. She had two teenage sons that legitimately did work for the business. Some of the tasks they did included vacuuming the offices, emptying trash cans weekly, taking care of recycle and shredding documents, filing receipts, stuffing envelopes and doing yard work outside the office. Jane plans to pay her sons $5,000 each for the year. She was able to shift $10,000 from her higher tax rate to her son’s ZERO tax rate, which saved thousands.  She plans to use this $10,000 to teach her kids about budgeting.

Also, this income shift helped with her personal cash flow because she has the kids help pay for groceries and set aside the money for college. Another thing she plans to do is to put money aside in a Roth IRA for the kids. While the company will need to pay some payroll taxes, the savings far outweigh the cost. Another benefit is that her sons will learn basic knowledge of how she runs her business.  What a GREAT tax deduction for her business – and it was EASY!

Here are some facts and tips around income shifting:

  • Your kids can be any age
  • They need to keep a time card for work done – documentation is key
  • The work needs to be appropriate for the age and skill level
  • Depending on the situation, your child may not have to file a tax return
  • Consider helping parents or grandchildren who might be in lower income brackets

Depending on your business entity, you can also reduce self-employment taxes with this strategy. For corporations, it is a great way to reduce the taxable income. If you are a sole proprietor, there are some taxes the kids don’t have to pay in their paycheck. And, the IRS allows this, but they don’t volunteer the information to you.

Don’t get this strategy confused with gifting money to your child.  When gifting, there is no work involved.  Also, don’t get this shifting of income mixed up when parents move investment income (interest, dividends and capital gains) to their children.  That is called the “kiddie tax.”

Income shifting works well under specific situations, and not everyone can meet the requirements.  Depending on your situation, you may be able to take advantage of the income shifting opportunity, so feel free to reach out to us if you want to discuss your options.