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How to resolve Lacerte diagnostic Ref 826 - Form 8615 must be filed

SOLVEDby IntuitLacerte Tax20Updated September 02, 2021

This article will help resolve the following diagnostic for Form 8615, Tax for Certain Children Who Have Unearned Income:

  • Form 8615, Tax for Certain Children Who Have Investment Income of More Than $2,100 is required for this taxpayer age with investment income of $(amount). (ref #826)

For calculating kiddie tax, investment income is defined as all gross income other than earned income. Earned income, for this purpose, is defined in Internal Revenue Code Section 911(d)(2) and is essentially wages and self-employment income. Anything else included in gross income (1040, Line 22), is considered unearned income, and subject to the kiddie tax. This means unemployment is considered investment income for the kiddie tax.

Certain income including Other Income (Screen 14.1) and Business Income (Screen 16) may be included in this calculation.

Resources from Form 8615 instructions

Investment income

Per Form 8615 instructions, investment income includes:

  • All taxable income other than earned income.
  • Taxable interest, ordinary dividends, capital gains (including capital gain distributions), rents, royalties, etc.
  • Taxable Social Security benefits, pension and annuity income, and income (other than earned income) received as the beneficiary of a trust.

Earned income

As defined on Form 8615, instructions page 2:

  • Earned income includes wages, tips, and other payments received for personal services performed. Generally, it is the total of the amounts reported on Form 1040, Lines 7, 12, or 18; Form 1040A, Line 7; or Form 1040NR, Lines 8, 13 or 19.

Follow these steps for Screen 14, Other Income:

  1. Go to Screen 14.1, SS Benefits, Alimony, Miscellaneous Inc.
  2. Select Alimony and Other Income from the lower left section menu.
  3. Scroll to the field Other Income.
    • The formula for computing investment income is: Total income minus the sums of Lines 7, 12, and 18 of Form 1040.
    • The Other Income would be considered investment income, and if investment income exceeds $2,100, the form must be filed.  

If you don't consider Other Income to be investment income, adjust it as follows:

  1. Go to Screen 43, Certain Children (8615).
  2. Select the Parent's Information section from the left menu.
  3. In the Child's Information subsection, enter the adjustment in Investment income [A].

Follow these steps for Screen 16, Business Income:

  • Go to Screen 16, Business Income (Sch. C).
  • Select the Other Information section from the lower left section menu.
  • By selecting the Not subject to self-employment tax box, you are electing to exclude this income from the calculation of earned income, which in turn treats it as unearned income.
    • The help screen for this code explains this as follows: "Select the box (or enter 1) if the income from this Schedule C isn't subject to self-employment tax. The program won't include the income or loss from this activity on Schedule SE or in earned income."

To treat this as earned income for Form 8615:

  1. Go to Screen 43, Certain Children (8615).
  2. Select the Parent's Information section from the left menu.
  3. In the Child's Information subsection, enter the adjustment in Investment income [A].

This diagnostic will also appear if:

  • The date of birth isn't listed for the taxpayer on Screen 1, Client Information.
  • If the occupation is listed as Student on Screen 1, Client Information.
  • If the parent information is missing on Screen 43, Certain Children (8615) (first name, last name, Social Security, and filing status).
  • The threshold amount in previous years varies; the threshold was increased to more than $2,100 for TY2016.

Related topics

Common questions about using Form 8615 and Form 8814 in Lacerte

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