Put your child to work in real estate

Real Estate Tax Talk

The premier event for luxury agents and brokers
Luxury Connect | Oct. 16-18 | Beverly Hills

Summer jobs for young people have become increasingly hard to find. If your child is just sitting around this summer, think about hiring him or her to work in your real estate business. There are probably lots of things your child can help you with, such as answering phones, helping with your website, stuffing envelopes, or cleaning the office.

Believe it or not, your children’s employment can offer tax savings, too. If you hire your child as an employee to do legitimate work in your real estate business, you may deduct the child’s salary from your business income as a business expense.

Of course, you must take care to comply with all applicable child labor laws. The Fair Labor Standards Act generally "sets 14 as the minimum age for employment, and limits the number of hours worked by minors under the age of 16," according to the U.S. Department of Labor website.

Your child will have to pay tax on the salary only to the extent it exceeds the standard deduction amount for the year, which was $5,800 in 2011. Moreover, if your child is under 18, you won’t have to withhold or pay any FICA (Social Security or Medicare) tax on the salary (subject to a couple of exceptions).