The practice of hiring your children as a tax-saving strategy can be a valuable tool for savvy parents and business owners alike. Optima Tax Relief reviews how this approach not only provides practical benefits for family businesses but also offers significant tax advantages under certain conditions. 

Understanding the Strategy 

Hiring your children for your business can be a beneficial strategy, both in terms of imparting valuable skills and responsibilities to them and in terms of tax advantages for your business. To do this, determine the tasks and roles within your business that are suitable for your children based on their age, skills, and interests. Consider tasks that are necessary and appropriate for business operations. Examples may include administrative tasks, clerical work, customer service, or specific projects. 

Next, determine the wages or salaries that you will pay your children for their work. It's crucial that the compensation is reasonable and aligns with what you would pay a non-family employee for similar work in similar circumstances. Create an employment agreement outlining the terms of employment, including job description, hours of work, wages or salary, and any other relevant employment conditions. Pay your children's wages or salaries on a regular and consistent basis, as you would with any other employee. 

Key Tax Benefits 

1. Income Shifting: Parents can allocate earnings that would otherwise be taxed at their higher rates to their children, who typically face lower tax liabilities. This reduces the overall tax burden on the family unit. 

2. Deductible Business Expense: Wages paid to children for legitimate work performed in the family business are considered a deductible expense. This reduces the taxable income of the business, potentially lowering the family's overall tax liability. 

3. Tax-Free Income for Children: Depending on the amount earned and the child's tax status, income received by children may be entirely tax-free or taxed at a lower rate. This is advantageous because children often have lower income thresholds before taxes apply, making their earnings more tax-efficient. 

Compliance and Considerations 

While hiring children for tax benefits is permissible and advantageous, it's crucial to adhere to IRS guidelines: 

1. Legitimate Work: Children must perform actual work that is necessary and appropriate for the business's operations. Documentation of tasks performed and hours worked is crucial for substantiating the legitimacy of their employment. 

2. Fair Compensation: Wages paid to children should reflect what would be paid to non-family employees for similar work. This ensures that the arrangement is seen as legitimate by tax authorities and avoids scrutiny during audits. 

3. Recordkeeping: Maintaining thorough records of work performed, tasks completed, and payments made is essential. These records serve as evidence to support the employment arrangement and deductions claimed on tax returns. 

Other Considerations 

Start involving children in the family business as soon as they can perform meaningful tasks. This allows for the accumulation of income over time, maximizing tax-saving opportunities. Seek advice from a tax advisor or accountant who specializes in small business taxation. They can provide tailored guidance on structuring the employment arrangement and maximizing tax benefits while ensuring compliance with IRS regulations. 


In summary, hiring children in a family business is not only a strategic way to impart work experience and financial responsibility but also a savvy tax-saving tactic. By shifting income to children who are in lower tax brackets and leveraging deductible business expenses, families can optimize their tax strategy effectively. However, meticulous compliance with IRS rules, including substantiating work performed and maintaining accurate records, is essential to fully realize the benefits of this approach.