Paying Your Children in a Dental Practice: Best Practices and Legal Considerations

Children Dental Practice

If you’re a dentist, hiring and compensating your children or grandchildren can be a valuable strategy for minimizing your tax liability while enjoying several additional benefits. In addition to the potential tax advantages, employing family members can create a sense of familiarity and comfort in the workplace. The good news is that no special tax rules are related explicitly to hiring family members.

However, there are important considerations to remember to ensure compliance and maximize the benefits. First and foremost, the family member employed must perform ordinary and necessary work for the dental practice. The wages paid to the family member should align with the nature of the work performed, ensuring reasonableness in compensation.

Regarding compensating children, there are considerations regarding payment methods and potential tax implications. In this blog post, we will explore the requirements for hiring your children and the differences between paying them out of a corporation versus a sole proprietorship, providing insights to help you make informed decisions.

1. Requirements:

In general, you treat family members just like any other employee when it comes to fulfilling tax obligations. Here are the key measures you need to take regarding family members and tax responsibilities:

  • Obtain a W-4 form from each family member you employ and withhold federal and state income taxes based on their chosen allowances.
  • Deduct the necessary amount of FICA taxes from each family member’s paycheck, which includes Social Security and Medicare taxes on their wages.
  • When calculating your company’s unemployment taxes (FUTA) and workers’ compensation taxes, consider the wages paid to family members.
  • If your family members work overtime, you must compensate them 1.5 times their base rate after 40 hours in a workweek, just like you would for other employees.

2. Federal Child Labor Act:

If you’re considering hiring your child to work for your business, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the Federal Child Labor Act. This act establishes specific guidelines regarding the age at which children can be employed, the duration of their work hours, and the type of work they are allowed to perform. For instance, children under 14 years old are generally prohibited from working for any company, and those under 18 are restricted from operating hazardous devices and many types of power tools.

When paying children under 18 years old, you are not required to withhold income or payroll taxes from their earnings. This exemption applies to workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance, as the assumption is that children won’t sue for workplace injuries, and their parent’s health insurance typically covers their medical bills. Additionally, children are not subject to taxes on the first $12,550 of their earned income. When employing children, it’s essential to ensure they perform legitimate job duties and keep accurate records. When paying children 18 years and older, they should also have legitimate job duties, and they won’t be taxed if their income remains below $12,550.

3. Corporation vs. Sole Proprietorship

1. Paying Children out of a Corporation

Salary or Wages:

In a dental practice structured as a corporation, paying children a salary or wage is a common approach. This allows the children to receive a regular income, contributing to their finances while providing valuable work experience. The remuneration paid to children must be reasonable and commensurate with the work performed.

Tax Implications:

When children are paid a salary from a corporation, the practice can deduct the wages as a business expense. This reduces the corporation’s taxable income, potentially resulting in lower corporate taxes. Moreover, the children may fall under a lower tax bracket, leading to reduced personal taxes on their income.

Benefits:

Paying children through a corporation may enable them to access certain benefits. For example, the dental practice may offer healthcare benefits to employees, including family members. However, consulting with a qualified tax advisor is essential to understand the specific rules and regulations regarding benefits for family members.

2.Paying Children out of a Sole Proprietorship

Income Splitting:

In a sole proprietorship, income splitting is a strategy used to distribute income among family members, potentially reducing the overall tax liability. By paying children a reasonable wage for their work, the sole proprietor can shift a portion of the income to lower tax brackets, resulting in tax savings for the family.

Tax Implications:

Unlike a corporation, a sole proprietorship does not benefit from the same level of tax deductions. However, paying children from the sole proprietorship may still provide tax advantages through income splitting. It is crucial to comply with tax regulations and ensure that the wages paid to children are justifiable based on their work.

Simplified Reporting:

A sole proprietorship typically has simpler reporting requirements for payroll and taxes than a corporation. This can make paying children through a sole proprietorship a more straightforward process, reducing administrative burdens for dental practice.

There are distinct differences to consider when it comes to paying children in dental practices, whether out of a corporation or a sole proprietorship. Paying children through a corporation may offer tax deductions for the practice and potentially provide benefits to the children. On the other hand, a sole proprietorship can take advantage of income splitting to reduce the overall tax liability. Understanding the specific tax regulations and seeking advice from a qualified tax professional is crucial to ensure compliance and optimize the financial benefits for both the dental practice and the children.

Remember, the information provided in this blog post is meant to serve as a general guide, and individual circumstances may vary. It is always recommended to consult with a qualified CPA to address the unique aspects of your dental practice and ensure compliance with relevant tax laws and regulations.

If you’re looking for advice, don’t hesitate to contact our experts here.

About Our Experts

Fazel Mostashari is a dental practice expert whose specialty is financial accounting, tax planning, and practice purchase and set up for the dental industry. For over 10 years, Fazel has been the driving force behind the success of many dental practices.

As a proud husband to a dentist, he understands the unique challenges of running a dental practice. Together, they run a thriving, multi-specialty practice in the sunny city of Woodland Hills, CA.

If you’re looking for expert advice, set up a consultation with Fazel.
Fazel Mostashari: Dental Practice Financial Expert

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