Dental Summer Help: Should Your Kids Work for You?

It’s summertime! For dentists, that means you’re in the middle of your busiest months of the year. If you have older kids – teenagers in high school or college-age – who are home for the summer, isn’t it maddening sometimes watching them lay about while you work all day? Solve two problems at once: bring your kids to work with you!

There are several daily tasks that older kids can help with around your practice. Plus, the salary you pay your children can be tax deductible.

Appropriate Tasks

Depending on the age of your child, he or she can help with the following daily duties.

  • Restock and reorganize dental supplies
  • Clean and restock the coffee/tea/drink station
  • Organize the waiting room: restock reading material, tidy up, vacuum
  • Restock the office pantry
  • Stuff and stamp envelopes for mailing
  • Distribute brochures and flyers to local businesses
  • Remove trash
  • Scan and shred documents
  • Maintain the outside, such as weeding, cleaning windows, picking up trash in parking lot (if you own the building; if you rent, check with your landlord)
  • Wipe and sanitize counters, chairs, and other surfaces
  • Fill goodie bags

For older, college-age children, they can also help with higher level tasks, such as:

  • Making phone calls to confirm appointments
  • Help with social media, the website, or the e-newsletter
  • Take office photographs
  • Attend community events to promote the practice

If your child is attending dental school or in a pre-dental program, consider adding them as a summer intern. They can shadow you, your dental assistant, or hygienist, and help with basic patient care as allowed by state law.

Tax Benefits

There are a few things you should know about the current tax benefits of employing your child. Under current law, they can earn up to $12,000 before paying tax on any earnings. Assuming your child is a dependent, you can deduct the cost of his wages from your business income, thereby reducing the amount of business income subject to taxes. How much you deduct depends on your tax bracket. If your dental practice is unincorporated, as most are, and your child is under 18, the wages you pay are not subject to FICA taxes.

Remember to keep an actual record of payroll, scheduling, and job descriptions. You must pay your child in real wages, not cash under the table or other bonuses, to get any tax benefits. And, your child must be a dependent. You can always recruit employees’ children to work in the office, and while you can treat their payment as an internship or entry-level position, because they’re not your dependent, you can’t claim the additional tax benefits.  

For questions on hiring your children in your dental practice, contact our office here.