Most children don't have a lot of income and so don't have to pay much in income tax. But one provision meant to prevent parents from using their kids as tax shelters could stick children with higher tax bills this year.

In the following video, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, looks at how the so-called "kiddie tax" provisions combine with new surtaxes on net investment income to raise kids' tax bills. Essentially, once children earn more than $2,000 in investment income, they have to pay taxes at their parents' higher rates. Dan notes that if the parents are subject to the net investment income surtax of 3.8%, then the kiddie-tax rules will impose that surtax on their children's returns. Dan concludes that it's important to know the limits on taking advantage of your children's lower tax rates to avoid paying more tax than you need to pay.

Take advantage of this little-known government tax rule
Recent tax increases have affected nearly every American taxpayer. But with the right planning, you can take steps to take control of your taxes and potentially even lower your tax bill. In our brand-new special report "The IRS Is Daring You to Make This Investment Now!," you'll learn about the simple strategy to take advantage of a little-known IRS rule. Don't miss out on advice that could help you cut taxes for decades to come. Click here to learn more.

Dan Caplinger and The Motley Fool have no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.