What You Need to Know About Claiming Your Dependent Child

Here’s what you should know about claiming a dependent child on your taxes…

When filing your taxes, you’ll want to report the expenses that come along with the responsibilities of raising a child.

One way to do this is by claiming your child as a dependent. Each dependent you claim on your tax return will lower your total taxable income by one exemption. That means you’ll end up receiving a larger tax refund!

Keep in mind, however, each dependent can only be claimed by one tax filer. Additionally, the dependent you’re claiming must qualify as either of the following:

  1. a qualifying child
  2. a qualifying relative

Who is considered a Qualifying Child Dependent?

In order to claim someone as your qualifying child, he or she must meet the following criteria:

  • Be your biological or adopted child, stepchild, foster child, sibling, half-sibling, stepsibling, or a descendant of one of these
  • They are under the age of 19, or  if a full-time student, under age 24 (There is no age limit if the child is permanently disabled.)
  • Be a U.S. citizen or U.S. resident, or a resident of Canada or Mexico
  • Unmarried, or married but not filing a joint return
  • Have lived with you for at least half the year, unless absent due to illness, education, business, vacation, or military service
  • Have not provided more than half of his or her own support

How do I claim my dependent child using RapidTax?

If you can claim a child as a dependent on your 2014 Tax Return, it’s a good idea to do so. After all, doing so will leave you with a larger refund.

To claim your child using RapidTax, you’ll first need to create an account. After you’ve entered your basic information (name, address, etc.),  you’ll have the option to add a dependent. At this point, you need to enter the dependent’s basic information. This includes your child’s full name along with the following details:

  • date of birth
  • relationship to you
  • social security number
  • the number of months he or she lived with you
  • income earned

After entering this information, be sure to click the green “Save & Go” button.  Once saved, you’ll have the option to report additional dependents.

Ready to start your 2014 Tax Return? Create an account. Within minutes, you’ll have your dependent’s information reported and your 2014 taxes complete!

Photo via Philippe Put on Flickr

4 Replies to “What You Need to Know About Claiming Your Dependent Child”

  1. Can a grandmother claim my child in January if the mother lives with her and my child was just born 3 months prior in November? Also how do I find out if she was claimed? One more what if we moved in together half way through the year and split up in January who claims her? The mother or grandmother didn’t let IRS know she moved either.

    1. Hello Oscar,

      The qualifying child can be claimed by whoever she lived with the most. To be eligible for the earned income tax credit, the taxpayer will need to make under a certain income limit based on the tax year. As for finding out if a dependent was claimed, the IRS does not disclose this information. However, there are tiebreaker rules and whoever earns the most income can claim the qualifying child if both parents want to claim the child. To dispute any dependent claims, you will need to file a tax return claiming your dependent along a cover letter explaining the situation. Then the IRS will determine who is eligible to claim the dependent based on the circumstances. We advise that you contact the IRS directly for further information at 800-829-1040.

  2. I am a single mother that has been on disability for the last 11 years never once have I filed taxes to claim my children. The other day a bright lady that I’ve become friends with has asked me why I haven’t filed taxes on my two kids. I stated that I didn’t think you could since I’ve been on disability. She stated that doesn’t matter they still need to be claimed. So my question is do I need to claim them on the taxes even though I am on disability?

    1. Hi Rhonda,

      You don’t necessarily need to file if you fit the requirements to not do so. However, if you have dependents, it could be a smart move. If you are eligible to claim the Additional Child Tax Credit, then that could mean you are due a refund from the IRS. There are also a number of other credits that could contribute to you receiving a refund.

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