How Many Kids Can You Claim on Taxes?

Kids are great! But they can be taxing…in more ways than one.

Growing up, my parents would always give me an increase on my allowance around April. They would say it was to teach me how to budget my money. Not to sell out my parents or anything but now I know that they were able to give me a little extra once a year because they were getting more back from the IRS after filing and claiming me as a dependent.

Let’s just say, those little bonuses stopped once I began filing my own taxes.

Is there a limit to how many dependents I can claim on my tax return?

No, there is no maximum amount of dependents you’re allowed to claim on your tax return. You can claim all dependents who are qualified child dependents according to IRS rules. Consider it a token of appreciation for supporting the ever-increasing costs of diapers, astronomical college tuition fees and for simply putting food on the table each night.

What qualifies a child as my dependent?

You may see this question to have a simple answer if you are married parents filing a joint return. However, for single parents, married parents who file separately or other relatives, the answer is not as clear.

A qualifying child dependent has slightly different requirements than a qualifying relative dependent does. In order to be considered a qualifying child dependent, they must meet all of the following requirements:

  • The child must be a U.S. citizen, national, resident or a resident of Mexico or Canada.
  • The child cannot be claimed by someone else or themselves if they are also taking the personal exemption.
  • If the child is filing a tax return, they cannot be claiming a dependent.
  • The child cannot be filing a joint tax return.
  • The child must be your son, daughter, stepchild, brother, sister, eligible foster child, half sibling, stepsibling, or adopted child. He/she can also qualify if they are an offspring of any of the above.
  • The child must have lived with you for more than half of the year.
  • The child must be under 19 years old. If the child is a full-time student, they must be under 24 years old. There is no age limit if the child is totally and permanently disabled.
  • You must have provided more than half of the child’s annual financial support.

How much is each dependent child worth on my tax return?

Each child claimed as a dependent reduces your taxable income by $4,000. Contrary to popular belief, this does not mean that $4,000 will be added to your refund or directly deducted from your tax bill. It means that the income amount that you are being taxed on is reduced which ultimately reduces your tax bill (or increases your refund amount).

Although claiming a dependent or two on your tax return opens the door to qualifying for the Child Tax Credit, it does not guarantee it.

Can I claim the Child Tax Credit?

Claiming a dependent on your tax return reduces your taxable income while claiming the child tax credit reduces your tax due amount directly. A tax credit reduces your tax bill dollar-for-dollar and each child is worth up to $1,000. To read more about qualifying for the credit, check out our article all about it HERE!

When you create an account with Rapidtax, our application will automatically let you know if you qualify for the Child Tax Credit after entering in your income and dependent information.

Happy filing!


94 Replies to “How Many Kids Can You Claim on Taxes?”

  1. Your brother is a relative so he is legally allowed to as long as you all were live together.
    My boy friend can not claim my son who is not biologically his that would be a illegal example.
    You can claim your children you may get audited but you would not have to pay money back.
    If your audited you wont get your refund till August sept.
    Your friend let a stranger file her kids that is illegal so since she claimed her kids n they found out a stranger or non relative who dont live with her filed them now your friend has to pay the IRS back the money she collected.

  2. I have a question. My friend said she let a complete stranger claim her daughter on his income taxes. He gave her a portion of the money. A year later, she got a job at last, she claimed her own daughter. She got audited and had to pay irs back the money for 2 years for claiming her.

    I let my brothers claim my kids for years, since they lived with me and supported them. This year I finally got a job. My friend said DO NOT CLAIM MY OWN KIDS ON MY TAXES. She said if I do that, I will get in trouble, because I let my brothers claim my kids for years. My question is will I get in trouble for claiming my own kids now?

    1. Marisleysis,
      You can claim your children on your return as long they lived with you and you provided for them financially. Be sure to have documentation of residence, school, and expenses.

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