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. Hi i have a 18 month baby that his dad is going to claim for the first time this year is it true that because is the first year being claim people get a bonus

    1. It not a matter of it being a newborn child that you receive a larger bonus or credit on your return, but in essence, because you are claiming another individual on your return, you will have additional credits and exemptions that you previously were unqualified to take.

  2. Hello I have 2 questions. 1) If you haven’t allowed them to take out federal taxes will I still receive a income tax check?
    2) What if my stepkids been living with us for more than half the year and there mother claims she’s going to claim them is there any way I could stop her or still claim them?

    1. You will receive a refund check if you are eligible, with the tax information that you submit when you file. This is not dependent on whether or not you claimed exempt on your W-4.

      Regardless of who claimed the dependents, you must ensure that you have the proper documentation if requested by the IRS to prove that you have the right to claim for the children.

  3. I make around 5,000 a year babysitting I have 3 year old can i do Tex and get something back or do I not make enough to do this

  4. Hi, I’ve been helping my friend raise her two of her kids for this past year and she told me that since I helped her that I would be able to claim them both. They weren’t living with me, but most of my time and money were spent on the two children, so Is this a safe thing to do? Is it okay if I claim both? We just want to make sure we don’t get in trouble with the IRS.

    1. When claiming a non-relative on your tax return as dependents, one requirement is that they live with you for the full year. Provided through their website is a list of questions that you can go through for further explanation on this situation.

  5. Hi im letting my boyfriend of 2yrs claim me and my 2yr old son on his taxes he already has 3 kids of his own amd provides everything for all of us. Im wanting to know if he would get more on his taxe return by claiming us or if it would just b a deduction? I was told that after claiming 3 kids anyother children you claim will just be a deduction is this true? Or will he recieve more on the return?

    1. Hello Brittnie,

      Claiming you and your child could definitely benefit your boyfriend. However, whether he would receive a higher refund or just a deduction is dependent on many factors specific to his tax return. He could try using our site for free to determine these questions and call our free customer lines to better answer questions with his information entered. Create an Account Today!

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