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 just started an new job and trying to figure what to put on my w4. I usually put married 1 but we are expecting a child this year in August. My new supervisor help me fill out the w4 and i think it may be wrong. He put me married 4 and usually with my married 1 I get a small tax refund. What is my best bet to at least break even and not have to pay taxes? My income is $50k yr and my spouse does ot work and we are expecting a child. Please help so confused.

  2. I am a single mother head of household with 4 children 5 And under I only received child tax credit for 3 of my 4 children.

  3. As much as I hate to ask, let me begin by saying that my husband is the only one who can work. I don’t know what happened with the w9 but, he had no federal tax withheld. Can we still claim our two babies and possibly get a refund? We’re pretty desperate to get a refund so we can get back into a home and out of the motel room!


  4. We adopted a child in 2017 and we foster 1 other child can we can the child we fostered on our tax return and the child tax credit

    1. If you foster child was placed with you by a court or authorized agency, and they meet all other qualifying dependency tests, you may be able to claim them on your return to receive the child tax credit.

    1. Once your mom meets the IRS requirements to claim your kids as her dependents she can include them on her tax return. Below are 5 tests that will qualify a child as a dependent:

      – Relationship: Must be your child, adopted child, foster-child, brother or sister, or a descendant of one of these (grand or nephew).
      – Residence: Must have the same residence for more than half the year.
      – Age: Must be under age 19 or under 24 and a full-time student for at least 5 months. They can be any age if they are totally and permanently disabled.
      – Support: Must not have provided more than half of their own support during the year.
      – Joint Support: The child cannot file a joint return for the year.

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