Can You Claim a Baby Who Was Just Born on Your Taxes?

by W D Adkins, Demand Media
    Your new baby comes loaded with tax breaks.

    Your new baby comes loaded with tax breaks.

    A lot of things change when you have a child. One of those things is your income tax regarding the deductions and credits you get. You can claim a baby who was just born on your taxes. To get the maximum tax benefit, get clued in on what steps to take and what deductions and credits you may be able to claim.

    Social Security Number

    A newborn baby come with a $3,800 dependent tax deduction as standard equipment as of 2012. You get the entire tax deduction for the year the baby is born, even if she arrives on Dec. 31. However, your new child must have a Social Security number before you can claim her as a dependent or get any other tax benefits you may be entitled to. You can apply for the Social Security number when you apply for the birth certificate at the hospital. Alternatively, download Form SS-5 from the Social Security Online website and submit it to the Social Security Administration along with a certified copy of the birth certificate.

    Qualifying Child

    Normally, the Internal Revenue Service says a qualifying child for tax purposes must be a resident of your home for at least half of the year. This rule is waived for children born during the year. If you and your spouse do not file a joint return, you must be the custodial parent to claim the dependent deduction and any other tax benefits. If you are claimed as a dependent by another person, you cannot claim the tax deduction. However, the person who claims you as a dependent can normally claim your newborn baby a well.

    Tax Credits

    You may be able to claim up to three tax credits for your newborn baby in addition to the dependent tax exemption. The credits are the Child Tax Credit, Child Care Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit. Eligibility for each is determined based on your filing status, number of children and income. The eligibility requirements are different for each tax credit and are adjusted from year to year. You can find current figures on the IRS website at IRS.gov. As with the dependent tax deduction, if you qualify for tax credits, you may claim them even if the baby was born at the end of the year.

    Withholding

    Most people have payroll taxes deducted from their paychecks. The IRS says you should file an updated W-4 from with your employer within 10 days of an event such as the birth of a baby. By claiming additional withholding allowances, you will have less income tax deducted from your wages or salary. That way, you can start enjoying the tax benefits right away. Depending on your eligibility, you may be able to claim withholding allowances for the dependent tax exemption, Child Tax Credit and Child Care Tax Credit. You cannot claim a withholding allowance for the Earned Income Tax Credit. You can claim the EITC only when you file your tax return.

    About the Author

    Based in Atlanta, Georgia, W D Adkins has been writing professionally since 2008. He writes about business, personal finance and careers. Adkins holds master's degrees in history and sociology from Georgia State University. He became a member of the Society of Professional Journalists in 2009.

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