How to List a Stepchild on Your Tax Return

Include a stepchild with other dependents on your income tax form.

Include a stepchild with other dependents on your income tax form.

The Internal Revenue Service has clear guidelines about how taxpayers can claim dependent children on income tax returns. If you’ve got a blended family, you can list a stepchild on your tax return as long as you meet all criteria set by the IRS.

Step 1

Read the IRS criteria for claiming a stepchild. Your stepchild must live with you for more than six months of the calendar year, and the child has to be younger than you are unless the child has a permanent disability. In addition, the child must be under 19 (or under 24 if a student), can’t have provided over half of his own support and no one else can claim the child for the same year.

Step 2

Add your stepchild’s name on line 6c, column 1 of IRS Form 1040 or 1040A. Add your stepchild’s Social Security number on line 6c, column 2. Enter your stepchild’s relationship to you on line 6c, column 3 – “stepson” or “stepdaughter.” Place a checkmark in the box in column 4 if the stepchild is under 17 and qualifies for the child tax credit.

Step 3

Add this stepchild into the number of dependents that you add for boxes 6a and 6b of the form. Place the total number of dependents in box 6d.

Step 4

Sign and date the income tax form and file it with the IRS.


  • If you haven’t lived with your stepchild for more than six months of the calendar year, you may still be able to claim the child as a dependent if you and your spouse have an agreement with the other parent about who will claim the child. Often separated or divorced parents alternate years for claiming a child as a dependent. Attach IRS Form 8332 to your income tax return to inform the IRS of this agreement.
  • List more than six dependents by including a separate statement with all of the information required in the columns in line 6 of the income tax form.

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.

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