If you’re claiming a child you’ve never claimed before on your taxes, it’s natural to feel a little overwhelmed. However, adding a qualifying child to your return is actually pretty easy. Whether you’ve just had a new baby or you’re adding a child you recently became eligible to claim, all it takes is a few minutes to list all the information the Internal Revenue Service requires. When you claim the child, you’ll get an extra exemption, which reduces your taxable income. However, depending on your filing status and income, you may qualify for additional credits that can really boost your tax savings and refunds.
Write the child’s first and last name on line 6c, section 1, of your 1040 or 1040A tax form. The name you write must match Social Security records exactly or your return will be rejected. It’s not OK to use nicknames or abbreviate the child’s name, but you don’t have to spell out his whole middle name – you can write in just the middle initial.
Write the child’s Social Security number on line 6c, section 2. The child needs either a Social Security number or Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number to be claimed on your return.
Describe your relationship with the child on line 6c, section 3. A qualifying child is your own biological or adopted son or daughter, foster child or stepchild; or a dependent relative, such as a niece, nephew, brother, sister or grandchild.
Mark the box on line 6c, section 4, if the child is under age 17 on the last day of the tax year and you qualify for the child tax credit. As of July 2012, you qualify for this credit if the child meets the age limit requirement and your adjusted gross income is less than $75,000 if your filing status is single or head of household, less than $110,000 if you’re married and file a joint return, or less than $55,000 if you’re married and file a separate return.
Include the child in the exemption count boxes on the right side of line 6. In these boxes, you’ll write “1” for yourself and your spouse if you’re married and file a joint return, plus “1” for the child. Add the numbers from each box and write the result on line 6d.
- If the child you claim is a newborn, you can report the child as living with you the whole year, regardless of the month the baby was born.
- With a qualifying child, you may be eligible to claim the Earned Income Credit, child tax credit and dependent care credits. Visit the IRS website for details.
With a background in taxation and financial consulting, Alia Nikolakopulos has over a decade of experience resolving tax and finance issues. She is an IRS Enrolled Agent and has been a writer for these topics since 2010. Nikolakopulos is pursuing Bachelor of Science in accounting at the Metropolitan State University of Denver.