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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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