Having a qualifying child as a dependent can allow you to claim certain tax benefits, including:
- Head of household filing status
- The Child Tax Credit
- The Additional Child Tax Credit
- The Child and Dependent Care Credit
- The Earned Income Tax Credit
- An additional personal exemption for each dependent
In addition to the conditions the child must meet to qualify, there are additional conditions for each of these tax benefits. See the instructions for each benefit for more details.
A child or relative is considered your qualifying child if he or she meets four tests:
- Relationship – The person must be related to you in one of these ways:
- Child or stepchild
- Eligible foster child
- Sibling or step-sibling
- A descendant of any of the above
- Age – At least one of the following must be true:
- Under age 19 at the end of the tax year and younger than the taxpayer claiming the child
- A full-time student under 24 at the end of the year and younger than the taxpayer claiming the child
- Permanently and totally disabled at any time during the year, regardless of age (may be older than the taxpayer claiming the child)
- Residency – The person must have lived with you more than half of the tax year.
- If the child was born or died during the year, the child is considered to have lived with you the entire year.
- Support – The child must have not provided more than half of his or her own support during the year.
If you are divorced or separated from the other parent of the child, or if someone other than yourself can also claim the child as a qualifying child, special rules apply:
- If one of the taxpayers is the parent of the child, that taxpayer will claim the child.
- If more than one of the taxpayers is the parent of the child, the person with whom the child lived the most during the year will claim the child. If the time was equal, the child will be claimed by the parent with the highest adjusted gross income.
- If no taxpayer is the parent of the child, the child will be claimed by the taxpayer with the highest adjusted gross income.