Tax Guide

Get answers to all your questions about taxes, personal finance, insurance and more.

Taxes for Families

When you're no longer on your own as a single taxpayer, your family tax return will naturally be a bit more complicated. But that's usually a good thing, because it probably means you'll owe less tax.

Step 1. Add Your Family to Your Tax Return

It all starts with who's actually on the return. If you’re doing your taxes with 1040.com, there are two screens that take care of getting everyone present and accounted for:

  • The Name & Address screen is where you enter yourself and your spouse.
  • The Dependent screen is for your children and anyone else you’re claiming as a dependent.

Right off the bat, just getting all your family members added to the return will reduce your taxes. That’s all thanks to the exemption you get for each person. For 2016, that’s worth $4,050 for each person, taken off the top of your taxable income.

See also:
Who Can You Claim as a Dependent?
Claiming a Parent as a Dependent
Claiming a Child When You’re Divorced or Separated

Step 2. Get the Credit(s) You’re Due

Next you’ll want to take advantage of any special credits that you’re eligible for. We cover some of the biggest ones here:

Child Tax Credits
Adoption Credit
Child and Dependent Care Credit

Step 3. Account for Special Situations

Family life has lots of wrinkles – special situations where you’re just not like most families. Thankfully, you have options and tax breaks that can help a lot. See these pages for more information:

Tax Breaks for Foster Parents
Marriage, Divorce and Taxes
Claiming Dependents for Head of Household and the Earned Income Credit
Reporting Alimony and Child Support
Filing as a Widow or Widower