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Can I Claim a Child on My Tax Return?

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Education for Justice
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NOTE: Most of the new changes in tax law DO NOT affect your 2017 taxes. The new rules matter when you file your 2018 taxes next year.
Claiming a child on your tax return can lower your taxes and raise your refund. You can claim a “qualifying child” or “qualifying relative” as dependent. A “qualifying child” can also be claimed for the EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit). There are 3 ways that claiming a child can help on your taxes.
 
  • A child can be your dependent and give you a “deduction.” This is subtracted from your income before your taxes are figured. Lower income means less tax.
     
  • It can put you in a different filing status so you pay a lower tax.
     
  • You can get the child tax credit, and if you meet the rules, you can get the EITC.
     

There are rules about whether you can claim a child for taxes. You must follow the rules. If you don’t, you can lose the right to file for the EITC or Child Tax Credit in the future, or you may have to pay refund money back to the state or the IRS or pay more taxes and other penalties. Some of these things are complicated.

You can get free help with your taxes if you have a low-income or are a senior citizen or disabled. To find help near you, call (651) 297-3724 or First Call for Help statewide at 211, or 1 (800) 543-7709 from a cell phone. First Call for Help can also help you get information in your native language. You can also find free help near you by visiting www.irs.gov/vita.