Hertsel Shadian, Attorney at Law, LLC

Ten Tax Topics for Taxpayers with Children

23 November 2010

Got Kids? They may have an impact on your tax situation. Listed below are the top 10 things you should consider if you have children.

  1. Dependents. In most cases, a child can be claimed as a dependent in the year in which the child is born. For more information see IRS Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information.
  2. Child Tax Credit. You may be able to take this credit on your tax return for each of your children under age 17. If you do not benefit from the full amount of the Child Tax Credit, you may be eligible for the Additional Child Tax Credit. The Additional Child Tax Credit is a refundable credit and may give you a refund even if you do not owe any tax. For more information see IRS Publication 972, Child Tax Credit.
  3. Child and Dependent Care Credit. You may be able to claim this credit if you pay someone to care for your child under age 13 so that you can work or look for work. For more information see IRS Publication 503, Child and Dependent Care Expenses.
  4. Earned Income Tax Credit. The EITC is a benefit for certain people who work and have earned income from wages, self-employment or farming. The EITC reduces the amount of tax you owe and may also give you a refund. For more information see IRS Publication 596, Earned Income Credit.
  5. Adoption Credit. You may be able to take a tax credit for qualifying expenses paid to adopt an eligible child. For more information see the instructions for IRS Form 8839, Qualified Adoption Expenses (the 2009 version was the most recent available at the time of this writing).
  6. Children with Earned Income. If your child has income earned from working, then your child may be required to file a tax return. For more information see IRS Publication 501.
  7. Children with Investment Income. Under certain circumstances, a child’s investment income may be taxed at the parent’s tax rate. For more information see IRS Publication 929, Tax Rules for Children and Dependents.
  8. Coverdell Education Savings Account. This savings account is used to pay qualified educational expenses at an eligible educational institution. Contributions are not deductible; however, qualified distributions generally are tax-free. For more information see IRS Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education.
  9. Higher Education Credits. Education tax credits can help offset the costs of education. The American Opportunity and the Lifetime Learning Credit are education credits that reduce your federal income tax dollar-for-dollar, unlike a deduction, which reduces your taxable income.  For more information see IRS Publication 970.
  10. Student Loan Interest. You may be able to deduct interest you pay on a qualified student loan. The deduction is claimed as an adjustment to income so you do not need to itemize your deductions. For more information see IRS Publication 970.

The forms and publications on these topics can be found by clicking on the embedded links in this article, or on the official IRS website at www.IRS.gov, or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676). (At the time of this writing, most of the publications are the 2009 versions, but should be updated by the IRS closer to tax filing time.)

If you missed taking advantage of any of these topics for the 2009 tax year, there still should be time to amend your return and take advantage of the above deductions and credits. For further information about your specific filing situation and to discuss which of the above topics might apply to you, consult your professional tax advisor or tax preparer. Also, help spread the word about these tax topics by forwarding this article to other people you know who have children.