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Follow the steps below to determine if you have a dependent and to see which tax benefits you may qualify for as a result. TaxAct® will automatically calculate any credit you can take based on your entries. For the tax credits listed below, your dependent and income information must be entered before the program can make the calculations.

Step 1: Determine if You Have a Dependent

Step 2: Determine Which Qualifications You Meet

Step 3: Make the Entries in TaxAct

Determine if You Have a Dependent

Use the chart below to determine if you have any qualifying children or relatives:

Per IRS Publication 17 Your Federal Income Tax (For Individuals), on page 26:

  • You can’t claim any dependents if you (or your spouse, if filing jointly) could be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer.
  • You can’t claim a married person who files a joint return as a dependent unless that joint return is filed only to claim a refund of withheld income tax or estimated tax paid.
  • You can’t claim a person as a dependent unless that person is a U.S. citizen, U.S. resident alien, U.S. national, or a resident of Canada or Mexico.
  • You can’t claim a person as a dependent unless that person is your qualifying child or qualifying relative.

Tests To Be a Qualifying Child

 

Tests To Be a Qualifying Relative

  1. The child must be your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, half brother, half sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or a descendant of any of them.
  2. The child must be (a) under age 19 at the end of the year and younger than you (or your spouse, if filing jointly); (b) under age 24 at the end of the year, a student, and younger than you (or your spouse, if filing jointly); or (c) any age if permanently and totally disabled.
  3. The child must have lived with you for more than half of the year.
  4. The child must not have provided more than half of his or her own support for the year.
  5. The child must not have provided more than half of his or her own support for the year.

If the child meets the rules to be a qualifying child of more than one person, only one person can actually treat the child as a qualifying child. See Qualifying Child of More Than One Person, later, to find out which person is the person entitled to claim the child as a qualifying child.

 
  1. The person can’t be your qualifying child or the qualifying child of any other taxpayer.
  2. The person either (a) must be related to you in one of the ways listed under Relatives who don’t have to live with you, or (b) must live with you all year as a member of your household (and your relationship must not violate local law).
  3. The person's gross income for the year must be less than $4,300.
  4. You must provide more than half of the person's total support for the year.

If you have a qualifying child or relative, you must enter the dependent's information in your TaxAct return. Click Federal (on smaller devices, click in the upper left-hand corner, then select Federal), click Basic Information in the Federal Q&A Topics menu to expand, then click Dependents and other qualifying persons. After your dependent and income information have been entered, the program can calculate the credits below, if applicable.

Determine Which Qualifications You Meet

Once you determine whether your dependent is a qualifying child or qualifying relative, refer to the chart below to see if the relationship can be used to calculate a credit or qualify for a certain filing status.



If your QUALIFYING CHILD is:

Can the child be used to claim:
Earned Income Credit Child Tax Credit Child and Dependent Care Credit Head of Household Filing Status Qualifying Widow(er) Filing Status
Your son, daughter, stepson, or stepdaughter Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
A descendant of your son, daughter, or stepchild Yes Yes Yes Yes No
An eligible foster child Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Your brother, sister, stepbrother, or stepsister Yes Yes Yes Yes No
A descendant of your sibling or stepsibling Yes Yes Yes Yes No

If your QUALIFYING RELATIVE is:

Can the relative be used to claim:
Earned Income Credit Child Tax CreditChild and Dependent Care Credit Head of Household Filing Status Qualifying Widow(er) Filing Status
Your son, daughter, stepson, or stepdaughter No No Yes Yes Yes
A descendant of your son, daughter, or stepchild No No Yes Yes No
An eligible foster child No No Yes Yes No
Your brother, sister, or a descendant of your brother or sister No No Yes Yes No
Your father or mother, or the sibling or descendant of your father or mother No No Yes Yes No
Your stepsibling or stepparent No No Yes Yes No
Your son-in-law, daughter-in-law, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law No No Yes Yes No
Note. You must be unmarried to file Head of Household. If you are considered unmarried (defined on page 8 of IRS Publication 501), you may only file Head of Household if the qualifying individual is your son, daughter, stepson, stepdaughter, or an eligible foster child.

Important: You must meet other conditions to qualify for a credit or filing status listed previously. See the following help topics for additional information and qualifications you need to consider:

Make the Necessary Entries in Your TaxAct Return

To enter or review information for a credit:

  1. Enter your dependent information under Basic Info if you haven't already.
  2. From within your TaxAct return (Online or Desktop), click Federal. On smaller devices, click in the upper left-hand corner, then click Federal.
  3. Do one of the following:
    • Click Child and Dependent Care in the Federal Quick Q&A Topics menu, then complete the applicable information for the Child and Dependent Care Credit.
    • Click Other Credits in the Federal Quick Q&A Topics menu to expand, click Earned income credit, then complete the questions for the Earned Income Credit (EIC).
    • Click Other Credits in the Federal Quick Q&A Topics menu to expand, click Child tax credit, then complete the questions for the Child Tax Credit.
  4. The program will proceed with the interview questions for you to enter or review the applicable information. Remember that these credits cannot calculate until your dependent, income, and other specific information has been entered.

To change your filing status:

  1. From within your TaxAct return (Online or Desktop), click Federal. On smaller devices, click in the upper left-hand corner, then click Federal.
  2. Click Basic Information in the Federal Quick Q&A Topics menu to expand, then click Filing status.
  3. Select the status you would like to use, then continue with the interview process to enter all of the appropriate information.

Note that any link in the information above is updated each year automatically and will take you to the most recent version of the document at the time it is accessed.


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