Dependent Pages

Dependent and Childcare Tax Deductions, Credits


Having children or dependents can give you tax credits and deductions on your income tax return. Due to the high costs of raising children, the IRS offers these programs to help save you money. To take advantage, you will need to earn taxable income and file an income tax return to report your earnings to the IRS and your state tax agency, if applicable. When using, the tax app will generate all applicable forms for the credits you qualify for, including the Form 2441, Schedule 8812, Schedule EIC, and others as applicable - eFileIT.

  • Important: The enhanced Child Tax Credit 2021 rates of $3,000 to $3,600 per qualified child, depending on the age of the child(ren), do not apply to 2022 Returns. What also does not apply for 2022 returns, is the Child and Dependent Care Credit worth up to $8,000 for married filing jointly taxpayers as part of the American Rescue Plan Act for 2021 for 2021 returns. See here if you still need to file your 2021 return.

When you prepare and e-file your taxes via the Tax App, it's very simple and error free to apply these credits. eFile will calculate and add credits and deductions to your income tax return.

Prior to preparing your tax returns or for planning purposes, we suggest you check any of these child related tax tools to find out if you can claim a dependent, qualify for the child tax credit and/or the child and dependent care credit. You simply answer questions via these interactive tools to get the answers that apply to you, no need to read long and complicated tax documents.

Child/Relative Tax Tool
Is a child a qualifying dependent? Read more about who qualifies as a dependent. 
Is a child/relative a qualifying dependent and could qualify for the Credit for Other Dependents? Even though it's called qualifying relative an individual might qualify who is not your relative e.g. boyfriend or girlfriend etc. One of the following criteria will have to apply: Relatives/dependents who are age 17 or older and have a TIN (taxpayer identification number) and who are either parents or other relatives, and are supported by the taxpayer, or who have lived with the taxpayer but are not related to the taxpayer. Details about the Other Dependent Credit.
Does a child qualify for the Child Tax Credit? You might be able to also claim the Child Tax Credit worth up to $2000 per child.
Certain individuals who get less than the full amount of the Child Tax Credit, might qualify of the Additional Child Tax Credit. The Other Dependent Credit can’t be used for this credit. Only the Child Tax Credit can be used to calculate the Additional Child Tax Credit. Thus, a taxpayers who claims the Other Dependent Credit and not the Child Tax Credit, can not claim this credit.
Do you qualify for the Child and Dependent Care. If you pay for daycare so that you can work or look for work, you may be able to take advantage of the Child and Dependent Care Credit; use the CAREucator tool to see if you qualify. For 2022, this credit is worth up to 20% to 35% of up to $3,000 of child care or similar costs for a child under 13, or up to $6,000 for 2 or more dependents. The exact amount depends on the number of children and the amount you spent on childcare and your AGI.
This credit is based on earned income. Earned income (only if it is taxable) generally means income from salaries, wages, tips and/or other taxable employee pay as listed on a W-2 for example. Net earnings from self-employment is also earned income. More details about the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Use any of 15 free tax calculators that provide answers to complicated tax questions. From tax withholding or Form W-4 questions to estimated tax returns.

Dependents, Deductions, and Tax Credits

Since you will be claiming a dependent and your tax bill will be reduced, you can cut back on tax withholding from your paychecks. You need to file a new W-4 form with your employer to claim additional withholding by updating your information and potentially adjusting it by a dollar amount. You can also take the child credit into account on your W-4 to reduce your paycheck withholding even more.

It is critical to get a Social Security Number or SSN for your child if you want to receive tax benefits. You will need to claim your child as a dependent on your tax return; to do this, you will need a Social Security Number for your child. If you fail to report the SSN for each dependent, you may be subject to a $50 fine and your tax refund may be delayed until things are straightened out.

You can request a Social Security Card at the same time you apply for a birth certificate. Otherwise, you will need to file a Form SS-5 with the Social Security Administration ( and provide proof of the child's age, identity, and U.S. citizenship.

and Taxes

Benefits for Claiming a Dependent

If you are single, having a child may allow you to file as a Head Of Household rather than using the Single filing status. This will give you a bigger standard deduction and more advantageous tax brackets. To qualify as a head of household, you must pay more than half the cost of providing a home for a qualifying person.

Related: single mothers or fathers can claim head of household.

EITC Amounts for Dependents: The Earned Income Tax Credit is worth more if you have children. In 2022, the EITC can be worth up to $6,935 per taxpayer for individuals or couples who have 3 or more qualifying children. Simply use the EICucator tool to see how this credit applies to you.

Another way you can save on taxes when you have a child is to have a childcare reimbursement account at your work. These accounts, sometimes called flexible spending plans or account which may be a type of flexible spending arrangement, let you move up to $5,000 a year of your salary into a special account that you can then use to pay child care costs. Money that you put into the account lets you avoid both federal income and Social Security taxes, so it could easily save you more than the value of the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. You can't use both the reimbursement account and the tax credit. Although you generally can only sign up for a flex account during open season, most companies allow you to make mid-year changes in response to certain life events such as the birth or adoption of a child.

See also: information on foster children and taxes

Adoption Tax Credit: If you have added to your family by adopting a child, there’s a tax credit to help reimburse the cost of adoption. The Adoption Tax Credit is worth as much as $14,890 per child for 2022. If you adopted a special needs child, you can claim the full credit even if you did not pay any qualified adoption expenses.

College Savings Deductions: Time flies and before you know it, your child will be ready for college. It’s a good idea to start saving early on for those college bills. Congress has some tax incentives to help parents save. One option is a Section 529 state education savings plan. Contributions to these plans are not deductible, but earnings grow tax-free and payouts are tax-free if the money is used to pay qualifying college bills. Many states give residents a state tax deduction if they invest in the state's 529 plan.

You may also want to put money into a Coverdell education savings account (ESA) for your child. You can fund up to $2,000 a year for any beneficiary. Again, there is no deduction for deposits, but earnings are tax-free if they are used to pay for education expenses. ESA money can also be used for elementary and high school expenses in addition to college costs. Read about student tax information and tips.

See other refundable and non-refundable college tax credits.

IRAs for children or minors advantageously utilize compound interest. Open an account early and make small investments, especially when a child is young, positioned for immense growth. In order to open an IRA, a person must have earned income from a job or self-employment which is not the case with most children. You can open a custodial account for your child or grandchild which is managed by you until the child is an adult. You can’t use money from gifts or investments either. As soon as your child starts earning some money - babysitting or delivering papers, for example, or helping out in the family business - he or she can open a custodial IRA. The power of long-term compounding makes this a great idea.

Nanny Tax: If you hire someone to come into your home to help care for your child, you might be considered an employer in the eyes of the IRS and face a whole new set of tax rules. If you hire your nanny or caregiver through an agency, the agency may be the employer and have to take care of all the paperwork. But if you're the employer and you paid $2,000 or more, you are responsible for paying Social Security and unemployment taxes for your caregiver, and reporting the wages you pay to the government on a W-2 form.

Foster Child: Foster children generally qualify as dependents, meaning you can claim them on your taxes. You can get increased tax credits for claiming your foster children as dependents; learn more about the foster child tax implications as a foster parent.

See what other tax deductions you may qualify to claim on your 2022 Tax Return. Start free on to file your taxes online and receive your tax refund when you file with dependents.