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Frequently Asked Tax Questions

Earned Income Tax Credit - Qualifying Child Rules

  1. My child was born and only lived 40 minutes. Can she be used as a qualifying child when figuring the earned income credit and the child tax credit?
  2. Must I be entitled to claim a child as a dependent to claim the earned income credit based on the child being my qualifying child?
  3. If the noncustodial parent receives permission from the custodial parent to claim a child on his or her tax return, is the noncustodial parent eligible for the earned income credit?

Rev. date: 03/12/2013

My child was born and only lived 40 minutes. Can she be used as a qualifying child when figuring the earned income credit and the child tax credit?

Earned Income Credit. A child who was born or died in 2012 is treated as having lived with you for all of 2012 if your home was the child’s home the entire time he or she was alive in 2012.
Dependency Exemption and Child Tax Credit.  A person is considered to have lived with you for all of 2012 if the person was born or died in 2012, and your home was this person’s home for the entire time he or she was alive in 2012.  

Rev. date: 12/21/2012

Must I be entitled to claim a child as a dependent to claim the earned income credit based on the child being my qualifying child?

You do not have to be entitled to claim the child as a dependent to claim the earned income credit based on the child being your qualifying child. However, the child cannot file a joint return for the year except as a claim for refund. If your qualifying child was married at the end of the year but does not file a joint tax return, he or she cannot be your qualifying child unless the following conditions are met:
For more information, refer to Qualifying Child, in Publication 596, Earned Income Credit.

Rev. date: 12/21/2012

If the noncustodial parent receives permission from the custodial parent to claim a child on his or her tax return, is the noncustodial parent eligible for the earned income credit?

No. The noncustodial parent cannot claim the earned income credit on the basis of that child because the child did not live with that parent for the greater part of the year and therefore does not meet the residency test.
Note: For income tax purposes, the custodial parent is the person with whom the qualifying child in question lives with the greater number of nights during the year.