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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 this child be my qualifying child for 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 custodial parent releases a claim to exemption for a child by signing a Form 8332, Release/Revocation of Release of Claim to Exemption for Child by Custodial Parent, or a substantially similar statement, may the noncustodial parent claim the child as a qualifying child for the earned income credit?

Rev. date: 05/05/2016

My child was born and only lived 40 minutes. Can this child be my qualifying child for the earned income credit and the child tax credit?

Yes, if you meet the requirements, you may claim:
1. The Earned Income Credit
To be your qualifying child for the earned income credit, a child must live with you in the United States for more than half of the tax year. You may treat a child who was born alive or died in 2015 as having lived with you for more than half of 2015 if your main home was the child’s main home for more than half of the time he or she was alive in 2015.  
The earned income credit requires that you provide a valid social security number for your qualifying child. If you meet all of the other requirements to claim this credit, and your child was born and died in 2015 and did not have a social security number, instead of an SSN, you may enter "DIED" on line 2 of Schedule EIC (Form 1040A or 1040), Earned Income Credit, and attach a copy of the child's birth certificate or a hospital medical record showing a live birth.
   2. The Dependency Exemption and/or Child Tax Credit  
Generally, for a child to be your qualifying child for the dependency exemption and the child tax credit, the child must live with you for more than half of the tax year. You may treat a child who was born alive or died in 2015 as having lived with you for more than half of 2015 if your main home was the child’s main home for more than half of the time he or she was alive in 2015. Whether your child was born alive depends on state law.
To claim the dependency exemption for a child, you must provide a taxpayer identifying number for the child. If you meet all of the other requirements to claim the exemption or credit, and your child was born and died in 2015 and did not have a social security number or other taxpayer identifying number, instead of a TIN, you may enter "DIED" in column 2 of line 6c of the Form 1040 or Form 1040A, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, and attach a copy of the child's birth certificate or a hospital record showing a live birth.  

Rev. date: 10/30/2015

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 of income tax withheld or estimated tax paid. If your qualifying child was married at the end of the year, he or she cannot be your qualifying child unless you meet one of the following conditions:
For more information, refer to Qualifying Child in Publication 596, Earned Income Credit, and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

Rev. date: 10/30/2015

If the custodial parent releases a claim to exemption for a child by signing a Form 8332, Release/Revocation of Release of Claim to Exemption for Child by Custodial Parent, or a substantially similar statement, may the noncustodial parent claim the child as a qualifying child for the earned income credit?

Generally, no. The noncustodial parent may not claim a child as a qualifying child for the earned income credit based on the custodial parent’s release of a claim to exemption for the child.
Note: For income tax purposes, the custodial parent is, generally, the parent with whom the child lives for the greater number of nights during the year.