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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: 11/15/2016

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
Generally, a child must live with you in the United States for more than half of the tax year to be a qualifying child. You may treat a child who was born alive or died in 2016 as having lived with you for more than half of 2016 if your main home was the child’s main home (or would have been) for more than half of the time he or she was alive in 2016.
The earned income credit requires that you provide a valid social security number (SSN) for your qualifying child. If you meet all of the other requirements to claim this credit, and your child was born and died in 2016 and didn't have an SSN, 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, the child must live with you for more than half of the tax year to be a qualifying child. You may treat a child who was born alive or died in 2016 as having lived with you for more than half of 2016 if your main home was (or would have been) the child's main home for more than half of the time he or she was alive in 2016. Whether your child was born alive depends on state law.
If you meet all of the other requirements to claim the exemption or credit, you usually must provide a taxpayer identifying number (TIN) for the child. If your child was born and died in 2016 and didn't have an SSN or other TIN, 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: 11/15/2016

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 don't 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 can't file a joint return unless the joint return is only 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 can't be your qualifying child unless you meet one of the following conditions:

Rev. date: 11/15/2016

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?

No, the noncustodial parent may not claim a child as a qualifying child for the earned income credit based solely on the custodial parent's release of a claim to exemption for the child.
Note: The custodial parent is generally the parent with whom the child lives for the greater number of nights during the year. The noncustodial parent is the other parent. If the child was with each parent for an equal number of nights, the custodial parent is the parent with the higher adjusted gross income. For details and an exception for a parent who works at night, see Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information.