Please note: These links and information below are offered as a convenience and are not intended to imply anyone viewing the information will qualify. Due to ever-changing tax laws and credits, we sincerely urge you reach out and contact the the IRS at www.irs.gov or at 1-800-829-1040, or consult with your professional tax preparer.
You’re a new foster parent. You attended the orientation, filled out all of the proper paperwork, went through every inspection process and took all of the appropriate training. You waited longer than expected but finally have a foster child in your home. You’ve found out this new world of fostering is extremely rewarding, and the idea of providing a loving home for a child in need has made your life richer. Your foster child has been in your home for 6 months and tax season is at hand. You have other children and know the steps you need to take to claim them for tax purposes, but what about your foster child? You may be wondering, “Can I claim my foster child on my taxes?” If you meet certain criteria for the 2018 tax year, you can claim your child under the Child Tax Credit – but the Dependent Exemption is gone.
Can I Claim My Foster Child On My Taxes? – Qualifications
In order to answer your question about claiming your foster child on your taxes, there are a few questions you must answer first. Does your child meet the Internal Revenue Services’ (IRS) definition of a foster child? According to the IRS, a foster child is someone who is “placed with you by judgment, court order or an authorized placement agency (state or local government organization).”
Is she under the age of 17 by the end of the tax year? Has she lived with you for at least 6 months of the specified tax year? You reflect on your journey as a family for the last 6 months and remember the first family trip that she went on – Walt Disney World. You beam inside as you recall how bright her smile was as she took a ride on the Tea Cups, bonded with the Disney family, and, more importantly, connected with your own.
She isn’t old enough to work yet, so you don’t have to worry about her filing a joint return. If she were though, filing a joint return would not be an option if you want to claim her for tax purposes. Her board payment is not considered income she has brought in, so she has not provided more than half of her support for the tax year. Those are considered reimbursements by the state and have no effect on eligibility – so that’s good news.
Your answers line up! However, be warned – in previous years, personal and dependent exemptions were allowed, but they’ve been phased out for the 2018 tax year. You cannot file for the $4,050 per child dependent exemption as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act removed such exemptions from the tax code.
Can I Claim My Foster Child On My Taxes? – What if I’m Disallowed?
Even though she is living with you, your foster child’s biological parents have the option of claiming her as a dependent. If they choose to, there is a possibility that you would be disallowed. In other words, you would not be able to claim her on your taxes.
If you choose to appeal that decision, you could reach out to the IRS using the contact information they provide upon notifying you of this change. Before reaching out, though, it’s important to gather all supporting evidence that shows your foster child has been placed in your home for over 6 months by your local child welfare agency. In addition to showing proof via monthly board payments, you can request paperwork from your local agency verifying you have been the primary caregiver of your foster child.
Can I Claim My Foster Child On My Taxes? – The More You Know
To see the specific changes the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act introduced, visit this Internal Revenue Service page for details. For in-depth information on how to claim your foster child on your taxes, click here for the Internal Revenue Service Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction and Filing Information.
Please note that this is not legal advice. Talk to your tax advisor, visit the IRS’ website at www.IRS.Gov or call them at 800.829.1040 for specific questions regarding claiming your foster child as a dependent.
Salendria Mabrey is a Communication and Development Associate at Foster and Adoptive Family Services.