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heardja
Level 1

Can I claim my foster child for this year’s tax return if the child was legally placed with me in August of 2020?

 
2 Replies
MayaD
Expert Alumni

Can I claim my foster child for this year’s tax return if the child was legally placed with me in August of 2020?

No, because he/she didn't live with you for more than six months.

 

To claim dependency for a qualifying child, the child must:

  1.  Be the taxpayer’s child, stepchild, eligible foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, niece, nephew, or descendant of any of them.
  2. Be younger than taxpayer and either under age 19 or a full-time student under age 24; or any age if totally and permanently disabled.
  3. Live with the taxpayer more than half the year.
  4. Not provide more than half of his own support
  5. Not file a joint return (unless filed only to claim a refund).
  6. Not be a qualifying child of another taxpayer with higher priority under the tie-breaker rules.

 If other circumstances apply, please see this additional link to learn more about who one can claim as a dependent. Who can I claim as my dependent ?

 

 

 

 

 

[Edited 02/22/2021(02:22 pm, PST)]

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Opus 17
Level 15

Can I claim my foster child for this year’s tax return if the child was legally placed with me in August of 2020?

Possibly, but it is going to be complicated.

 

There are two definitions of dependent, “qualifying child” and “qualifying relative.“ To be claimed as a qualifying child, the child must have lived in your home more than half the nights of the year.  Or in the case of a newborn, the child would have to have lived in your home more than half the nights of the year since it was born.

 

To claim the child as a qualifying relative dependent, it is not necessary that they have lived in your home more than half the nights of the year, but you must have provided more than 50% of their total financial support for the year, and the child can’t be a qualifying child dependent of any other taxpayer.  For example, if the child lived with their biological parents for more than six months before being placed in your home, you can’t claim them as a dependent even if you provided more than 50% of their total support for the year, because they would qualify as a “qualifying child” for their parents.

 

If no one can claim the child as a “qualifying child“, and if you did not provide more than 50% of their total financial support for the year, you still might be able to claim them as a dependent under a “multiple support agreement.“ This would require you obtain a signed statement from every other person who provided more than 10% of the child‘s support for the year, in which that person says they will not claim the child and that you may claim the child.

 

If you are eligible to claim the child as a “qualifying relative“ dependent, this is a $500 tax credit, not the $2000 child tax credit, and a qualifying relative dependent does not allow you to qualify for head of household filing status, earned income credit, or the dependent care credit.

*Answers are correct to the best of my ability at the time of posting but do not constitute legal or tax advice.*
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