Sign Up

Why sign in to the Community?

  • Submit a question
  • Check your notifications
or and start working on your taxes
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
New Member

Can I claim a dependent?

Hello there!


My partner and I live together but are not married and therefore file separately. Our son was born May 2020 and I just want to understand who can/should be claiming him as a dependent, especially when taking the new Child Tax Credit into consideration.


Thank you for your help!

3 Replies
Employee Tax Expert

Can I claim a dependent?

Hello Niqui, and congratulations on the birth of your child.


If you and your partner are not married but are living together, you will need to decide which one of you should claim your child on their tax return since both of you would be eligible to claim the child.


Only one of you can claim the child.  If you are filing separately, the once claiming the child can also file as Head of Household (which gives a larger standard deduction).


When tax filing time comes around, I  suggest that you prepare draft tax returns to see who gets the greatest benefit from being able to claim the child and claiming Head of Household status.


If your child was claimed on one of your 2020 tax returns, the IRS would calculate eligibility for the advanced child tax credit payment based on that particular tax return.


You can use this IRS tool to see if you or your partner are enrolled to receive the advanced payment:


I hope this is helpful to you!


Kind regards,


**Say "Thanks" by clicking the thumb icon in a post
**Mark the post that answers your question by clicking on "Mark as Best Answer"
Level 15

Can I claim a dependent?

that's not the right answer. 

since you are both the child's parents and live together the IRS has the following tie-breaking rule on who can claim. based on what you provided it's the parent with the highest Adjusted Gross Income.

IRC 152(c)(4)(B) More than 1 parent claiming qualifying child
If the parents claiming any qualifying child do not file a joint return together, such child shall be treated as the qualifying child of—
(i)the parent with whom the child resided for the longest period of time during the taxable year, or
(ii)if the child resides with both parents for the same amount of time during such taxable year, the parent with the highest adjusted gross income.


Level 15

Can I claim a dependent?

The once claiming the child MAY qualify to file as Head of Household HoH).  Two rules apply: you must be claiming a related dependent and you must be the one providing more that half the household support. This usually means that only the higher earning parent can be HoH.  So, being able to claim HoH factors into who claims the child.  But, a bigger factor, usually, is who gets the bigger Earned Income Credit. 


 If you and the other parent live together, either one of you (but not both) may claim the child. You may decide between you which one will claim the child. Only if you can’t agree, do the IRS tie breaker rules apply, to see who has first choice. It may be worthwhile to prepare trial returns, both ways,  to see which way the family comes out best. This tool may be useful:

Dynamic AdsDynamic Ads
Privacy Settings