We had a foster child for more than 6 mos out of t...
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mpnff2014
New Member

We had a foster child for more than 6 mos out of the year and supported more than half of his needs, we are not the legal parents, can we claim him?

 
3 Replies
JohnB5677
Expert Alumni

We had a foster child for more than 6 mos out of the year and supported more than half of his needs, we are not the legal parents, can we claim him?

A foster child can be treated as qualifying child if placed by a government agency in the home.

 

To meet the age test, a child must be:

  • Under age 19 at the end of the year and younger than you (or your spouse if filing jointly),

  • A student under age 24 at the end of the year and younger than you (or your spouse if filing jointly), or

  • Permanently and totally disabled at any time during the year, regardless of age.

The child must have lived with you for more than half the year. 

 

The child can't file a joint return for the year.

 

Foster Child Definition Qualifying Child Rules | Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov)

For the EITC, you can only claim a foster child that is placed with you by:

  • A State or local government agency
  • An Indian tribal government
  • A tax-exempt organization licensed by a state or an Indian tribal government
  • A court order

@mpnff2014

Edited 02/07/2021

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Hal_Al
Level 15

We had a foster child for more than 6 mos out of the year and supported more than half of his needs, we are not the legal parents, can we claim him?

Yes.  A legally placed  foster  child is the same as a biological child, for tax purposes.  Note that the support requirement is not whether you provided support, but only that the child didn't support himself. This means you (usually) don't need to worry about calculating his support for the time you did not have him. 

 

A child (including adopted, foster & step) of a taxpayer can still be a “Qualifying Child” (QC) dependent, regardless of his/her income, if:

  1. He is under age 19, or under 24 if a full time student for at least 5 months of the year, or is totally & permanently disabled
  2. He did not provide more than 1/2 his own support. Scholarships are considered third party support and not as support provided by the student.
  3. He lived with the parent (including temporary absences such as away at school) for more than half the year

A couple of caveats: 1.  the parents may may file a competing claim for the child resulting in IRS letters.  That usually means you will have to prove the child lived with you for more than half the year.  2. the parent may claim that time with you was only a temporary absence from their home. 

 

 

 

Opus 17
Level 15

We had a foster child for more than 6 mos out of the year and supported more than half of his needs, we are not the legal parents, can we claim him?

The foster child must be placed in your home by the court, or by an agency that is licensed and qualified by state law to make foster placements. In most cases, a voluntary placement will not be enough.

 

Assuming that the placement was made by a licensed state agency or court, then you can claim a foster child as a dependent under the same rules as a biological child, and it sounds from your question like you probably qualify.

*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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