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Can I exempt children that I help support that are not blood? Can I exempt my baby that will be born in December?

I am engaged. I have one blood child and a son that is not mine that I have been taking care of since he was 3 months, I get them every other week. My fiancé has two boys that live with us, and we are having a baby in December. How many exemptions can I use?
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Level 15

Can I exempt children that I help support that are not blood? Can I exempt my baby that will be born in December?

There are two types of dependents, "Qualifying Children"(QC) and standard ("Qualifying Relative" in IRS parlance even though they don't have to actually be related). There is no income limit for a QC but there is an age limit and a requirement that they be a close blood relation. Only a QC qualifies you for the Earned Income Credit (EIC) and the Child Tax Credit. 

You may not claim the unrelated child, you get every other week, at all. (Unless you were married to his parent. A stepparent is the same as a parent for tax purposes, and the relationship survives the divorce).

You may only claim the blood child, you get every other week, if the other parent (the custodial parent) gives you permission on IRS form 8332. Then, you (the noncustodial parent) may claim his exemption and child tax credit. But, you may not claim him for EIC.

You may only claim your fiance's children if they lived with you all year and you provided more than half their support and their mother is not required to file a tax return.  Even then, they cannot be QCs.

You may claim the new born as a QC, if he is born before year end and lives with you from birth to year end.



A child 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 or in the hospital) for more than half the year

A person can still be a qualifying relative dependent, if not a Qualifying Child, if he meets the 6 tests for claiming a dependent:

1. Closely Related OR live with you ALL year

2. His/her gross taxable income for the year must be less than $4,050 (2016)

3. You must have provided more than 1/2 his support

In either case:

4. He must be a US citizen or resident of the US, Canada or Mexico

5. He must not file a joint return with his spouse or be claiming a dependent of his own

6. He must not be the qualifying child of another taxpayer

He must have a US social security number or tax identification number (TIN)

In addition to the above requirements, to claim your fiance's children, they must meet all of the above requirements and:
--- your fiance must not be required to file a return,
--- he/she does not file a return claiming the children

The children may qualify as a dependent, but because they are not related, he cannot be a qualifying child for the earned income credit, child tax credit or Head of Household filing status. 

Can I exempt children that I help support that are not blood? Can I exempt my baby that will be born in December?

Assuming the child is born on or before 12/31/2016, you will be able to claim the newborn on your 2016 tax return.

Among other requirements, the other blood child must have lived with your more than 50% of the nights in 2016 for you to claim him/her.

Any non blood related children must have lived with you all 366 days in 2016.

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