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Child tax credit

Can i claim my girlfriend's children on my taxes for the child tax credit if they live with me 365 days per year. She does not file nor does anybody else claim them at all. 

3 Replies
Level 15

Child tax credit

No you cannot ... you can only get the $500 other dependent credit but because the child is not related to you the EIC, CTC and HOH filing status are all not allowed. 

Vanessa A
Employee Tax Expert

Child tax credit

No, you cannot claim them for the Child Tax Credit, but if they meet all the other criteria for being a dependent you can claim them for the $500 Other Dependent Credit. 

Level 15

Child tax credit

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, a relationship test and a residence test. Only a QC qualifies a taxpayer for the Earned Income Credit and the Child Tax Credit. The Other dependent (qualifying relative) credit is worth (up to) $500 per dependent and is non-refundable.  That is, it can only be used to reduce an actual tax liability.


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 the taxpayer ALL 
  2. His/her gross taxable income for the year must be less than $4200
  3. The taxpayer must have provided more than 1/2 his support

In either case:

  1. He must be a US citizen or resident of the US, Canada or Mexico
  2. He must not file a joint return with his spouse or be claiming a dependent of his own
  3. 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 boy/girlfriend's children, they must meet all of the above requirements and:
--- your boy/girlfriend must not be required to file a return,
--- he/she does not file a return claiming the children


The child may qualify as a dependent, but because he is not related, he cannot be a qualifying child for the earned income credit, child tax credit or Head of Household (HoH) filing status.  If your girl friend qualifies as a dependent, she also cannot be a qualifying person for  HoH, because she is not related to you.

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