Question

I have a question about how to claim child care expenses. If I don’t claim my child as a dependent, can I still claim the child tax benefit?

Answer

You usually can’t claim the child and dependent care credit for a nondependent child. The only exception is if the child would have been your dependent, except for one or more of these reasons:

  • The child had gross income of $4,200.
  • The child filed a joint return to claim a refund only.
  • Someone else could claim you, or your spouse if filing jointly, as a dependent.
  • You and your spouse are divorced or separated and living apart, and either of these applies:
    • The non-custodial parent is claiming your child as a dependent since you signed a waiver.
    • The non-custodial parent was allowed to claim the child pursuant to a divorce decree. The non-custodial parent could claim the child as a dependent and for purposes of the child tax credit. You can claim the child and dependent care credit if otherwise eligible. Under this circumstance, your child will still be considered a qualifying child for the credit. However, you must still meet the other requirements.

Your child might only live with you in alternate years. You can claim the dependent care credit for your child if your child lived with you more than half the year.

Related Topics

Related Resources

Deducting Rent On Taxes

Learn whether rent is tax deductible with advice from the tax experts at H&R Block.

Claiming A Newborn On Taxes

If you were pregnant most of the year, can you claim you baby or newborn child on your taxes? Get tax answers from the experts at H&R Block.

Qualifications for the Saver's Credit

What are the qualifications for the retirement savings contribution credit or savers credit? Learn more from the experts at H&R Block.

IRS Rules to Claim a Dependent or Qualifying Child

If your dependent didn't live with you for the entire year, can you still claim them as a dependent? Learn more about dependent tax rules from H&R Blo