Question

If my spouse and I file separate returns, does the person who claims the child also get to claim all of the child expenses and child tax benefits?

Answer

Yes, if you are married filing separate, the spouse who claims the child as a dependent will also claim all the other tax benefits associated with the child. These benefits include:

    • Child tax credit
    • Exclusion from income for dependent or dependents care benefits, but the maximum amount is half the normal allowed.

However, you can each claim the medical expenses that you paid for your child, if you’re itemizing deductions.

Note: The credit for child and dependent care expenses is normally not available for MFS returns. And the EIC is never available for MFS returns.

You and your spouse can’t agree to splitting benefits between yourselves.

Related Topics

Related Resources

Dependency and Residency Tests

How long does a person have to live with you before you can claim that person as a dependent? Get Tax Answers from H&R Block.

Home Renovation Energy Tax Credit

Can you claim an energy credit for renovations to your residential home? Learn more from the tax experts at H&R Block.

What to Consider When Choosing a Tax Professional

Getting the largest refund isn't the only thing to consider when choosing a tax professional. Find out which questions to ask with the experts at H&R Block.

Deducting Child Birth Expenses

Learn more about deducting child birth expenses with advice from the tax experts at H&R Block.