By Barbara Weltman
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Additional resources for AARP J.K. Lasser's 1001 Deductions and Tax Breaks 2011. Your Complete Guide to Everything Deductible
This chapter explains family-related tax benefits, including: Personal exemption Dependency exemption Child tax credit Earned income credit Dependent care credit Adoption costs Foster care Child support Alimony For more information on these topics, see IRS Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information; IRS Publication 503, Child and Dependent Care Expenses; IRS Publication 504, Divorced or Separated Individuals; IRS Publication 596, Earned Income Credit; and IRS Publication 972, Child Tax Credit.
You cannot claim a dependency exemption if you file Form 1040EZ. If your AGI exceeds the beginning of the phaseout range, use a worksheet in the instructions for the return to figure the phaseout of your exemption. In the case of divorced or separated parents, the noncustodial parent should attach to his or her return Form 8332, Release of Claim to Exemption for Child of Divorced or Separated Parents, signed by the custodial parent. S. Department of Agriculture estimates that it costs about $279,000 for a Midwestern middle-class family to raise a child to age 17 (without adjustment for inflation).
Usually, you do not qualify for an exemption for your partner's child because the child is not your qualifying relative (he or she is the qualifying child of your partner). Under an exception, however, the exemption for the child can be claimed if your partner (for whom the child is a qualifying child) is not required to file a tax return because of low income and does not file a return or files one only to get a refund of withheld income taxes. If, for example, your partner files a return to claim the earned income credit in addition to claiming a refund of withheld income taxes, then this exception to the general rule does not apply.
AARP J.K. Lasser's 1001 Deductions and Tax Breaks 2011. Your Complete Guide to Everything Deductible by Barbara Weltman