TAS Tax Tip: Valuable Information About Tax Benefits Related to Children and Dependents

Gustavo Lopez


TAS Tax Tip: Valuable Information About Tax Benefits Related to Children and Dependents

If you have children or other dependents and are eligible to claim them on your tax return, there are a few things you should know before you file your federal income tax return.

General information:

Child and dependent tax benefits are some of the most common benefits claimed each year on federal income tax returns. If you don't know which ones may be eligible, you can use the interactive online tax assistant.

In addition, you should use the IRS Children's Tax Benefits Comparison Chart to help you with the basic eligibility rules that apply to:

  • Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC);
  • Child Tax Credit (CTC);
  • Other Employee Credit (ODC);
  • Child and Dependent Care Credit (CDCC); Y
  • Household Deposit Statement (HOH).

Items that require action now:

Obtain a Social Security Number (SSN) or Social Security Number (TIN) for all qualified dependents.


  • If your qualifying child does not have a valid SSN and needs one, get one before you apply. How? Because your child needs a valid SSN for employment that was issued before their tax return due date (including extensions) in order to claim the EITC or CTC.
    If you have an infant or other eligible child, but don't yet have an SSN, visit your local social security office or apply online.
  • If you can't apply for the CTC or EITC because your eligible child or relative doesn't have the required SSN, but has another type of TIN issued before the due date of your tax return (including extensions), such as an identification number Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), Adoption Tax Identification Number (ATIN), or SSN that is not valid for employment, you may be able to claim credit for other employees, child support credit, or child support credit.

If the qualifying dependent has an ITIN that will expire before the end of the year or does not yet have one assigned, you should immediately submit a Form W-7, Request for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number to ensure it is available when you file.

Sometimes it can take up to 11 weeks to process an ITIN application. Be sure to check on irs.gov that IRS arrears have not extended these deadlines. Review the rules now and apply now, so you don't lose this credit or delay any refunds. ATIN applications generally take 4-8 weeks.

Regardless of the credit you may apply for, learn more about what ID is needed for dependents now to avoid problems later.