There are a number of factors that go into filing taxes as a single parent, and filing correctly may require some communication and coordination with your ex-spouse. While there are exceptions, in most cases the custodial parent will claim the child as a dependent. It’s important to note that children who are claimed as dependents may still have to file their own tax returns if they are earning income.To streamline the process, keep the following tips in mind:
1. Determine which parent can claim the child as a dependent.
Oftentimes, the custodial parent will be the one to claim the child as a dependent. However, this is not always the case. When a child lives with one parent for over half the year, this parent may rightfully be the one to claim the child as a dependant even if they are not the custodial parent.
2. Claim the child tax credit.
The child tax credit may be eligible to be claimed if you make less than $75,000 in the tax year and are filing as a non-married head of the household.
3. Custodial parents can claim the dependent care credit.
Single parents can claim childcare expenses of up to $3,000 for one child and up to $6,000 for two or more children of ages 12 years old and younger.
4. Look into school benefits.
Parents putting their children through school could also take advantage of some tax benefits. The American Opportunity credit, for instance, allows parents to claim up to $2,500 of tuition and related expenses during the first four years of college attended at least half-time.