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8 Answers

Can I claim step children in my taxes?

Asked by: livingeditor 2815 views YA Discussion

Last year, my girlfriend and I got married in December. She had three kids of her own, was going to school full-time, and did not have a job. She was living with relatives, but none of the relatives claimed her or any of her kids as dependants. The kids have never lived with their father. A little before we got married her and all the kids moved into my house.

I know I can file as married filing jointly, because all that matters is my marital state at the end of the year. However, can I claim her children as dependants? I am just wondering because they did not live with me the whole year and I am the one contributing to all the income.


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8 Answers

  1. Wayne Z on Apr 24, 2012 Reply


    As you two said “I do” prior to 12/31 you must file as married.

    File a joint return with your spouse and claim all of the kids.

    Edit: Also, don’t forget the education credit or deduction for your wife’s school expenses (if applicable).

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  2. GT on Apr 24, 2012 Reply

    Here is a link to determine if the children meet the requirements to be claimed as a dependent. Go to the heading “exemptions for dependents” and then click on “qualifying child”


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  3. Bobbie on Apr 25, 2012 Reply

    Since your above information says that you were legally married before midnight December 31 2011 that would make you a married couple for the 2011 tax year and yes you as all as you meet all of the rules that to be met for this purpose.
    And you do have to sign the completed tax return where the below statement is included at bottom of the page of the 1040 tax form for your use at this time in your life.
    Under penalties of perjury, I declare that I have examined this return, and to the best of my knowledge and belief, it is true, correct, and accurately lists all amounts and sources of income I received during the tax year.
    Your signature Date Your occupation Spouse’s signature. Date Your occupation
    If a joint return, both must sign.
    Be sure that you do have very good detailed written records and a copy of the worksheet that you used to determine the amount of support that you and others paid for this purpose available in case the IRS should decide that they would want you to verify some of the information that you entered on your 1040 income tax return and printed a copy for your records and signed the other copy to send to the IRS for processing at that time in your life.
    Hope that you find the above enclosed information useful. 04/24/2012

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  4. acmeraven on Apr 25, 2012 Reply

    Yes; at midnight on the 31st of December you were married so you can file as married, filing joint and claim the children. Congratulations and good luck from the father of six darling she-demons on work release from hell.

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  5. tro on Apr 25, 2012 Reply

    if you got married in Dec. you will file a joint return and include her children on your tax return, since you are co taxpayers and she is claiming her own children, with you

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  6. SmartA$$ on Apr 25, 2012 Reply

    Yes, you can file jointly and claim her children.

    On a joint return, the dependents only have to meet the rules for one of the spouses. the chilren meet all the rules to be considered qualifying child of your wife, so they can be claimed on your joint return with your wife listed as your spouse.

    The 4 main rules to claim a qualifying child are:

    1. Relationship: you both pass this test because step child is a valid relationship

    2. Age: This test is met based on the child’s age

    3. Residency: Your wife passes this test because she lived under the same roof as the children for over half the year. You don’t pass this test for 2011.

    4. Support: This test ONLY requires that the child did not provide more than 50% of their own support. It does NOT require the taxpayer to pay 50% of the child’s support. (very important and often misunderstood difference)

    In your situation, you don’t meet requirement #3, but your wife meets all 4 requirements which means she can claim the kids. Since her tax return is your joint return, you can list the children as dependents on that return.

    Its possible that one or more of the other relatives that your wife lived with actually passes all 4 of the above tests also. If they attempted to claim the children the IRS would use pre-determined tie breaker rules and a parent (your wife) ALWAYS wins the tiebreaker over another relative such as uncle/aunt, grandparent, or sibling. Since none of them attempted to claim the children, this is a non-issue in your situation.

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  7. the kid on Apr 25, 2012 Reply

    Yes, you can step kids are treated as regular kids on a tax return.

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  8. Tax Chopper on Apr 25, 2012 Reply

    As far you are married before Dec 31st, you are entitled to file as MFJ and claim all of the step children. Now, here few items you must be a ware of: If your wife receive a child support from the father of those kids, be sure the father does not have right to claim the kids. if the father as per court order have right, you can not claim the kids…
    By the way, do not forget to claim when filing your tax, the education credit form (1098T) that your wife did or will get from school since she went to school last year. It is part of your tax return as far you plan to file with your wife..
    Be sure to have ready in hand ( if the IRS), your marriage certificate, birth certificate of the kids (showing their mother (your new wife) name. Your refund will be

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