Would it be better for my girlfriend to claim our son as a dependent and his daycare expenses on her tax return, or should I claim both on my return?

by Amy M. Swartzfager, CPA | Nov 16, 2018

My girlfriend and I live together. She will make $14,000 gross for the year, and I will be a little over $95,000 gross for the year. We have a 1-year-old. His daycare bill for the year will be close to $9,000. We have paid out of pocket. What is the best way to recoup these expenses? Should I include my son and daycare expenses when I file my taxes, or will it be more beneficial if she carries him on her taxes and claims the daycare expenses?

There are many things to consider when determining filing status. Given the details provided above, I believe the best option would be for you to file using the Head of Household (HOH) status, claim your son, and take the credit for child care expenses. The HOH status gives more favorable tax rates, and your income would allow for a higher child tax credit and child care credit. The savings in tax from filing HOH would be greater than if your girlfriend were to claim your son and receive the Earned Income Credit.

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Answered by: Amy M. Swartzfager, CPA, is a senior tax analyst with API Technologies Corporation in Fairview, Pa. 

The responses are based on the limited information provided by the questioner and apply the laws and regulations at the time of posting. Other options could arise as rules and regulations may change over time, including but not limited to the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. They are intended to provide general information, not specific accounting or tax advice; they are not intended or written to be used and cannot be used for the purpose of avoiding or evading taxes or penalties under the IRS code or regulations. Views expressed do not imply an opinion of the PICPA, its officers, directors, employees, or members.
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