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?

Nov 16, 2018
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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.

For more resources, check out PICPA’s Money & Life Tips, Ask a CPA, or CPA Locator.

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

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