*This blog was originally published on 2/22/19 and was updated 9/1/21.

Reminder: proof of dependency is mandatory!

Beginning with Tax Year 2018, taxpayers are required to bring proof of residency and relationship when claiming dependents on their tax return in order to receive the Child1 Tax Credit, $500 Other Dependent2 Tax Credit, or using the Head of Household3 Filing Status. These credits and filing status can have very substantial benefits so it is important to bring the documentation required.

For 2021, the Child Tax Credit (CTC) has a maximum value of; $3,600 for children age 5 and under, and $3,000 for children age 6 through 17 at the end of 2021. These amounts may be reduced based on the income reported on the return and if Advanced CTC Payments have been received.

The document to prove dependency simply needs to include your dependents name and the home address listed on your tax return.

Items that can prove dependency are:

  • School records (report cards, registration, etc.)
  • Childcare statements
  • Medical documents (medical history, provider’s bill, etc.)
  • Financial statements (checking or savings accounts, IRAs or retirement accounts)
  • Legal filings
  • Birth certificate

1) A qualifying child must meet the following requirements: taxpayer’s child, stepchild, foster child, sibling or stepsibling under the age of 19 (or 24 if child is a full-time student for at least 5 months of the tax year) who shared a principal address with and was supported by the taxpayer for at least half the year.

2) Other qualifying dependents are those who either live with the taxpayer all year or are related to the taxpayer and have a gross income lower than $4,300. These dependents too may have at least half of their support provided by the taxpayer.

3) You are unmarried or considered unmarried on the last day of the year. You paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home for the year. A relative by blood or law lived with you in the home for more than half the year and they are claimed as a dependent. However, if the qualifying person is your dependent parent, he or she doesn’t have to live with you.