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Unmarried couples, children, and tax returns

If you and your significant other are not married and you’re filing your tax returns separately, you’re both going to be thinking about your child, as you do get a bit of a tax break if you have a kid. However, it is very important to note that you are not both allowed to claim that the child is your dependent, thus getting the break on both sides. Only one of you can claim the child for tax purposes.

This is done because couples who are married and file jointly are also only going to claim their children once. Unmarried couples have to do the same thing even though not using the ‘married filing jointly’ option.

That being said, it does not matter which parent claims the child. As long as the parent who does claim them actually helps to support them, it’s a valid claim. You will have to agree on who is going to claim your child and who is not.

Generally speaking, experts do note that whichever one of you makes more money should probably make the claim, as the break for the parent with a higher income is going to be larger. Then, if you’d like to share it, you can split up the return equally between the two of you when the check comes in the mail or the money is deposited in your bank account. There are no regulations about splitting the money up this way; you just have to make sure you’re both not claiming the same break up front.

Things can be complicated for unmarried couples with kids in Arizona, so always be sure you know how to approach legal decisions.

Source: FIndLaw, “Tips for Unmarried Parents who Want to Raise Children Together,” accessed May 19, 2016


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