Getting Your Child Tax Credits

by Sarah Hale Meitner

Getting Your Child Tax Credits

New parents: make sure you're getting these child tax credits and family tax benefits when you file this year

Your new baby changed everything, including how you file your taxes, so check with your tax professional to make sure you're getting the most out of these government-funded freebies.

1. Free Money

Thanks to the new baby credit, you can offset some of those first-child expenses with 10 crisp Benjamins in your pocket.

What you'll get: An extra $1,000 added to your return.

What you'll need: Baby's name and social security number — that's it.

How to qualify: If you're filing jointly, combined income must be less than $110,000. Single or filing separately? Less than $75,000.

2. Group Hug

That family photo on your nightstand is worth more than $11,000 in deductions.

What you'll get: If you choose the standard deduction instead of itemizing, take $3,700 off your taxable income per family member. That means a new mom and dad, plus baby, will qualify for $11,100 off their earnings. That's half a minivan!

What you'll need: It's standard, so the information is already on your W-2.

How to qualify: Whether you're single or married, you qualify, but marrieds who file jointly instead of separately score the largest standard deduction.{C}

3. Cash for Childcare

One-fourth of all children younger than 5 are enrolled in childcare facilities, says the U.S. Census Bureau, and those costs add up. Get your money's worth with complimentary cashola.

What you'll get: Claim up to $3,000 per child under 13 ($6,000 max per family), plus up to 35 percent of your qualifying childcare expenses instantly added to your refund.

What you'll need: College transcripts to verify your full-time student status, paystubs or a 1099-MISC if you're freelancing.

How to qualify: Work full time (telecommuting counts!), be in school full time or be actively seeking full-time employment.

Don't forget these deductions, which can significantly reduce your taxable income should you choose to itemize:

  • out-of-pocket medical expenses like prescription co-pays, ambulance rides or midwife pay

  • lactation supplies such as pumps and pads

  • mortgage interest tax

  • student loan interest payments

  • charitable contributions