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Tax benefits for single parents

Parents in New York who have gotten a divorce should be aware that a number of tax breaks may be available to them. Deciding who can claim the child as a dependent is something that parents often work out as part of the divorce agreement. They might take turns claiming the child in alternate years. If there is more than one child, each parent might claim one of them.

Several other benefits are available. Single parents who have the children for at least half the year and who earn at least half of the income for their household may file under head of household status, and this generally is more beneficial than single filing status affords.

Parents may be eligible to take a number of other tax deductions and credits. For the 2014 tax year, heads of household earning less than $279,650 could deduct $3,950 per child. The earned income tax credit for single parents as well as a credit for each dependent who is under the age of 17 may also be available. Some heads of household or full-time students may be able to take deductions for day care, after school programs and summer day camps. Credits are also available for parents who adopted during the tax year. Finally, single heads of household can set up tax-free dependent care savings accounts.

These deductions and credit may vary from year to year and in terms of the income level that is the cutoff for making the deduction or taking the credit. Individuals who are going through a divorce may wish to discuss with an attorney how custody and support arrangements will affect taxes, and they may want to weigh these as they negotiate these issues. A family law attorney may be helpful with these negotiations in reaching a satisfactory agreement.

Source: Forbes Magazine, "8 Things Single Moms And Dads Need To Know About Taxes", Emma Johnson, Jan. 26, 2015

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