Tax information for grandparents raising grandchildren

Tax information for grandparents raising grandchildren

Tina Hopkins-Dukes
Extension Intern in Human Development Family Studies, Colorado State University

Some benefits for which grandparents raising grandchildren might qualify for are as follows:

  • Head of Household- widowed or unmarried persons raising a qualified child may be able to file head of household rather than single filing status.
  • A qualifying child for purposes of the child tax credit is a child who has a specified relationship to the taxpayer such as your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or a descendant of any of them (for example, your grandchild, niece, or nephew). The child must be under the age of 17 by the end of 2010, must not have provided over half of his or her own support for 2010, must have lived with you for more than 6 months during 2010, you must claim them as a dependent on your tax return, and they must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. National, or U.S. resident alien.
  • Dependency Exemption for child- If the child meets the definition of "qualifying child", taxpayer may claim dependency exemption for the child.

If the child qualifies as a dependent then taxpayer may also qualify for other tax breaks such as:

  • Earned income credit
  • Child tax credit
  • Credit for child and dependent care expenses
  • Qualifying education expenses

Organizing papers for taxes does not need to be high-tech or complex. If you purchase an accordion folder and label each section according to whether the papers are for income or deductions, tax preparation will be a much smoother process.

For example, the income section would have all W-2 forms from jobs and any 1099's from other income sources. The expenses or deduction section would include expenses from rental property, property taxes, mortgage interest, business and job expenses, and charitable contributions.

For assistance with tax preparation contact Volunteers in Tax Assistance (VITA). VITA offers tax help to persons with low to moderate income (generally $49,000 and below). To locate the nearest VITA site call 1-800-906-9887 or check the Nationwide Free Tax Preparation Site List at,,id=219171,00.html

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