Can I Claim My Baby?

Mother holding baby by window
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If a baby is born during the tax year but is not 6 mo old at the end of the tax year, can they still be claimed as a dependent? What is the latest they can be born in the year in order to be a qualifying dependent?

It is definitely possible to claim your baby as a dependent as long as the child was born during the year -- even if the child was born on the last day of the year.

For a fuller answer, let's take a look at the criteria for claiming a qualifying child as a dependent:

  • Residence: did the child live with you for more than half the year?*
  • Relationship: is the child your son or daughter, brother or sister, or a descendant of one of these?
  • Age: is the child under age 19?
  • Support: did the child provide more than half of its own financial support for the year?

The question you are asking focuses on the residence test. (Which is why I put an asterisk there.) Did the child live with you for more than half the year? Here, there's an exception for children who are born during the year. (This exception also applies in the case when a child dies during the year.)

In Publication 501, the IRS explains, "A child who was born or died during the year is treated as having lived with you all year if your home was the child's home the entire time he or she was alive during the year. The same is true if the child lived with you all year except for any required hospital stay following birth."

Let's read that again, to capture its nuances. A child born during the year "is treated as having lived with you all year" provided that the child lived with you in your home for "the entire time he or she was alive during the year."

In other words, if that statement is true in your situation, then you will satisfy the residency test.

If you also satisfy the other three tests, then you can claim your baby as a dependent on your tax return.