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Filing taxes as a single parent

Filing taxes often confuses people, but parents in North Carolina who have recently gotten divorce may want to pay attention to certain tax considerations before April draws nearer. For example, a parent who qualifies for head of household filing status may get a lower tax rate than single filing status affords, and other information may also be useful.

Single parents often need to use child care while working, and full-time students or those with an income who are also heads of household might be able to claim $3,000 for one child and twice that amount for two or more children. This applies to those who make less than $75,000, but after-school programs and day camps during the summer count as child care. Additionally, some employers offer dependent care spending accounts, which allow a single parent who is a head of household to contribute up to $5,000 tax-free for child care expenses.

Those who finalized an adoption in 2014 are eligible for federal tax credits of up to $13,190 for each child. Additionally, those who earned $279,650 or less in 2014 could be able to deduct $3,950 for each dependent child. The IRS allows one parent to claim a child for tax purposes as a dependent if the parent financially supported the child for at least six months during the year while living with the child for that amount of time.

Tax matters and other issues concerning children can seem complicated when a couple is going through a marital dissolution. Parents might be unsure about who can claim children as dependents when both parents have joint custody after a divorce. A parent paying child support could question whether these payments are tax-deductible while one receiving child support or alimony may wonder if the money counts as income. The divorce process can be just as tricky as filing taxes, and one may wish to consult a lawyer for advice.

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

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