The number of single dads has increased somewhat since 1960. Back then, roughly 9 percent of households were headed by single fathers. By 2013 that number had jumped to 8 percent. Since this group is no longer so insignificant it is good to start getting information out there regrading what single fathers should be aware of when filing taxes.
First, it’s good to know that the tax law is gender neutral. Whether you’re a man or a woman doesn’t matter, what matters is whether you’re raising a family on your own. If you have legal custody of your children, the IRS will generally give you the deduction. It is possible for the for the non-custodial parent to claim the child if the custodial parent gives permission using a special form.
For a more technical explanation, the IRS gives the dependent deduction to the parent with whom the child spends the majority of the year, that being six months or more. It is actually broken down by overnight stays. So, if the child stays with one parent in the day but spends the night with the other parent, it is the parent at which the child spent the over nights that gets the credit for that day.
As a single father, your tax filing status is affected, so make sure you file the right status. If you’re supporting your kids, you may qualify for head of household. Head of household offers some additional benefits such as a larger personal exemption and more generous tax brackets.
You can claim certain tax credit if you list your kids as dependents. Credits are better than deductions because they directly reduce the amount of taxes you owe the IRS after you’ve calculated your tax liability.
Knowing what your rights are as a single father can save you money when it comes to taxes. See a professional and make sure you’re getting what the law allows.