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Children mean new responsibilities and deductions

Fast Facts:

    • With children come responsibilities as well as deductions, credits
    • Info about child tax credits, related info at 

(370 words)

LITTLE ROCK  -- When children arrive, so do parental responsibilities  -- and tax deductions.

“According to USDA’s 2014 report – Expenditures on Children by Families – a middle-income family can expect to spend about $245,340 to raise a child up to age 18,” said Laura Connerly, assistant professor-family and consumer economics for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. “I whole-heartedly believe the little bundles of joy are worth every penny, but it is nice that they come with some tax exemptions and credits.” 

Most people know that tax filers receive exemptions for dependents. 

“Exemptions reduce your taxable income,” she said. “Tax filers can deduct $3,950 for each exemption claimed in 2014. An exemption can be claimed for each qualifying child. Additionally, many working parents or guardians qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit and the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit.”

A qualifying child can be the taxpayer’s son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or a descendant of any of them. The qualifying child must have lived with the taxpayer for more than half the year. 

The regular exemption applies up to age 19. College students can be counted up to age 24 and the taxpayer may qualify for deductions or credits related to tuition and other school expenses.

The Earned Income Credit, or EIC, increases for tax filers who have children. Workers who were raising two children in their home and had income of less than $43,756 (or $49,186 for married workers) in 2014 can get an EIC of up to $5,460.

The Child Tax Credit provides up to $1,000 per child under age 17. The Child and Dependent Care Credit is for families that need child care in order to work or look for work.

“You qualify if you paid for care for a qualifying dependent child under age 13 or a spouse or dependent not able to care for him or herself,” Connerly said.

Details about the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Child and Dependent Tax Credit and tax benefits for education can be found at See all of the rules for filing status and tax credits from the Internal Revenue Service at

Individuals or families with a combined household income of $60,000 or less in 2014 can file free online. Visit the Cooperative Extension Service website at to learn more about My Free Taxes

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

By Mary Hightower
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126

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