Tax Information for Parents of Kidnapped Children

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You may claim a kidnapped child as your dependent if the following requirements are met:

  1. The child must be presumed by law enforcement to have been kidnapped by someone who is not a member of your family or a member of the child's family, and
  2. The child must have qualified as your dependent for part of the tax year before the kidnapping.
If both of these requirements are met, the child is treated as your dependent for the following purposes:
  • The dependency exemption
  • The child tax credit, and
  • Head of household or qualifying widow(er) with dependent child filing status.
If the first requirement is met and if the child lived with you for more than half of the year before the date of the kidnapping, the child is treated as living with you for more than half of the year for purposes of the earned income credit.

This tax treatment will cease to apply as of your first tax year beginning after the calendar year in which either there is a determination that the child is dead or the child would have reached age 18, whichever occurs first.

For more information, refer to Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information.


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