This chapter is a free excerpt from Ask the TaxGirl: Everything Parents Should Know About Filing Taxes (Including Child Care Expenses, Medical Costs, and the Earned Income Tax Credit.
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As the mother of three children, this means I will be shelling out nearly three quarters of a million dollars to raise my kids, assuming they don't win "America's Got Talent" in the meantime (if you've met my children, you know this isn't very likely or else America is in big, big trouble).
The bottom line is that kids are expensive. Fortunately, there are some tax breaks available to help mitigate the costs.
Of course, I'm not suggesting that you have kids in order to lower your tax burden (though I might have done it once or twice before). It's worth a reminder that while babies are cute, they’re also expensive. And stinky. As they get older, they get less stinky but not less expensive.
Inside this book, you'll get the skinny on the basics like filing status, claiming dependents, and determining exemptions. You'll also find helpful information about how to deduct expenses associated with raising kids, including the costs of medical care and child care. I'll tackle a number of tricky credits and deductions including the ever popular, and much maligned, earned income tax credit. Spoiler alert: I might even throw in a parenting tip or two.
Before you get much further, you should know that there are a couple of things I didn’t tackle in the book. The big one is education expenses because that’s a whole book in and of itself (hmm, note to self: write another book). In addition, while I do touch on some of the consequences of divorce and custody, I don’t specifically address alimony or child support, mainly because child support is tax neutral.
So why did I write this book? Well, I’m a parent and a tax attorney, and I’ve been blogging about tax at Taxgirl.com for years. Some of the questions in the book were posed by parents just like you as part of my “ask the Taxgirl” series on my blog, and the rest of the book addresses some of the big concerns parents have when facing up to taxes. If you still have questions when it is all over, be sure to check out the Essential Reference appendix at the end of the book.
I've written the book for the 2012 tax season to help you plan as you go along. Keep in mind that tax law is always changing, so please check with your tax professional and the IRS before you file anything in black and white. Fortunately for you, this is an election year, so chances are little will actually change between now and 2013.
Enjoy the book (I promise it's possible to have fun with tax law) and thanks for reading!
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