Do I Need a Social Security Number for My Baby to File My Taxes?

While the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act got rid of exemptions, a new baby improves your tax filing status still. Specifically, you can save money in the form of tax credits as you'll have another dependent. The Internal Revenue Service states that you can claim your child as a dependent only when you provide their Social Security number on your tax return.

IRS Qualifying Dependent Tests

In addition to having a Social Security number, your new baby must meet certain other tests. Your new baby must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Adopted children also qualify as dependents when the parents are citizens or permanent residents.

When you give birth to a child, the IRS waives the rule that requires your dependents to live with you at least half of the tax year. A child born at any time in the tax year qualifies as your dependent.

Dependent Social Security Number Application

Many people apply for their new baby’s Social Security number at the same time they apply for the birth certificate. The Social Security Administration says this a simple process when you complete your application at the hospital where you deliver your child. This method lets the SSA use the hospital’s birth record to confirm your baby’s birth.

Otherwise, you must wait for your new baby’s original certified birth certificate to apply for their Social Security number. Applying after you leave the hospital creates additional documentation requirements. You will need acceptable proof that your baby is still alive. As the parents, you’ll need to provide evidence of your citizenship. You can use your passport or state-issued or military identification.

File Taxes Without Claiming Dependent

The SSA suggests that most applications require up to two weeks for processing. Whether you complete the application at the time of birth or later, government requirements, backlogs or paperwork can delay the issuance of your baby’s SSN.

When your child hasn’t received a Social Security number by the time the tax filing deadline comes, you can’t list them as your dependent on your tax return form. However, the IRS provides options for getting your tax benefits after the normal tax deadline for the year.

Amend Your Return

The IRS allows you to amend your return to get your dependent deduction after your child’s SSN arrives. If you paid additional taxes for the year that your baby was born, file your amendment within two years of this date. Otherwise, you may file your amended tax return up to three years after the date you submitted it without your child as your dependent.

Use IRS Form 1040-X to change or correct the tax return you filed without claiming your baby. Add your child in Part 1, Exemptions and Dependents on page 2 of form 1040-X. Fill in line 25 with the original number of dependents on your previous return, the net change in dependents, and the correct number of dependents.

Then enter your baby’s full name, SSN and relationship to you in the sections provided on line 3. Follow the IRS Instructions for Form 1040-X to complete other required sections and file your amended return.

Request a Filing Extension

Consider filing an extension application when you’re reasonably sure that your baby’s SSN is on its way to you. The IRS Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return gives you six additional months to file. However, you must send any tax due to the IRS when you make an application for an automatic extension.

First, calculate the IRS tax that you owe when you file without your new dependent. Then, complete Form 4868 and submit it with the amount due. If you don’t owe any taxes without claiming your dependent, just file your return before the extension deadline.

After you get your baby’s SSN, complete your tax return as usual and claim your baby as a dependent. If you have a refund coming, the IRS will send it to you after it receives your tax return.