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The Tax Impact as Your Children Grow Up- Prepare now for potential income tax hits

As your children grow older, you can easily be surprised by a larger tax bill. To help ease the possible burden, consider these tax implications as your dependent children age.

A higher tax bill in your future

At age 6: Loss of excess Child Tax Credit. In 2021, the Child Tax Credit is $3,600 for children under the age of 6. This is an extra $600 that will go away after your child ages out of the benefit. Even more important this benefit is currently scheduled to disappear after 2021.

At age 13: loss of your Dependent Care Credit. If your children are in daycare and you offset some of this cost with the Dependent Care Credit you will lose this benefit when they reach age 13. The impact: a 50% credit against up to $16,000 in qualified daycare expenses in 2021. The good news here is that your children may no longer need the care as they get older.

At age 17 or 18: loss of the Child Tax Credit. While children under the age of 6 get an extra $600, after the age of 17 the balance of this credit goes away. This could amount to a tax bill increase of $2,000 to $3,000 per child, depending on your income. But stay tuned, Congress is actively looking to change this tax benefit.

At age 19 (24 if a full-time student): loss of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC pays a potential credit worth up to $6,728 for people with three or more qualifying children. Children stop being counted when they turn 19, or when they are 24 if they are full-time students.

What to do

Many of the child-related credits and deductions are meant to offset the cost of raising a child. Prepare now for the inevitable change in your tax situation that occurs when they go away. Here are some ideas:

  • Know the age triggers. Note the tax years that these changes will occur. If a child is approaching one of these key years, adjust your spending to save a little more during the year to account for the change.
  • Revise your withholdings. At the beginning of each key year, look at adjusting your withholdings on your paycheck to ease the potential tax burden.
  • Conduct a tax forecast. Understand what the true impact of the change might be. You may find the tax hit less of a burden than you think. If you need help planning ahead, don’t hesitate to call.