Can a Deceased Dependent Be Taken as a Tax Deduction?

by Craig Woodman

    It is said that nothing in life is certain but death and taxes. However, death also brings about certain tax implications. In many cases, you can claim tax deductions for your dependents who have died. This is true for personal exemptions -- that is, the amount that the IRS lets you deduct from taxable income for each dependent -- as well as for medical expenses paid on your dependent's behalf. The child tax credit is also available for some deceased dependents.

    You can take an exemption for a child who dies in the year that the death occurred. This is also true for infants, even if the child lived for just a brief moment. The deceased child must meet the usual legal requirements to be claimed as a dependent on your income tax return.

    If you are claiming an exemption for a deceased infant, particularly a newborn, you must meet certain requirements. The birth must be classified as a live birth, with an issued birth certificate. The infant must also have a Social Security number, which some locations issue in connection with a birth certificate. If you do not have a Social Security number for the dependent, you must apply for one before filing your income taxes.

    While not a deduction, the child tax credit allows for a tax credit of up to $1,000 per qualifying child. The IRS criteria state that the child must have lived with you for the entire year, but there are special rules for a child who has died. The IRS considers a child who died during the year to have lived with you the entire year as long as he has lived with you from the beginning of the year to the time of death, or from the time of birth if the child was born during the current tax year.

    You can also deduct medical expenses for a deceased dependent on your Schedule A if you itemize deductions. You can only deduct the portion of medical expenses that exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income. Medical expenses may be claimed for a deceased dependent if they were paid before or after the dependent died.

    About the Author

    Craig Woodman began writing professionally in 2007. Woodman's articles have been published in "Professional Distributor" magazine and in various online publications. He has written extensively on automotive issues, business, personal finance and recreational vehicles. Woodman is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in finance through online education.

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