Parents incur a variety of expenses associated with children. As a general rule, personal expenditures are not deductible. However, there are several deductions and credits that help defray some of the costs associated with raising children, including some costs related to education. Some of the most common deductions and credits related to minors are the dependency exemption, the child tax credit, and the dependent care credit. Also not to be overlooked are tax-sheltered savings plans used for education, such as the Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (ESAs).
Dependency exemption. The dependency exemption is a type of deduction that is available for children and other qualifying dependents, subject to phase out if the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income (AGI) exceeds prescribed threshold amounts. The amount of the personal exemption, adjusted for inflation, is $4,050 for tax years beginning in 2016 and 2017. The dependency exemption is available for each qualifying child under the age of 19 (under the age of 24 if a full-time student) and with no age restriction for a qualifying individual who is permanently and totally disabled. For 2017, the personal exemption begins to phase out for joint filers starting at $313,800 AGI and completely phasing out at $436,300 AGI ($261,500 and $384,000, respectively for single filers).