Filing taxes? Children need Social Security cards

Published: Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 8:32 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 8:32 p.m.

There's good news for tax filers in 2011.

The due date for 2010 federal income tax returns is April 18 instead of the usual date of April 15. As you prepare your tax documents, don't forget you will need Social Security numbers for your children if you want to claim them as dependents on your return.

In most cases, parents request a Social Security number for their child when applying for a birth certificate. The state agency that issues birth certificates shares the child's information with us, and we mail the card to you.

However, if you didn't apply for a number at the hospital, you must apply at a Social Security office or by mail. To do so you will need the following:

A completed application for a Social Security card (Form SS-5).

Original documents proving your child's U.S. citizenship, age and identity.

Original documents proving your identity.

After you apply, we will verify the child's birth record and mail your child's Social Security card to you. If you do not get a number for your child before the April 18 tax filing deadline but you still need to claim the child as a deduction on your tax return, you can do one of the following:

File your income tax return without claiming the child and then file an amended income tax return when the child has a Social Security number.

File with the Internal Revenue Service to extend the deadline for filing your tax return.

Parents can claim their adopted child for tax purposes while the adoption process is still pending. You will need to contact the IRS for Form W-7A, which is an Application for Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions. Social Security can assign your adopted child a Social Security number before the adoption is complete, but you may want to wait. Then, you can apply for the number using your child's new name, with your name as parent.

If you need to apply for your child, now is the time.

Ruqayyah Nicholas is the district manager of the Social Security Administration office in Gainesville.

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