Life Events

Welcoming a Bundle of Joy (And New Tax Benefits)

Lee Reams II
Welcoming a Bundle of Joy (And New Tax Benefits)

Congratulations on your new baby! This major life-changing event is going to be rewarding and challenging. It also changes your tax situation quite a bit. There's several tax benefits for parents that you're in store for. There's also things you need to be aware of when it comes to your child's present as well as planning for their future. We spoke to several different tax professionals and asked for the best tax advice they can give to new parents. Here's what we found:

Make sure that you get your child a Social Security Card as soon as possible so you can claim them as a dependent.

Dependents need a valid Social Security number in order for you to claim them, so this is something you want to take care of immediately. Kathy Middleton of Katz Consulting, Bookkeeping & Tax Services would like to remind you that, "Even if your baby was born on December 31, you can still claim them as a dependent for the entire year." That's triple the reason to celebrate on New Year's Eve!

Travis Tandy of Tandy Consulting concurs to get the Social Security card and birth certificates right away, and to keep these documents in a safe place since you will need them at many points of your child's life. He also suggests submitting a new W-4 at work so that you can adjust your tax withholding, to prevent extra money from being unnecessarily taken out. Most of all, Tandy says "Enjoy that time with your baby, you can never recover it back, but you can recover some compensation through the Paid Family Leave Act."

Take advantage of pre-tax childcare benefits if your employer offers a dependent care flexible spending arrangement (FSA.)

Keith Ehrich of Enrich Consulting Group says not to think of your children as a huge tax benefit. "[But] if your employer allows a "dependent care FSA" use it. You can put in $5,000 to use for child care, pre-taxed."

Christi Bender, CPA says that dependent care FSAs offer more benefits to new parents. "FSAs enable the new parent to contribute on a pre-tax basis $5,000 toward childcare instead of the normal limit of $3,000." She also advises new parents to keep track of medical expenses associated with childbirth, including fertility treatments since they are all deductible medical expenses and can help maximize a deduction you may not normally receive. "[Fertility treatments] alone can help qualify many other expenses for valuable deductions that would normally be lost due to the 10% floor that needs to be met. It's also a great year to take care of other medical needs like dental work."

Open a 529 plan for your child immediately, even if you can't fund it right away.

Peter Flournoy, CPA advises opening up a 529 plan immediately and funding it on a monthly basis with automated contributions so that the funds consistently grow. Cliff Davis of Davis & Langford CPAs concurs, stating "Even $25 a month saved for 18 years can accumulate more than $20,000 for tuition. As your income grows you can increase the amount you put away."

Flournoy recommends seeing your financial planner every year to discuss your college savings goals and current financial situation. Davis recommends the same as well as having grandparents help fund the 529 plan since they are allowed to do so.

Always utilize a tax professional.

The variety of credits and deductions available to parents can be dizzying and wind up leading to mistakes if you do your taxes yourself. Joshua Standley of DKK Accounting LLC says that this is a huge problem. "The biggest problem I see is when people use DIY software and enter information they don't realize that they don't necessarily get that as an expense. They believe if they enter something on their DIY software they're deducting it."

Congratulations on your new arrival and remember to see a reputable tax professional about any concerns you have with childcare expenses and saving for your child's future.

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Lee Reams II

Lee Reams II


I am a tax and business news junkie who has spent the last 20 years developing and executing "best in class" word-of-mouth marketing campaigns for tax and accounting professionals. With TaxBuzz and CountingWorks we have taken that same commitment to quality content directly to the consumer. Keeping you up-to-date with the latest tax law changes, business growth tips and planning strategies to help you reach your best financial outcome.

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