Washington’s rules for qualifying children follow the federal Earned Income Tax Credit requirements with one exception – children with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) also qualify.
The main requirements for qualifying children involve your child’s age, relationship, residency, and whether they filed a joint return for their federal taxes.
Video: Qualifying Children (2:54)
A qualifying child must be either:
- Under age 19 at the end of the tax year and be younger than you, the applicant, (or your spouse, if married filing jointly).
- Under age 24 at the end of the tax year and a full-time student for at least 5 months of the year and younger than you, the applicant, (or your spouse, if married filing jointly). Learn more.
- Any age if permanently and totally disabled at any time during the tax year. Learn more.
To be a qualifying child for the WFTC, your child must be your:
- Son, daughter, stepchild, adopted child or foster child.
- Brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, stepsister, or stepbrother.
- Grandchild, niece, or nephew.
Adopted Child Definition
An adopted child is a child who is lawfully placed with you for legal adoption.
Foster Child Definition
For the WFTC, you can only claim a foster child that is placed with you by:
- A State or local government agency.
- An Indian tribal government.
- A tax-exempt organization licensed by a state or an Indian tribal government.
- A court order.
To be a qualifying child for the WFTC, your child must live in the same home as you (or your spouse, if married filing jointly) in the United States for more than half of the tax year. The United States includes the 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. military bases. It does not include United States possessions such as Guam, the Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico.
Birth or Death of a Child
If the child was born or died during year for which you claim the WFTC and they lived with you for more than half of their life during that year we consider that more than half of the year for the WFTC.
Temporary Time Away from Home
If your child was temporarily away from home, we count that as time lived with you. For example, your relative may temporarily leave the home because of:
- Illness or hospitalization.
- School attendance, vacation, business, or military service.
- Detention in a juvenile facility.
For more residency information, see the following IRS publications:
- Homeless shelters
- Military personnel
- Kidnapped child
If your child is required to file a joint return with another person (for example, their husband or wife), you may not be able to claim them.
To be a qualifying child for the WFTC, your child must not have filed a joint return with another person (for example, their husband or wife) to claim any credits such as the WFTC. Your child can file a joint tax return only to get a tax refund on tax withheld from their paycheck.