Monday, January 3, 2011

Ages when taxpayers and/or dependents turn into pumpkins

(My choice of photo might strike you as odd, given the time of year. But I love the wonderfully evocative image of Cinderella's carriage turning into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight, just as some tax benefits do! Also, my birthday is on Halloween. Also, my sister-in-law Dinah carved this cool giraffe and sent me a set of tools so I can carve cool stuff into pumpkins myself. I have four pumpkins sitting around from Thanksgiving that I will eventually carve. Suggestions for something tax-related to carve are welcome. Or not tax-related, for that matter. Dinah is a psychiatrist and President of the Maryland Psychiatric Society. She and two psychiatrist friends write a highly entertaining and frequently informative blog called Shrink Rap. Both of us like giraffes, even though they have nothing to do with psychiatry or taxes.)

Age 0
(born by midnight December 31, 2010)
Taxpayer claiming dependent of this age get a whole year's worth of tax benefits on their 2010 return.
(Basic tax topic)

Under Age 13*
Taxpayers are eligible to claim child care tax benefits for dependents under 13. If the dependent turned 13 during 2010, only the expenses for daycare before his birthday can be claimed.
(Basic tax topic)

Under age 17
(born AFTER December 31, 1993)
Taxpayer who have Qualifying Child dependents of this age get the Child Tax Credit ($1,000 per child.)
(Basic tax topic)

Under age 19*
(born AFTER December 31, 1991)
Maximum age for a Qualifying Child dependent unless QC is a full-time student.
(Basic tax topic)

Under age 24*
(born AFTER December 31, 1986)
Maximum age for a Qualifying Child dependent who is a full-time student.
(Basic tax topic)

Between age 25 and age 65
(born between January 1, 1946 and January 1, 1986, inclusive.)
Taxpayers of this age are able to claim EITC even if they do not have a QC dependent.
(Note: taxpayers of any age qualify for EITC if they have a QC.)
(Basic tax topic)

Age less than 59 1/2
Taxpayers who withdraw funds from an IRA, 401(k), 403(b) or similar retirement plans before this age may be subject to a 10% penalty for premature withdrawal
(Intermediate tax topic)

Age 65 or older:
(born before January 2, 1946)
Taxpayers of this age can take a higher standard deduction
(Basic tax topic)

Age 70 1/2
Taxpayers must begin mandatory withdrawals from tax deferred retirement plans beginning in the year they turn 70 1/2 and continuing each year for the rest of their lives.
(Advanced tax topic)

IMPORTANT: Age restrictions above marked with a * have exceptions if the taxpayer or dependent are disabled.


  1. Another interesting pumpkin date:

    Age 24 is also the "Pumpkin date" for the kiddie tax, if the taxpayer is a fulltime student who does not provide more than half on her own supported from EARNED income. That is out of scope for VITA, but still a fascinating topic.

  2. For more about the "kiddie tax", see my previous post here: