How Old Does a Baby Have to Be to File on Taxes?

After you have a baby, you can claim an extra dependency exemption and may qualify for child-related tax credits. To claim your baby for tax purposes, she must have been alive during the tax year and you must have a valid Social Security number for her.

Baby's Birth Date

There's no minimum age for claiming a baby as a dependent but when your baby was born does matter. To claim a child as a dependent, the IRS normally requires that the child live with you for more than half of the year. However, an exception is made for the birth of your child. You can claim your baby as a dependent for the tax year as long as the baby was born in that tax year. For example, you could claim your baby on your taxes for 2015 and subsequent years if she was born on Dec. 31, 2015. However, if the baby was born on Jan. 1, 2016 or after, you could only claim her for the 2016 tax year and beyond.

Social Security Number

In order to claim your baby as a dependent, she needs to have a Social Security number. Your hospital allows you to apply for a Social Security card for your baby when she's born. If you weren't able to request the card at that time, you can complete Form SS-5 and file it with a local Social Security office. If your child is born near the end of the tax year, file this form right away to ensure that you'll have the number in time to file your taxes. Nolo reports that it takes around 6 to 8 weeks to receive the Social Security card.

If you don't have your baby's Social Security number and you try to claim her on taxes, you could face a penalty and your refund could be delayed. If you don't receive the card by the April 15 deadline, request a free six-month extension and file when it arrives.