My daughter and her boyfriend live together, and he is the sole earner in the home. They each have a kid plus 1 together. H&R Block told them that he didn't make enough to do his return and now the IRS wants birth certificates. I'm a retired accountant and I've never heard of such a thing! They live in a different city than me and their cars broke down otherwise I would have done this for them. This is bugging me.

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    Hi. It is not clear what you are asking and the title does not make sense. I assume "they" is the IRS. What does not make sense: 1040EZ cannot be used if the filer is claiming dependents.
    – Damila
    Mar 6, 2019 at 15:42
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    Jen - The H&R Block anecdote is off on a tangent that may be making the question a bit unclear. Is that really the question, or are you asking why the IRS would like to see birth certificates? Mar 6, 2019 at 16:01
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    To the vote-to-close members - if the question is edited down to ask why the IRS requires birth certs for a low income return, it might be a decent question, in light of the answer posted by Hart. Patience. Mar 6, 2019 at 16:22
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    Are you just complaining here? The reality is that unless your friend supplies the examiner with birth certificates proving that he has children, then the IRS is going to deny your friend's attempt to claim child tax credits and assess additional taxes and penalties. If you are an accountant, you should know that anybody who claims a credit or deduction better be prepared to prove that they are entitled to that deduction. Mar 7, 2019 at 0:59
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    aaah... The IRS wants Birth Certificated for the children. Not the couple ?
    – mckenzm
    Mar 7, 2019 at 22:07

1 Answer 1


For people that don't earn very much, the largest single financial event of the year is often getting a large tax refund thanks to the Earned Income Credit and the Child Tax Credit. These refundable credits can result in people getting refunds for thousands more than what they had withheld over the year. This makes fraudulently claiming dependents potentially lucrative. The IRS just wants documentation that supports what is being claimed on the tax return.

A birth certificate is a direct way to prove a child is yours, so it is not an uncommon document to provide.

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    The family configuration described also makes it possible that someone else has claimed one of the children listed on the return as a dependent.
    – tbrookside
    Mar 6, 2019 at 17:06
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    @tbrookside Very true, there are many split couples that race to file claiming the dependents so the other parent can't. However, usually a birth certificate isn't going to resolve anything in those situations since without a legal agreement both parents have a right to claim the child even though only one of them can. It gets messy for sure.
    – Hart CO
    Mar 6, 2019 at 17:13
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    From the IRS Web Site: If we pick your EITC claim for an audit based on the child you claim, we ask for proof that the child is your qualifying child ... You need to send proof the child is related to you: ... Birth certificates or other official documents of birth that show you are related to the child,
    – D Stanley
    Mar 6, 2019 at 17:27
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    @HartCO: In fact only one of them has the right and the law is clear who; the person who provided the majority of the person's support.
    – Joshua
    Mar 6, 2019 at 17:38
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    @Paul - citation? This comment makes no sense to me. Mar 7, 2019 at 2:47

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