Do I have to list my child's social security number on my income taxes to take a child exemption? What if my child doesn't have a social security number?

2 Answers 2


Straight from the Social Security web site;

Applying for a Social Security card and number for your newborn is voluntary. But, your child needs a Social Security number if you plan to-

* Claim your child as a dependent on your income tax return;
* Open a bank account;
* Buy savings bonds;
* Obtain medical coverage;
* Apply for some kind of government services for your child. 

Freakonomics may not be the most authoritative guide to the us tax code, but this excerpt suggests that you need an SSN for each dependent:

Some cheating leaves barely a shadow of evidence. In other cases, the evidence is massive. Consider what happened one spring evening at midnight in 1987: seven million American children suddenly disappeared. The worst kidnapping wave in history? Hardly. It was the night of April 15, and the Internal Revenue Service had just changed a rule. Instead of merely listing each dependent child, tax filers were now required to provide a Social Security number for each child. Suddenly, seven million children—children who had existed only as phantom exemptions on the previous year’s 1040 forms—vanished, representing about one in ten of all dependent children in the United States.

Source site: http://freakonomicsbook.com/freakonomics/chapter-excerpts/chapter-1/

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .