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My wife and I are US citizens living in the United Kingdom, and we welcomed a baby girl in late December 2018.

I am working on my US taxes now (due June 15th for those residing abroad). Since this is my first time claiming the Child Tax Credit, I did not realize that the dependent child requires a Social Security Number in order to claim the credit.

We already registered my child's birth abroad at the embassy (for those criticizing me, she will have the ability to renounce it for free when she turns 18). However we did not receive a Social Security Number.

Is there anything I can do to still receive the Child Tax Credit? Does anyone know if I can put 000-00-0000 and fill in the number later?

Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

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    Your child would be a US citizen even if you hadn't registered her birth with the consulate. – phoog Jun 5 at 21:19
  • @phoog I did not realize that. That is incredibly unfair – CodyBugstein Jun 5 at 21:22
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    Most acquisition of most countries' nationality is automatic. – phoog Jun 5 at 21:36
  • I don't know if that's true, but no other countries tax you when you are resident outside the country, so it's not a big deal. The US is different. They send you tax bills and impose onerous reporting requirements wherever you may be located. So it's not really so fair if they can declare you a citizen even against your will – CodyBugstein Jun 5 at 21:41
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    I would say that it is the tax law that is unfair, not the nationality law. – phoog Jun 5 at 22:08
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You may be out of luck for this year. Here's the information from the IRS website.

Note: If you don’t have a TIN (taxpayer identification number) by the due date of your return (including extensions), you may not claim the child tax credit (CTC) or the additional child tax credit (ACTC) on either your original or an amended return, even if you later get a TIN. Also, you may not claim the credit on either your original or an amended return for a child who doesn't have an SSN by the due date of your return (including extensions), even if that child later gets an SSN.

(Note: I expanded the acronyms in the IRS statement)

However, OP asked in a comment whether an extension would work if he could get his child's SSN by then. I turned up this FAQ from the IRS.

To summarize:

  1. File now, do not claim your child and later amend your return.
  2. File for an extension. You will still need to pay now any taxes that are due.

Question My daughter was born at the end of the year. We're still waiting for a social security number. May I file my return now and provide her social security number later?

Answer If you file your return claiming your daughter as a dependent and don't provide her social security number (SSN) on your return, the IRS will not allow you to claim her as a dependent.

You have two options:

You may file your income tax return without claiming your daughter as a dependent. After you receive her SSN, you may then amend your return on Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. Generally, you have three years after the date you filed your original return or two years after the date you paid the tax, whichever is later, to amend your return. The other option is to file a Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. This option would give you an additional six months to file your return; by then you should have your daughter's SSN. However, any tax owed will be due at the filing due date without the extension.

In addition to the dependency allowance for your newborn, you may be eligible to claim the earned income credit (EIC) and/or the child tax credit/additional child tax credit (CTC/ACTC). Please note that you can't count your child as a qualifying child in figuring the EIC or claim the CTC/ACTC on either your original or an amended return if your child doesn't have an SSN by the due date of your return (including extensions), even if your child later gets an SSN. For more information about taxpayer identification number requirements, see the Instructions for Form 1040.

  • Does this mean I can file for an extension and get it ? – CodyBugstein Jun 5 at 18:06
  • Hmmm, maybe? Ah, I found another answer about that. Let me make an edit. – mkennedy Jun 5 at 18:55
  • Actually this is very unclear: Please note that you can't count your child as a qualifying child in figuring the EIC or claim the CTC/ACTC on either your original or an amended return if your child doesn't have an SSN by the due date of your return (including extensions) Does that mean an extension does not help? – CodyBugstein Jun 6 at 3:59
  • I think it just mean that if you still don't have the SSN by the extension's due date, or by the deadline to amend the return, you still can't claim the child. The previous paragraph which says you can amend or file an extension to try to get the SSN. – mkennedy Jun 6 at 19:25
  • Yes but the previous paragraph is just talking about claiming a dependent. Not about getting the Child Tax Credit – CodyBugstein Jun 7 at 14:48

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