Income Tax Proof of Dependents

Updated January 2021  Fact Sheet PDF


If you try to file your tax return and your e-file is rejected, take the following steps:

  • print your return for paper filing (you cannot e-file your return)
  • gather your proof, as explained below (read all the way down), staple the proof to your return
  • mail it all immediately to:

Department of Treasury

Internal Revenue Service

Fresno, CA 93888

  • keep a copy of everything for your records, along with a notation of your mailing date

Please be advised that this quick guide is a summary of many complicated dependency and proof rules enforced by the IRS. Following this guide, however, may assist you in obtaining your refund more quickly than engaging in prolonged correspondence with the IRS.


Please be advised that the Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic at Legal Aid of Arkansas, Inc., does not prepare current year tax returns.


The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

You must prove you lived with your child at your address in the U.S. for more than half the year. You must also prove how you are related to the child. EITC is limited to only a few direct and provable family relationships.


You must show that your child lived with you:

  • the best proof is school records for your child that have your name as the parent or custodian and show the child’s address
  • the dates on the document must be for more than six months of the year
  • but, if you moved and you and your child lived at another address, you need to send documents showing the same address for both of you during the tax year
  • or if your child is too young to attend school: you can send in copies of medical records or a statement from the daycare provider

You must prove how you are related to the child:

  • you must send birth certificates that show the relationship (and these also prove age)
    • to show a niece, for example, you need to include your sibling’s birth certificate and the niece’s birth certificate


Other Dependents

Do not send duplicate documents for EITC and for dependency.


To claim a dependent, you must show:

  • the dependent lived with you for more than half the tax year (with some exceptions)
    • send the same documents as EITC above
  • you supplied more than half of the dependent’s support
    • do not send proof with the return, but be prepared to prove it


Head of Household (HOH) Filing Status

If your only dependent or qualifying child is the one in questions, you will also need to send proof of support to show that you are head of household.

  • send your lease for the year of the return
  • send at least one dated utility bill in your name

This fact sheet is a collaboration of the Center for Arkansas Legal Services and Legal Aid of Arkansas, Inc. These nonprofit organizations provide free legal assistance to eligible Arkansans who meet income, asset, and other guidelines. Legal assistance may also include advice and counsel, brief services, or full representation depending on the situation. For more information about civil legal aid in Arkansas, please visit For information specific to Legal Aid of Arkansas, Inc., visit Apply for services online or by calling 1-800-9-LAW-AID (1-800-952-9243).
The information and statements of law in this fact sheet should not be considered legal advice. This fact sheet is provided as a broad guide to help you understand how certain legal matters are handled in general. Courts may interpret the law differently. Before you take action, talk to an attorney and follow his or her advice. Always do what the court tells you to do.
Content provided by: the Legal Aid of Arkansas, Inc., Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic


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