Whether you're a new mama or have multiple little ones running around, we all know motherhood is busy. To add one more thing to your list, the tax filing deadline—this year, July 15—is approaching. Having children changes multiple parts of your filing process, especially when it comes to new deductions and credits. Depending on what you qualify for, certain tax credits and deductions for families could save you money on your taxes this year.

Here are the tax credits and deductions parents should know about for filing this year.

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

One significant credit that taxpayers sometimes miss is the Earned Income Tax Credit. According to the IRS, one out of five taxpayers who are eligible for the EITC don't claim it. The credit is based on your earned income from working and can be worth up to $6,557 for a family with three kids, so don't miss out on this credit if you are eligible.


Child and Dependent Care Credit

You may qualify for the Child and Dependent Care Credit if your kids are under the age of 13 (no age limit if disabled) and you regularly pay a caretaker to watch them so you can go to work—nursery school, private kindergarten, after-school programs and day care all qualify. The credit can be up to 35% of dependent care costs of $3,000 ($1,050) for one child and up to 35% of dependent care costs of $6,000 ($2,100) for two or more children.

Child care expenses are considered eligible for this credit if the primary reason for the expense is to ensure the child's well-being and protection. So, you're eligible for the Child and Dependent Care Credit if you dropped your kids off at summer day camp or sports camps as long as it was so you could work—overnight camps don't count. One last thing to keep in mind when considering this credit: the caretaker of your children cannot be someone that you claim as a dependent on your return.

Child Tax Credit

The Child Tax Credit allows parents a credit up to $2,000 for each qualifying child. Some basic requirements need to be met in order to take this credit.

In order to qualify, the child must:

  • Be a citizen of the United States, U.S National or U.S. Resident Alien
  • Have a Social Security number
  • Be under the age of 17
  • Be filed as a dependent on your taxes
  • Receive more than half of their financial support from you
  • Have lived with you for more than half a year

What about tax reform law + why it matters for your 2019 taxes?

The tax reform law that was passed in December 2017 impacted most taxpayers beginning with their 2018 taxes (meaning the taxes you filed last year), but there are a few important updates families should know that still affect you today:

  • Five of the seven tax rates were lowered.
  • The standard deduction has increased to $24,400 for married filing jointly, $12,200 for single or married filing separately and $18,350 for Head of Household, so you may benefit from a bigger deduction if you were already taking the standard deduction.
  • Some deductions were either eliminated or reduced. According to the IRS, about 90% of taxpayers took the standard deduction instead of itemizing their deductions last tax season as a result of these changes.

The tax credits above may ease the tax bill for many families—and may even end up getting you a bigger refund. If you are unsure about what credits you may qualify for and how best to navigate tax season as a family, check in with your accountant or tax professional. TurboTax also offers a robust Tax Reform Hub, with a wealth of helpful information and tools that make it easy to file your taxes online.

[Updated June 2020]

When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.


The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.

As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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As mamas we want our babies to be safe, and that's what makes what happened to Glee actress Naya Rivera and her 4-year-old son Josey so heartbreaking.

On July 13, the Ventura County Sheriff's Department announced the 33-year-old mother's body was found at Lake Piru, five days after her son was found floating alone on a rented boat. According to Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub, Rivera's last action was to save her son.

"We know from speaking with her son that he and Naya swam in the lake together at some point in her journey. It was at that time that her son described being helped into the boat by Naya, who boosted him onto the deck from behind. He told investigators that he looked back and saw her disappear under the surface of the water," Ayub explained, adding that Rivera's son was wearing his life vest, but the adult life vest was left on the unanchored boat.


Ayub says exactly what caused the drowning is still speculation but investigators believe the boat started drifting and that Rivera "mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat but not enough to save herself."

Our hearts are breaking for Josey and his dad right now. So much is unknown about what happened on Lake Piru but one thing is crystal clear: Naya Rivera has always loved her son with all her heart.

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