January 12, 2012 9:32 AM   Subscribe

[US Tax Filter] My daughter does not yet have a social security number. It seems unlikely she is going to get one in time for tax season. How do we file if we don't have her social security number?

She was born at home in September. It took me two tries to get all the right paperwork together, so I didn't get to apply for her SSN until the Monday after Thanksgiving. I applied in the state of Maine, though I live in Massachsuetts, because I was visiting family and had someone to watch Toddler Zizzle while I waited around at the SS office.

Since we were from MA and applying in ME, the ME office has to wait for MA to verify her birth certificate. MA is being really slow about doing so, and until MA gets its butt in gear and just sends off the verification, my daughter cannot get a social security number.

So as we approach tax season, how do we claim her on our 2011 taxes if she doesn't have a number?
posted by zizzle to Law & Government (13 answers total)
Simplest way is to file an extension along with an estimate of taxes you owe, if any.

If you are owed a large refund and want to get that going ASAP, you could also file without her as a dependent, then later file an amended return when you get the SSN.
posted by kindall at 9:42 AM on January 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

You have 3 months left before the initial file is due, and there is a form (quick googling says it's 4868) that just grants you an automatic 6 month extension for filing if you send them the amount you think you're going to owe, which you can figure out without her SSN.
posted by brainmouse at 9:43 AM on January 12, 2012

I have seen a LOT of tax returns where the baby is named and the SSN slot had "not yet received" or even "not available" written in it.

If your kid was 20 it might be more of a problem, but the social security system is slow and you'd be allowed to claim her even if she was born on Dec 30, so the IRS must be used to this.
posted by small_ruminant at 9:47 AM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

We will not owe taxes. And we'll probably be getting a hefty refund.
posted by zizzle at 10:00 AM on January 12, 2012

This seems like a question that you should just ask the IRS about directly. They have a toll free number you can call.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:05 AM on January 12, 2012 [4 favorites]

I wouldn't worry about this for another couple of months, unless you are in a hurry to file to get your refund (in which case I'd do the "not yet rec'd" thing). Once the SSA has what they need they are very quick to send out the SS card, my son was born on Dec. 8th and I got his SS card before Christmas.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 10:06 AM on January 12, 2012

My son was born at home and we didn't have his SSN. We just left it blank.
posted by KathrynT at 10:10 AM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

IRS answer to this exact question. kindall is correct (4868, or amend later). small_ruminant is wrong; technically the exemption should be disallowed, although in practice such things might skate through.
posted by dhartung at 10:49 AM on January 12, 2012 [5 favorites]

I just asked my mom because I actually remember going to the SS office with my dad and standing in line to get mine so I must have been older when I actually got one. My mom said they just left it blank and never had a problem. This was like 30 years ago though, I suggest you go with dhatung's advice though since he actually looked it up.
posted by magnetsphere at 11:41 AM on January 12, 2012

This question amazes me. We kids (born mid-1950s) didn't apply for SSNs until we actually looked for jobs as late teenagers!
posted by BostonTerrier at 3:09 PM on January 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

That's because the law changed^. Before that, claiming dependents was largely on the honor system. Since about seven million dependents vanished suddenly, one can surmise that this was the rough equivalent of several billion dollars in uncollected tax revenue.
I have been a tax preparer, but I am not your tax preparer.
posted by dhartung at 3:40 PM on January 12, 2012

You could also file without claiming your baby as a dependent, get your refund, and then file an amended return once the SSN comes in. I think.
posted by gjc at 4:25 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Wow, dhartung, that makes sense. I would have been still a kid but definitely old enough to remember the process of standing in line at the Social Security office in 1987, knowing how much my parents were hippies I'm not surprised they waiting until they had to to get me a ssn.

So yeah, listing to dhartung, the only one who seems to actually know what they are talking about :o)
posted by magnetsphere at 3:09 PM on January 13, 2012

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