When you’re completing your taxes, you may come across a section that asks for the “number of months claimed in prior tax years.” This can be confusing, but it’s actually not as complicated as it sounds. Here’s what you need to know about this question and how to answer it correctly.
What Does “Number of Months Claimed in Prior Tax Years” Mean?
This question is asking for the number of months during which you claimed a certain tax credit or deduction in previous years. For example, let’s say you’re claiming the child tax credit for the first time this year. In that case, you would enter “0” for the number of months claimed in prior tax years.
On the other hand, let’s say you claimed the child tax credit in both 2017 and 2018. In that case, you would enter “24” for the number of months claimed in prior tax years (12 months for 2017 + 12 months for 2018 = 24).
Why Is This Information Required?
The IRS needs this information to calculate your eligibility for certain tax credits and deductions. In some cases, the amount of the credit or deduction may be different based on how long you’ve been claiming it. For example, the earned income tax credit gradually increases each year that you claim it. By entering the number of months claimed in prior tax years, the IRS can determine whether you’re entitled to the full amount of the credit or a reduced amount.
Asking for the “number of months claimed in prior tax years” may sound confusing at first, but it’s actually a pretty straightforward question. This information is required so that the IRS can accurately calculate your eligibility for certain credits and deductions. So, when completing your taxes, take a look at your previous returns to determine how many months you’ve claimed a particular credit or deduction—and then enter that information on your current return. Easy peasy!