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William Perez

Claiming Dependents: Complications in the New Tax Law

By January 24, 2006

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Starting with tax year 2005, there are new rules for claiming dependents. This has caused a lot of confusion among tax professionals and taxpayers.

I spoke with Kathy Burlison, Director of Tax Implementation at H&R Block headquarters, about the new "uniform definition of a child," and some issues that will complicate preparing taxes for 2005.

William Perez: What's the deal with the new rules for claiming dependents? Is there anything we should be concerned about?

Kathy Burlison: It would be wise not to simply do what you did last year. For example, the old support test is gone.

WP: The support test meant that if a taxpayer paid more than half of a child's financial support, then that taxpayer could claim the dependent. Under the new rules, the dependent cannot provide over half of his or her own financial support. So, potentially, more than one taxpayer could qualify to claim the same child?

KB: Yes. The support test is a "gotcha." There are scenarios where more than one taxpayer could claim a child. In that case, we would look at which taxpayer would have the best tax advantage in claiming the child.

WP: Are there situations where taxpayers could lose a dependent under the new rules?

KB: There are three family situations where taxpayers could lose the benefits of claiming a dependent. Unmarried couples who are supporting a child who isn't their "qualifying child" under the new rules could lose out. If the dependent is someone else's qualifying child, then neither partner could claim the child under the "qualifying relative" rules.

WP: So, let's say John and Mary, an unmarried couple, are caring for Kathy, who is John's neice. Kathy would be the qualifying child of her mother or father, but would be a qualifying relative for John and Mary. Since Kathy meets the definition of a qualifying child for at least one taxpayer, she cannot be claimed as a qualifying relative for anyone else?

KB: Yes, that's right. We could summarize it this way: Once a qualifying child, always a qualifying child, and never a qualifying relative.

WP: What are some other family situations where taxpayers could lose out?

KB: Separated parents who attempt to split the tax benefits, such as one taxpayer claiming the dependent and the other taxpayer claiming the child tax credit and earned income credit. Under the new rules for dependents, all the child-related tax benefits are tied to claiming the dependent. So now one taxpayer has to claim all the benefits.

WP: No exceptions?

KB: Except in the case of a court-approved separation or divorce decree.

WP: What about divorced parents where one parent waives the right to claim the dependent?

KB: The custodial parent can still waive his or her right to claim the dependent and the child tax credit. The dependency exemption and the child tax credit cannot be split, they must go together. The head of household filing status, earned income credit, and child and dependent care tax credit always stays with the custodial parent. The childcare credit can only be claimed for qualifying children.

WP: Thank you for speaking with me today.

Kathy Burlison is Director of Tax Implementation for H&R Block, and she provides training materials for all of the H&R Block tax advisors around the nation. H&R Block operates over 10,000 retail locations offering tax preparation services. H&R Block also publishes the TaxCut tax preparation software.

Comments
April 26, 2006 at 11:39 am
(1) Steve says:

All I can say if very unfair. I just got broadsided because I have joint custody and pay more than half of their expenses, but apparently my ex claimed them when she shouldn’t have. It appears I have no recourse other than to go back to court to force her to sign the IRS form relinquishing them as dependents.

September 28, 2006 at 2:27 pm
(2) Lyle says:

In the example where the John and Mary want to claim John’s neice Kathy as a qualifying child or relative, I would say they can claim Kathy as a qualifying child. First, she meets the relatinship test (descendant of John’s sibling), she meets the residence test (lived with John more than six mos)meets age test(under 19)and the support test (Kathy did not provide more than half of her own support)The key then is Kathy the qualifying child of someone else. The column thinks Kathy’s parents could claim her, but they fail the qualifying child test on two counts. Kathy did not live with them and the parents did not provide more than half of the support. So, John can claim Kathy as a qualifying child. Qualifying relative is irrelevant in this case.

September 28, 2006 at 2:43 pm
(3) William Perez says:

I agree that (in this example) John and Mary could claim Kathy as a qualifying child, if Kathy lived with John and Mary for more than half the year. However, I wrote the example deliberately without specifying how long Kathy has been living with her uncle and aunt. Thus, as it stands, Kathy is the qualifying child of her parents, and is automatically precluded from being the qualifying child or qualifying relative of anyone else.
Another observation: you mentioned that the parents did not provide more than half of Kathy’s support. This fact is irrelevant under the new uniform definition of a child. All that is required: that Kathy not provide over half of her own support. In situations where it is not clear who can claim the child, the IRS applies the tie-breaker tests, which will award the dependent’s exemption to the parents.

January 29, 2007 at 11:07 pm
(4) o says:

A married couple got separated around September but legallly still marry. A wife claimed a child as on her tax, what about the husband? He has the right to claim the child too right becasue he support for than half of the year? But since the wife already filed he loose out?

February 8, 2007 at 1:46 pm
(5) Stacie says:

My situation I guess is a little more confusing and maybe it just takes a professional to explain. My step son was living with us for 4 years. My husband was listed as the domicilary parent for that time. In August 06 he was gone to school and his ex came and took the boy home with her. By the time my husband came back from his school the boy had already been enrolled in school and had been at his mothers for three weeks. He is fourteen and old enough to say who he wants to live with. My husband and I felt it better on everyone financially and emotionally if we just let him stay with her. Now we have rolled around to tax season and she, I am sure, has already claimed him on her taxes. Legally who should be able to? If in fact it is us can we do it anyway and not be penalized in an audit?

February 8, 2007 at 2:00 pm
(6) William says:

One of the four requirements for claiming a dependent as a qualifying child is that the child must live with you for more than half the year. In the scenario you give, the child lived with his father from January to August 2006, and then lived with his mother from August to December 2006. The child clearly lived with his father for more than half the year, and so the father would claim his son as a dependent. In an audit, the IRS will look first at the requirements for a qualifying child, and then look to the tie-breaker tests. Under the tie-breaker tests, the dependent will be awarded to the parent with whom the child lived for the longest time during the year — again, which will the father. Your husband has the superior claim to the dependent, and you should file your tax return with confidence knowing that you will prevail in an audit.

December 5, 2007 at 5:30 pm
(7) Steve says:

My scenario is a very harsh one. I pay for about 90% of the support of my two children, who live with their mother. While they choose not to live with me, I am forced to pay almost entirely for their support and well being as their mother does not work. By rights of paying for the lions share of their support… I should be able to claim them as deductions should I not??? This makes it sound like I have no right since I am the non-custodial parent. Evidently I have to have my ex fill out a form so I may receive the deductions I have to pay all year for??? Egads!!!

December 5, 2007 at 6:25 pm
(8) William says:

The way the law is written, to claim a dependent, the dependent must live with you for more than half the year. As you said, Steve, you can ask your ex to release her claim to the dependents by filing Form 8332 (pdf). This would release her claim to the dependents and enable you to claim them. However, unless this provision was stipulated in your divorce decree or child custody agreement, I doubt you’ll be able to convince her to do this.

January 2, 2008 at 11:46 am
(9) angela says:

My ex and I divorced four years ago, I went to court and got custody of the children. Then, our daughter decided to live with her dad and our son continued to live with my current husband and I. My son this summer as he does every summer went for vacation to visit his dad. Now, my ex has kept my son and filed a temp order for custody. He didn’t get custody until august 13, 2007. From January 2007 on my son lived with me. Who legally can claim him?

January 7, 2008 at 10:28 pm
(10) Rae says:

A non married couple has one child. Mother has full custody and pays for daycare. Father pays child support and medical. Child lives with mother all year. Father wants to claim child everyother year. Can this happen?? Who will get the deduction for daycare??

January 16, 2008 at 7:58 am
(11) Jamal says:

The rules are not fair for non-custodial parents who pay child support and medical expenses for the children but receive no deductions come tax time. The IRS should at least look at this rule and possibly allow the credit/deduction to be split.

January 16, 2008 at 12:38 pm
(12) AM says:

Ihave a 3 part question :)
1)My finance’s license is suspended due to child support, however he has not been to court yet. Will his taxes refund be affected? 2)Also he was injured in a car accident he was not able to work until Oct.07. I handled all of his expenses. Can I claim him as a dependant?
3)More so will the pending child support issue affect my refund?

January 22, 2008 at 12:23 pm
(13) Ron says:

Not too complicated really-just need an opinion. I have two children, one of whom moved to Georgia with us during a summer visit (July 07′)–so in effect, she has been living with us 6 months of the year. Her mother in North Carolina is the custodial parent per the divorce decree but my wife and I have been the guardian since July. Since moving here my wife and I have invested a great deal of money in seeing that she receive the routine medcal care required for hypothyroidism, routine pediatric visits as well as orthodontic care that was, in the words of the orthodontist, delayed unnecessarily and, in fact, negligently by her mother. I feel that the “fair” thing to do here is that she be listed as a dependent on our taxes for 2007; however, her mother is unwilling to cooperate. Does my case to claim my daughter as a dependent hold water or am I “up the creek”?

February 1, 2008 at 5:43 pm
(14) Mom of 5 says:

Nothing is fair. The laws need to be changed BAD. Most couples, whether married or just ex-girlfriends or boyfriends, are not friends or decent enough to each other to talk. So that form that must be signed to allow the one that deserves to claim the kid(s) is a JOKE. Just a MESS that really needs to be fixed.

February 6, 2008 at 8:03 pm
(15) concerned mom says:

Well her is my scenerio im married but seperated we have been seperated for over a year and a half.We have a son who is a yr old and My ex claimed my son last year on his taxes but my son doesnt live with my ex he lives with me and has been living with me since we seperated. Now he does pay child support and nothing else. he has seen my son like maybe 4 times in one year. So I want to claim him this year but the only problem is that i havent worked this whole year and my sister has been head of our household. Can she claim my son since she has been providing for us.

February 8, 2008 at 3:21 pm
(16) grandmother says:

This is so confusing!! Unmarried parents living apart, child live w/mother 12 months. Father pays over 1/2 expenses for their child. Can the father claim the exemption for his daughter and the mother claim the EIC and childcare/daycare expense?

February 10, 2008 at 11:32 pm
(17) tammy says:

i think the tax places need more verification papers on the children people are claiming,because i have got to ammend my taxes due to someone else that me or my husband does not even know has claimed our daughter ,after the ammendment the irs will go after that person but in long run we had to proof she has never been with anyone else and now we have to wait 8-10 weeks for tax returns .shes only 10

February 12, 2008 at 10:13 pm
(18) marcus says:

if an ex-wife dosent work how can she file income tax. the only money she recived was childsupport and how can her husband claim kids on his tax returen that isnt his.

February 14, 2008 at 1:37 pm
(19) Vonnie says:

Can a son claim his mother as a dependent if she lives with him and he pays the household bills but she receives social security which exceeds the amt allowed for one exemption?

February 18, 2008 at 8:15 am
(20) stxlady says:

Crazy huh , I think our goverment needs to do away with the Taxes!

June 12, 2008 at 2:57 pm
(21) R. Miller says:

Steve, it is very unfair, but I’m sorry to say the law is not with you. The law ASSUMES that the parent with whom the child lives provides more than 50% of the support. The only way to circumvent this is to have child custody stipulated in your Joint Parenting Agreement. For example, my ex-wife and I alternate years claiming our son for tax purposes. It must be in the Joint Parenting Agreement, signed by both parties, and approved by the judge. Then, of course, each parent must abide by it. If you both try to claim the same child in the same year, at best you’ll get less than the expected refund. At worst, you’ll get audited.

August 29, 2008 at 1:52 pm
(22) george says:

My son started living with me in September of 2007. Obviously I am not entitled to file in a different status or claim him as a dependent for the exemption. His mother has physical custody according to the agreement. He will probably live with me throughout his high school (15 years old) He sees are about 20 percent of the time. I also continue to pay child support. I do not know if she will release the exemption, but I plan to file head of household and immediately upon receipt of w-2 file the return. I believe the tie breaker is the redemption. Secondly, I would be the only one who could claim head of household in the current circumstances and via an audit, correct?

August 29, 2008 at 1:57 pm
(23) george says:

In the second sentence, I meant that I could not claim him as a dependent or get an exemption for 2007 due to the residency issue. However, for 2008, it would seem that I am entitled for both head of household and the exemption.

August 29, 2008 at 8:13 pm
(24) William Perez says:

George, you right that you are not entitled to claim your son as a dependent, nor use the Head of Household filing status, for 2007. That’s because to be a dependent and to get HOH status, the child needs to live with you for more than half the year.
For 2008, you might qualify for HOH if your son lives with you for more than half the year. You might also be able to claim him as a dependent if the mother releases the dependency exemption to you for that year.

October 21, 2008 at 6:28 pm
(25) danielle says:

my husband and i will have finished our divorce by dec of this year. since jan of this year he has had our daughter about 8%. i was granted full custody about 2 months ago. but then he askes if he can claim her.. can he? he said that it would benefit both of us . how is this poss? he is in the military and makes more money than i do so is that why? is it legal? i mean that extra money would really help me out and i know that if for some reason he would get more back bc of his income and being in the military that he would give me the money, but im just not sure how this works or if it really matters how much you make vs how much you get back for having a dependent.. HELP!!!

November 28, 2008 at 6:41 pm
(26) mom of four says:

My ex-husband has traditionally made more than I have, as we agreed I would put my career on hold to stay home with our children when they were young. I renewed my career 6 years before we were divorced, have full custody, provide more than 1/2 their support, and he takes them (his choice) no more than 4 days per month, and often less than 8 hours per month. He is supposed to cost-share medical and extra-curricular expenses with me and is consistently behind at least 2 quarters. I signed away the right to claim 2 of our children as dependents when we divorced, and would like to know how I can get them back! The individual exemption would just about cover how much he owes me each year…..

December 16, 2008 at 7:22 pm
(27) LETRINA TUGGLE says:

I WAS TOLD THAT I COULD NOT USE MY 17 YEAR OLD CHILD NOMORE AS A QUALIFING DEPENP.. AS OF THIS YEAR. SHE IS STILL IN SCHOOL. I AM THE PROVIDER 4 HER. IS THIS THE TRUTH OR NOT. PLEAASE REPLY?

December 16, 2008 at 7:36 pm
(28) taxes says:

Letrina, you’ll need to review all the qualifications for dependents to answer the question. But in general, as long as your daughter is a full-time student and under age 24, then you can claim her as a dependent. If she’s not in school, then she would need to be under 19 years old to be claimed as a dependent. Now, you might also be thinking of the child tax credit or the stimulus refund, both of which require that the dependent also be under age 17.

January 5, 2009 at 7:39 am
(29) trudy says:

my scenario is very complicated some one please help me. I have a 7 year old son who is disabled and recieves ssi payments. Me and his father have never been married, and do not live together, i am the custodial parent, and also the payee of his ssi. I provide more than half of his support, his father payes child support, and chooses not to have anything to do with him. However he wants me to sign this form allowing him to claim him as a dependent this year if i do this can i still recieve the eic on him. also since i am the payee on his ssi, does this mean that his dad cant claim him at all.

January 5, 2009 at 3:42 pm
(30) Wendy says:

I am a single parent of an 18 year old college freshman. Her part time income amounted to $3000.00 last year. Her friend has lived with us for 2 years, they are 20 years old. They are also a college freshman, having recently discharged from the Air National Guard. Her income amounted to app. $3000.00, as well. I have provided all of the support for both of them throughout this entire year. I feel I should be able to claim them as dependents on my taxes, they feel they should be allowed to file independently and receive their refund. Who is right??

January 8, 2009 at 12:14 am
(31) mandy says:

I AM TOTALLY CONFUSED ABOUT MY SITUATION. I got divorced four years ago, the divorce agreement states that my ex husband can claim one child each year as a dependent. It doesnt say anything about child tax credit or anything and he only pays fifty dollars a month for two kids for child support. And never sees them. So can I legally claim both kids. I am now remarried and my new husband is furious because he pays for everything. Any advice.

January 12, 2009 at 8:32 am
(32) David shackford says:

Through a divorce agreement in 1993, my wife had given her ex the right to claim one of their two children on taxes, however, provisions were never stipulated about which years or how long he could claim her. He is now remarried and has had another child. My wife and I were married in early 2008. Recenlty, we asked him to stop claiming her so that we might recoup some of the myraid of expense throughout this year and he declined. The 17 y/o child and her brother live with us full time and we certainly pay more than half of their expenses including medical /dental /eye care. Does he have any rights to claiming? If we both claimed her who would win? He currently claims 4 dependents while only 3 are living full time in his home, while my wife and I are providing for 4 and presumably can only claim three. Please help me out on this one?

January 12, 2009 at 7:52 pm
(33) Sherry says:

My question deals with my husbands x wife allowing her mother to claim the children on her taxes. the children do technically live with the grandmother (and mother) but we support the children financial beyond the child support we are expected to pay. I have hear rumors that it is not legal for the grandmother to claim the children without the consent of the father. Is that true?

January 13, 2009 at 8:33 pm
(34) William Perez says:

Sherry, the grandmother may be eligible to claim the kids as dependents, but only if the kids live with her for more than half the year. If the kids and the mom all live together with grandma, then technically only the mother is eligible to claim the kids. That’s because the tie-breaker tests for qualifying children awards the dependents to the parent.

As for how much money you pay for the support of the children, that is no longer a relevant criteria. The relevant factor is that the kids cannot provide more than 50% of their own financial support.

March 7, 2011 at 11:55 pm
(35) ruby rice says:

I’am a grandma,and I want claim my grandclid she live with me and her mother too can I claim then both the mother is over 30?

January 13, 2009 at 8:40 pm
(36) William Perez says:

Wendy, you are eligible to claim your daughter, but you are probably not eligible to claim her friends who are living there with you. Your daughter is a qualifying child with respect to you. The roommates could be qualifying relatives if they live with you for the entire year. However, the roommates will likely be qualifying children with respect to their parents, and so would prevent you from claiming them as dependents.

All the kids are eligible to file their own tax return and obtain a refund of their withholding, even if they are being claimed as dependents.

January 13, 2009 at 8:45 pm
(37) William Perez says:

Mandy, you should probably honor the divorce decree, if only to keep your end of the bargain. Thus he should claim one of the kids and you should claim the other. You will be able to claim the child tax credit definitely for your dependent, and possibly for the other child as well.

If you want to revoke the permission you gave to your ex-husband to claim one of the dependents, you will need to notify him of this revocation at least a year in advance. You should first talk this over with a tax professional or possibly an attorney just to be sure this will be in your best interests.

August 17, 2011 at 6:54 pm
(38) Estella says:

See I agree with Mandy only because her ex husband does not fully support his kids. If she did not comply with the divorce decree can you she get in trouble? My problem with my boyfriend ex wife in his situation he has joint custody and pays everything in half and pays child support but his ex wife went against the divorce decree. Can his ex wife get in trouble? She went ahead and claimed their son. He filed his tax returns were sent back because their son was already claimed by her.

January 19, 2009 at 9:00 pm
(39) taxes says:

David, you’ll need to re-read the divorce agreement and also this section of Publication 501 dealing with separation agreements made after 1984. Starting this year (2009), your wife is going to have to specify exactly which years the ex-spouse can claim the child by using Form 8332. This would be a good opportunity to review your entire situation with an experienced tax professional so you can plan out which year(s) you want to provide the ex with the ability to claim the child.

January 19, 2009 at 10:56 pm
(40) JON MEDINA says:

my daughter lived with her mother for the greater part of 2008. I paid half of the day care expensis but my ex gets to claim her for 2008 according to the seperation papers,and i get to claim her in 2009 and back and forth. My question is can i claim the daycare expensis i paid in 2008 even though i am not claiming my daughter?

January 20, 2009 at 2:34 pm
(41) baby gurl says:

i would like to know if i can claim my god daughter even tho she didnt live with me

January 20, 2009 at 2:37 pm
(42) baby gurl says:

can i claim my god dauther even if she doesnt live with me she is 9 months old now

January 20, 2009 at 8:31 pm
(43) William Perez says:

Jon, only the custodial parent is eligible to claim the child and dependent care tax credit. Sorry.

January 20, 2009 at 8:34 pm
(44) taxes says:

baby gurl, generally only person who has actual custody of the child is eligible to claim the dependent. That’s because of the one criteria for having a dependent is that the child live with you for more than half the year.

January 21, 2009 at 12:45 am
(45) Tracy says:

I do not file taxes because I collected worker’s comp. for 6 months and I’m not required to. My daughter lives with my fiance and I, he supports her, can HE claim her on his taxes ???

January 22, 2009 at 11:46 am
(46) babygurl says:

taxes,what if her mom gives me permission to claim her since i supported the baby thru the whole year.

January 22, 2009 at 3:49 pm
(47) William Perez says:

Babygurl, unfortunately, just because you supported your god-daughter financially does not qualify you to claim her as a dependent. This baby would be a qualifying relative with respect to you, which means to get the dependent the child will need to live with you for an entire calendar year and cannot be a qualifying child of another taxpayer. As it stands, your god-daughter will likely meet the definition of a qualifying child with respect to the child’s mom. Now the the custodial parent can agree to release the dependent — but only to the noncustodial parent. So the way the law is written now, only the person who has actual custody of the child for more than half the year gets to claim the dependent.

January 25, 2009 at 10:47 pm
(48) Elizebeth says:

My son’s ex-girlfriend has lived with me more than 1 year with her baby (my granddaughter), I pay all bills including food. I know I can claim the baby as a qualify child, can I claim her mother (my son’s ex-girlfriend) who has no job and has not paid me anything all year to live here?

January 27, 2009 at 1:14 pm
(49) New Husband says:

I need some advice. I got married in 08. My stepson lives with us full time and stays with his dad one night a week on average. After my wife’s divorce, she transferred funds electronically to her account from his for quite a while ( I know sounds bad) after a while the ex caught on and confronted her about it. Rather than have her brought up on charges they verbally agreed that he would claim the child on his income taxes until the child was 14 or 15 to help pay back this debt. Its tax time and i feel i should be able to claim the child since he lives with us. What are the ramifications if i proceed with claiming him. Is it even worth the hassle and could he press any sort of charges? I believe given the living arrangement I technically should be allowed… How would something like this likely play out. The ex is a vendictive sort and given the circumstance i would hardly blame him. I found out this stuff after marrying.

January 29, 2009 at 10:37 am
(50) Andrew says:

I’ve been a stay at home dad for the whole year of 2008, taking care of 3 infants. Does my ex (still technically married) get to claim all 3 kids as dependents of hers and I get left high and dry? She is going to be filing soon…

January 29, 2009 at 12:32 pm
(51) Gabe says:

Here it is…I support my girlfriend of 7 1/2 years…she made a mistake and slept with someone else and got pregnant. We are still together ;) and I support my girlfriend and the child %100, she does not work and our child is a special needs baby. Can I claim them both as dependents? The baby is 16 months currently?

January 29, 2009 at 2:38 pm
(52) Justina says:

ok like in my case i put my 2 kids on mine and also put head of house hold dad and i are not together but we had a verbal and i have text messages saying that i can claim them and i would give him money form it and now hes going to claim them thru the mail cause i E filed mine and what will happen is my question??

January 29, 2009 at 2:53 pm
(53) Christina Gonzalez says:

I need help. I am an 18 year old full time student at USC. I have two children, a 2 year old and a three year old. I live with my parents, and my boyfriend (which is the father of my children) also lives with me. I do not work but my boyfriend does and of course he claims both of the children in his taxes, however, last year we trusted my parents by giving them our informaiton so they can file his taxes, to our surprise they claimed one of the kids, and my boyfriend got less money than he should have.This year my boyfriend decided to do his own taxes, and now my dad is threatning to claim my daughter as a dependant anyways because of the fact that we live in their house. CAN HE DO THIS? I mean we pay rent, some utility bills, and they do not buy my kids stuff like diapers or clothes. But yet they still think they have the right to claim my daughter. What can I do?

January 29, 2009 at 10:52 pm
(54) jessica says:

I am a single mother of 2 boys. we all 3 live at home with my parents. i work a full time job and support my children as much as i can. My parents informed me that they are claiming my kids because we are staying here currently..I WAS PLANNING ON CLAIMING THEM, DO THEY HAVE THE RIGHT TO CLAIM THEM WITHOUT MY PERMISSION ?????

February 1, 2009 at 2:56 pm
(55) Angel says:

I have a situation I haven’t seen posted yet. My brother is 20 years old, and lives at home with mom. He joined the Navy Reserves and was gone for 5 months, Jan-June, at training. Mom gets no child support anymore. He’s lived with her over 6 months, but when it comes to support, he supports himself by paying rent, buying his own food, clothes, bills, etc. Therefore he doesn’t meet that criteria for a qualifying child. Can she claim him, or does he get to claim himself?

February 3, 2009 at 9:38 am
(56) cbowles says:

My husband and I have been separated since june 21, 2008. I have custody of both of our kids for 6months and 10 days as of december 31,2008. He doesn’t any pay child support. The kids used his address for summer school, because we lived out of the school district, but they lived with me. Did he have the right to claim one of the kids, because they used his address and it looks like they lived with him?

February 4, 2009 at 12:38 am
(57) Kari says:

My daughters father and I have joint legal and physical custody, he has primary residence. I paid him $4400.00 in child support in seven months. She lives with him most of the year. Am I entitled to claim her? There is nothing in the custody order or support order that says I can’t. Please respond ASAP with an answer for me. I already claimed her for 2008, will I have too give the money to my ex?

February 8, 2009 at 8:45 pm
(58) April Reed says:

My son will be 19 years old on 7/20/2009. His AGI for the 2008 tax year was $3621.02. He is a senior in high school but has worked since he was 15 years old. He lives in a legitamate apartment owned by us and pays us $100.00 monthly. I signed form 8332 in the year 1993 giving his father the right to claim him for all remaining tax years. My question is this: When is my son eligible to claim his own exemption and when does his father stop claiming him? He will be going to college in the fall.

February 11, 2009 at 11:30 am
(59) COMPLICATED says:

My aunt moved to mexico due to not being able to be financially stable. Now my cousin is staying with a distant relative of theirs (dads cousin) for the last 3 years. Dad has never been in the picture (dont know where he is) And her uncle(?) I supposed thats what he will be of hers claimed her on his tax return and got audited due to lack of proof of relationship. What can be done to help prove the situation. My aunt drafted a letter and notarized it to give up her rights as a parent, but the laws are different in Mexico than here. Can he legally claim her? or is he at a loss here?

February 14, 2009 at 4:34 pm
(60) Janet says:

My daughter was married in July 2008 to the father of her 2 kids. He is incarcerated. My daughter’s tax return was rejected because his mother claimed him as a qualifying child for eic. His mother provides no support to him either monetarily or otherwise. She has only seen him 3 times in the past 4 years.My daughter sends him money to buy what he needs that the prison doesn’t provide. Shouldn’t she be able to claim him as opposed to his mother?

February 15, 2009 at 11:08 am
(61) Rose says:

My daughter has a 3 year old child. In november she and her boyfriend split and she and my grandaughter now resides with me. She has always had custody of my grandaughter and we have a signed agreement that she was to take my grandaughter on her taxes this year. her ex does not pay support when she filed her taxes she was notified that her daughter had already been claimed. right or wrong how is this resolved.

February 16, 2009 at 3:12 pm
(62) Gurl says:

I have been taking care of my god nephew 4years old since january 13,2008 and my god niece since her mother was 3mos pregant and I know still have both children but we have not went through the system or tranfered anything to my name I am now being reviewed what should I do

February 16, 2009 at 8:07 pm
(63) taxes says:

Rose, the rules for dependents are complicated. In this situation, both your daughter and her ex-boyfriend need to review the criteria for a qualifying child. An important factor here is that the child needs to reside in the same household as the taxpayer for more than half the year. If they broke up in November and if they lived together before that, it’s possible the child might have lived with both parents for more than half the year. In this case, you’ll need to move to the tie breaker tests, which awards the dependent to the parent with whom the child lived the longest. It sounds like your daughter would be entitled to the dependent under these tie-breaker tests. If that’s the case, then she will need to file her return on paper, and then respond to any letters from the IRS (which will arrive in about 6 to 12 months). The IRS will send letters to both parents and ask them to prove they are entitled to the dependent.

February 17, 2009 at 1:09 pm
(64) Erik says:

I have a difficult situation with claiming my daughter. Her mother and I are divorced and I have a 8332 form that indicates I can claim her in ALL EVEN numbered years.My daughter turned 19 yrs old in December. I provided her mother child support up until June at which time my daughter graduated from high school. My daughter and her boyfriend both lived in my home but only for 1 month. My daughters boyfriend and her have been living together in various households through out the past tax year. My daughter says she can “allow” her boyfriend to claim her as his dependent and I can not claim her. I thought that my 8332 form and my support through more than half the year would allow me to claim her.
How do I know who has the right to claim her at this point?

February 18, 2009 at 8:01 pm
(65) edith murdock says:

I was unaware of the new tax laws, I mean that’s what I pay H&R block for, right? I filed my taxes claiming my son for the earned income credit. His father whom I’ve never been married to and is the custodial parent, claims him for the child tax credit.I told my rep to file my sons social security number the same way we had since his birth. Unfortunately, my rep did not mention the changes in the law, and my son was claimed on both parts of my taxes. I am afraid That I will be facing contempt of court charges, and a felony. This sucks and who is responsible? edithmurdock@yahoo.com

February 25, 2009 at 6:24 pm
(66) Jody says:

I have 2 children/ never was married to their father. He received his w2′s 2 wks before I did and he claimed both the children. I am the sole provider for these children/ I also have full custody. The children live with me. The father has been in and out of the relationship for the last 2 years. I did not claim my two children, because I knew he did. Am I able to file an amendment? I did not realize that he probaly should not of been claiming the children. How can I fix this?

March 28, 2009 at 1:02 am
(67) Stacey says:

I don’t know much about these things, for I am new to the system. I have 1 child I am un-married. Though my child has always lived with me, since the day she was born on up until now she’ll be 3 tomorrow. Less than a year about my ex and I agreed to shared parenting time, yet she would be with me the majority of the time including: when she starts school and the agreement was that he could claim her as of the beginning of this year and every other year there after with my permission, yet he was suppose to had filed a 8332 with my consent and signature. Never did he claims my daughter any way! Even though she only visits him 4 days every other weekend, but my daughter does not live with hime, for she is not even on his lease. My question now “how is it possible for him to have that right?”

April 19, 2009 at 8:35 am
(68) Wendi Guerrero says:

Comment 35 is wrong. Even if a CP waives the right to claim the dependent, he/she would still be elgible for HOH status AND EIC. The NCP would take the Child Tax Credit and the exemption.

April 19, 2009 at 8:46 am
(69) Wendi Guerrero says:

Stacey,

He doesn’t have that right. The IRS gives the custodial parent the right to claim the child. I would claim the child anyways and he will get audited and have to pay the money back to the IRS. He can only claim the child if you sign IRS form 8332 and release the dependency exemption. It doesn’t matter who pays for the child’s support. As far as the IRS is concerned, the custodial parent is the one who has the child 51% of the time.

April 19, 2009 at 8:50 am
(70) Wendi says:

Jody,
You can and should file an amendment. It doesn’t matter that he filed first. When you both claim the children, the only thing that matters to the IRS is who the children are with more. The only thing that will suck is that while trying to figure the situation out, your refund may be delayed. He will end up owing the IRS, but at least he might learn that he needs your permission to release that right. This can be done on IRS form 8332.

June 13, 2009 at 2:03 pm
(71) David says:

Steve,
Currently in divorce preceedings, my wife left me in aug. of 2008. Filing before myself she claimed my 19 year old daughter as a dependent, leaving myself to pay fed. taxes. We were still legally married at the time. Court papers stated we were to file together. How do I file a dispute?

June 13, 2009 at 9:11 pm
(72) taxes says:

Erik, you are correct. You have a valid 8332 form in which the mother relinquished her right to claim the dependent in even years. So you are the only other person eligible to claim your daughter as a dependent, since your daughter would be a qualifying child for you but only a qualifying relative for the boyfriend, and the qualifying child rules always outweigh the qualifying relative rules.

June 13, 2009 at 9:14 pm
(73) taxes says:

Edith, simply amend your tax return to make the corrections. Your tax preparer should offer to do this free of charge or at a discounted rate since, apparently, he did not listen to you properly the first time.

June 13, 2009 at 9:17 pm
(74) taxes says:

Jody, yes you could amend your tax return to claim your two dependents. For that amendment I would attach copies of any documentation that supports your position, such as a child custody agreement. The IRS will audit the father’s tax return as well, and the IRS will likely rule in your favor and deny the dependents to the father.

June 13, 2009 at 9:19 pm
(75) taxes says:

Wendi, thanks for correcting my advice. I appreciate it.

June 13, 2009 at 9:24 pm
(76) taxes says:

David, I’m not a lawyer, so I cannot address the legal issues in your questions (such as whether two parties can be compelled to file a joint tax return). From a tax perspective, both spouses must agree to file jointly. So if she isn’t agreeing to file jointly, that leaves you with only one option: filing a separate return. You may or may not be eligible to claim your daughter. It sounds like the daughter lived with both spouses for more than half the year, so the next test is which spouse had the higher adjusted gross income. This is part of the tie-breaker tests under the qualifying child rules.

September 11, 2009 at 10:36 am
(77) klooey says:

I am hoping someone can help me with this:

My two grandchildren have lived with me full time since Oct 2008. Their father (my son) and their mother were never married. Neither parent has given us so much as a quarter to help with supporting these children for the past year. Can I claim them as dependent children on my 2009 tax return?

September 18, 2009 at 12:46 pm
(78) jlene cheney says:

so i think its totally bull that my fiance of over 3 years cant claim my 2 kids on his taxes. well he can claim them as dependents but not get the child tax credit and head of household credit. this is one of dumbest laws i have heard of. obviously a bush move. my fiance is the one taking care of my kids he makes enough money where i can stay at home with them. last year for taking care of them he should have recieved like $3000 back at least i usually got about $4000. so instead he gets $788 back? when he supported them all year? wow guess its time to get married cuz the people who make laws r totally bogus. its total bull. the movie stars hardly pay any taxes. they should have to sign a paper saying every year they will give $1 million for charity or help with cure for cancer. its ridiculous. all americans r struggling and my fiance who is the support of my kids cant claimthem even though my parents claimed my son one year. its bull.

October 1, 2009 at 11:38 pm
(79) ashi says:

Ok, so what if an unmarried couple has a child, the man moves out and has not paid half of his sons living exspenses what so ever. The mothers mother is the one paying for all the exspenses and will be claiming the child. If the father claims first will he get in trouble? Because if he is not the one that really took care of him for the 8 months that he lived in the house and did not pay any bills or bought any thing the child needs than it would not be fair for him to claim him right? It is very confusing but the guy is only wanting the money out of it not worried about anything else.

October 5, 2009 at 9:26 am
(80) Stephanie says:

I have a question….My three boys and I have been living with my Fiance since Feb of 2008. We have a daughter together. I quit work in July of 08 to stay at home with the kids. I clamied the boys them last year and he has claimed our daughter since she was born. Will he be able to claim my boys as well this year since I was not working and he paid for all expenses?

October 9, 2009 at 2:54 am
(81) Kerry Harwood says:

My ex-wife, and I have 50/50 custody. It court we made a deal we would claim other year! So this year 2009 is her’s. But my daughter has moved in with me FULL TIME! I pay car insurance, room, and board, medical ect. My daughter who now is 18 was told by her Mom that your Dad cannot claim you! My daughter who told her that Dad is paying for everything! So basically it over half the year. My daughter said she thinks it fair that I should claim her since I am paying for everything! Of course she is 18! So that should over ride the court order as too when she was 14! As she is no longer a minor! She can decide! Plus she has made over $5,000 at a part time job. So if my daughter WANTS to let me claim her on my taxes, doesn’t she have a right at age 18. Does her turning 19 give her that choise as well? Thank You Kerry

October 24, 2009 at 2:26 pm
(82) Gail says:

I have an 18 year old son that is in high school. He is now working his first full time job. He lives with me (his mom), and is claimed on his father’s tax return.

Questions: (1) For his withholding W4, should he claim Zero or exempt or 1?

November 29, 2009 at 1:35 pm
(83) Stephanie says:

I am in the process of adopting a child and have temporary legal custody pending the final court hearing for adoption. Will I be able to claim a “new child benefit” or will the birth mother. She waived all rights including medical and my husband and I took him home from the hospital. She thinks she will be able to claim him? Is anyone familiar with this?

December 14, 2009 at 9:04 pm
(84) Jackie says:

My daughter quit college because she was pregnant – came home 18 months ago with a baby on the way and a boyfriend. I support my daughter since my grand daughter born Nov 2008 had hip displasia and 12 toes and have to have surgery for both over the past year – I have supplied car, insurance, roof over their head – the boy friend gives 100 a week when he wants to to help with expenses yet I pay his cell phone and provide all his transportation to and from work part-time since he does not have his license – I pay all the car repairs, all the babies cloths all bills associated with the home – The way he eats is more than $100 per week – for example this week he paid 60 some times he goes weeks without paying.

Last year he claimed the baby as a dependent to get himself out of debt of unpaid taxes.

This year I feel my husband and I should be entitled to claim the baby – can we and what are our rights?

The two of them him and my daughter do not even have a pot to piss in and he is/was homeless without living here.

Sincerely

Jackie

December 14, 2009 at 10:31 pm
(85) William Perez says:

Jackie, you’ll need to review the criteria for claiming qualifying children (which would apply to your grandchild) and the qualifying relatives criteria (which would likely apply in the case of your daughter since it seems she is over age 17 and not in school). It is probably the case that you could claim both your daughter and your grandchild. The main conflict I see is whether the father would be able to claim his child or you. There the decision rests entirely on how many days the child resided with the father or with you. If the father resides in the same household, and so the # of days the child resided with you and with the father are equal, then the dependent is awarded to the father using the tie-breaker tests. Sorry, but that’s how the law was written. However the father could allow you to claim the dependent by providing you with a release form.

January 8, 2010 at 3:29 pm
(86) Annie says:

I’m a stay at home mom. My boyfriend and I had a baby together in April 2009. Just to double check, he can claim the both of us as dependents and head of household right?

January 9, 2010 at 9:44 pm
(87) Yvonne says:

My friend and I live together with my 2 kid’s i am out of work and he has supported my kid’s for this year , can he claim the kid’s on his taxes even if they are not blood related .
he said he can, I don’t think he can he has no receipts to prove he has supported the kids.

January 14, 2010 at 11:33 am
(88) michelle says:

someone told me i could use diapers for a tax credit i was wondering if this was true, and how do i get a list of all tax credits for small children?

January 14, 2010 at 4:38 pm
(89) William Perez says:

No. You cannot count the cost of diapers or other personal care products as a deduction or credit. For children, there are two principal tax credits: the child tax credit and the dependent care tax credit.

January 17, 2010 at 5:48 pm
(90) Lynn says:

My husband recently passed away after a four year fight with cancer. During this 4 years, his ex took us back to court so that she could claim the youngest child for a tax exception and for more child support. The ex originally agreed that my husband could claim the youngest in the divorce decree. The judge denied her request and said that my husband was to continue claiming my step-son and the child support would not be going up. My husband died in April. The ex now receives his social security in place of child support which is more than double what the child support. My question is…since I will be filling jointly, and my husband legally was given the right to claim his child, can I still claim my step-son this year?

January 18, 2010 at 4:05 pm
(91) William Perez says:

Lynn, it sounds like the judge awarded custody (and the tax deduction) to your deceased husband. So, yes, you would continue to claim the child on your tax return.

January 22, 2010 at 5:27 pm
(92) kim says:

I have two children, but have never gotten married to their father. The children and I receive foodstamps and medi-cal. The relationship with their father has been off and on. He has been living with us a scattered 6 months out of the year. Can he claim the children? And does he have to, or how would he prove that he lived with them?

January 22, 2010 at 6:18 pm
(93) Lynn says:

Follow-up on your answer. My husband was the man that died of cancer in May and I wanted to know if I (his wife) could continue to claim his son this year since I will be filing jointly. The judged ruled a year ago when the ex took him back to court, that since the tax deduction was given to my husband in the divorce decree he could continue claiming him…in your reply, you stated that since the judge awarded “custody” and the “tax deduction” I could claim him again this year. Actually, my husband had joint custody and the mother was the custodial parent. Does this make a difference? I am filing jointly with my deceased husband, so can I still claim his son without having custody…just double checking. The ex is receiving his social security, so my husband is still contributing to the son.

January 27, 2010 at 10:10 am
(94) Shell says:

My husband and I got married in June 2009. He is currently unemployed and has a son who turned 18 in June 2009. His son did not live with us in 2009 but in my husbands divorce papers it states that he gets the tax deduction every year on his son even though he does not live with him. Do we get to claim him for 2009?

January 28, 2010 at 3:35 am
(95) tam says:

I have a neice 9 who lives with me full time. She stays with her mom on some weekends and holidays can i claim her as a dependent. I also have a 24yr old nephew who hasn’t worked and lived with me full time in 2009. Can I claim him?

January 31, 2010 at 6:46 pm
(96) Ms. Pickles says:

Currently I live on my own in an apartment. I go to college, have not actually lived in my parents house for about 2 years. In the past three years of college, my parents have sent me a total of $20. (In other words, I pay my phone,rent,water,cable,schooling,etc on my own) I have scholarships that pay for tuition and financial aid that pays for other school expenses. My total income for 2009 is $11,997. Can my parents claim me as an independent? Also, if they can’t, what can I claim to increase my refund? (Also, I sponsor a child… my yearly contributions have been approx. $330…can I claim that on my taxes?)

January 31, 2010 at 6:48 pm
(97) Pickles says:

*claim me as a dependent…. in other words, can I claim myself as an independent?

February 3, 2010 at 9:43 am
(98) Marie says:

My ex (never married) and I were ordered to share years for “dependency tax exemption”, so this year would be his year. However, I am so furious over this. My daughter lives with me 90% of the time, I pay all of her childcare expenses, and her father is responsible for less than 50% of her financial support *(as i have the higher income)…Am I able to still claim head of household, child care expenses without claiming the child tax credit? It is so frustrating that it works out this way….

February 9, 2010 at 11:55 pm
(99) Joslyn says:

My dad lost his job in May and I have been supporting my 16 year old sister, who is in school, and my 21 year old brother, who doesn’t work or go to school since then. Neither of them have lived with me for 6 months but I have financially supported both of them for more than half the year. Can I claim either of them on my taxes? My dad did give me permission to claim them, but i wanted a little advice on it before I do it. Please help… THANKS

February 10, 2010 at 9:12 pm
(100) sydney says:

My ex and I have 8 children, have been divorced for 13 years, and the two youngest children are still under 18. In the past I have signed so that he could count the children on his taxes – but this year he has quit his job, and is being supported by his new wife. I have refused to sign the form this year (his child support has been reduced significantly this year, and he sees the children less than 12 hours a month) since his wife has the only taxable income – and her income is not used to set the support amount for the children. Because the children are special needs, I have not been able to work this year (the children receive SSI, and I am the payee) and will not be filing. Is there anyway I can check to see if he has filed without my signature, or by forging my signature? Thanks!

February 11, 2010 at 3:06 am
(101) Jessica says:

Very confusing to me. My issue is that I was unemployed all of last year, had a child in June with my b/f that I have been living with for a year and a half and also have a 4yr old from a previous relationship whom the father has spent MAYBE 2 hours with all year. My question would be….that since my b/f basically supported us all of last year can he claim all three of us? I did get unemployment totaling around $4700.oo have sole custody of my older child and can’t file myself this year cause I earned less than what is needed to file.

February 15, 2010 at 10:58 pm
(102) jaye says:

My 22 year old son lived with us 11 months of 2009. He did not work until 12/2009 earning $177. We provided all of his support from Jan. – Dec. 2009. During his employment, he continued to live with us for support. He did not attend college at all in 2009. Are we able to claim him on our 2009 tax return as a dependent?

February 20, 2010 at 1:04 am
(103) VENTURA says:

I HAVE A TWIN BROTHER WHO IS THE MY DEPENDENT AND MY ACCOUNTANT IS TELLING ME THAT HE DOES NOT QUALIFY FOR THE EIC BECAUSE HE IS NOT YOUNGER THAN ME. WHAT SHOULD I DO IN THIS CASE?

February 22, 2010 at 1:55 pm
(104) fanny says:

i have a question, i use to be with the father of my kids but now we are saperated, and he didnt work the whole year should i still give him part of the money from my taxes if i claim both kids? he doesnt help me with paying for things for the kids or anything.. plz help..

February 22, 2010 at 10:13 pm
(105) james says:

my daughter Alyssa (17) she lived with myself and my wife all year in 2009. Alyssa got married to young man named Ben on 12/26/09. She had a baby girl on 12/27/09.

Ben, her husband is in th military Airforce reservist. He asked us if he could claim Alyssa.

What are rule for married children. She has not lived with Ben at his parents house, Ben went into service August 09 and is still in Airforce at AIT training.

Ben said military will not allow him to claim his daughter unless he claims Alyssa. I think since Alyssa lived with us all year in 2009, that we should claim her as a dependent. What are your thoughts?

Also can we the grandparents claim Alyssa’s daughter IVY Ann? Alyssa and Ivy Ann are living with us for next 1 or 2 years while Alyssa and Ben finish schooling.

Due to living 6 months or more rule, does that exclude both Alyssa’s parents and ben (husband) from claiming Ivy Ann as a dependent?

February 23, 2010 at 3:13 pm
(106) Kirk says:

I have a question about the number of dependents that a divorced couple could claim. They were divorced. She claims 2 dependents over the years. But what she was doing was at the beginning of the tax year she will claim 7 dependents but physically just 2 children living with her. Then at the end of the of the tax year she will change her dependents back to 2 children and she was doing this for so many years that she gets a lot of refund every year. Is this legal to do?

March 5, 2010 at 4:17 pm
(107) Jessa says:

my fiancee has a child with a different woman they were never married, the mother doesnt work and the father provides all child support,she is now married but only for 8 months, is her husband able to claim the child on his taxes?

March 10, 2010 at 5:23 am
(108) Brenda Widner says:

What happens when an ex claims the child and is not entitled to do so. Child does not live with him- does not get support as he is now 20 years old. The child lives with me, goes to college full time here and he also works here.
I pay the mortgage etc,and fully support this child for the entire year. My ex decided to claim him on his taxes and file before I did so I am being told I have to prove what? I am so upset here- Any help or suggestions are greatly needed and appreciated.

March 12, 2010 at 7:27 pm
(109) ant says:

ok the mother of my girlfriend had our ssn and she used our daughters ssn and filed my baby i worked all year and took care of her my girlsfriend mail goes to her adress the whole situation is twisted what do i do she was born 2009 shes on accesses and her mom put her on her insurence well she already filrd what do i do?

March 13, 2010 at 8:57 am
(110) ant says:

ok the mother of my girlfriend had our baby ssn and she used our daughters ssn and filed my baby i worked all year and took care of her but my girlsfriend mail goes to her moms adress and her mom has my girl friend and baby on her insurence and my girlfriend gets access i had no idea that her mom would do a thing like that so i didnt keep anything to show proof that my baby has been her wit me all i have is her ssn and her birth certificate what can i do am i out of luck.

April 9, 2010 at 10:20 pm
(111) Heather says:

I got my T4′s back for the year of 2009, im 17 and my mother is claiming me as her dependant (which i am)
and if i were to take my T4′s in to get my taxes back will the government stop giving her child tax for me?
And another question:
We live under subsidized housing, i have never told the housing company that i worked i always said i didnt work so they wouldn’t raise our rent, if i was to take my T4′s in will they find out and will they make us pay them all the backpay?

June 19, 2010 at 1:41 am
(112) Ramesh says:

I suuport my parents who are 67 years old. they live with me and are GC holders. they donot work and have no source of income in USA. But they get a pension in India around $7000 each.and pay taxes in India. Can I claim them as my dependants?

August 9, 2010 at 11:44 am
(113) Brad says:

In ’05 a child support order was established for my son who lives with his mother. She lived with her mother until sometime late last year. Now according to the support order, on that year I was to claim my son as a dependent on my taxes.

His mother was to let me know when she would start to claim and then we would claim alternating years. In ’06 she said she would claim him so going into ’07 she said she didn’t care what the order said, she was going to claim him anyways. I mailed in my taxes and currently being audited and going through the appeals process with the IRS.

Just recently, and according to her mother(which I can’t trust either of them too much) the grandmother said that she claimed him that year(’07).

Assuming I’m going to have to go take someone in contempt of court over the court order, probably to get this form 8332, who am I supposed to take, and do I have a legitimate case? I’ve never been late on the support(they garnish my checks) and have followed my end of the court order.

I didn’t bother claiming him in ’09 since I’ve known about this audit since last year, and let me tell you, trying to even communicate with the IRS is harder than communicating with the ex.

Why do I feel like the ones trying to do things the right way are the ones getting punished?

September 20, 2010 at 8:32 pm
(114) Danny says:

friend has a girlfriend and she had his child, he is in jail and of coarse has not made any money. She lives at home with parents, brother, and uncle. She works but under the table, and recieves financial aid. She has 2 other children from prior relationships. Mom has always taken care of the oldest and has claimed, understand that, but last year the middle child was claimed by her brother and he gave her some of the tax return from my understanding and now she has the child that was born this year and her brother will be claiming both of them to give her some extra money. He does not support these kids at all, the grandmother of the guy in jail does alot for the baby and for that matter the middle child, how can he get by with doing this? Does this hurt the guy in jail when he gets out and works, pays child support? She has never worked as far as the government is concerned and I do not believe she has ever filed taxes. What would you suggest? Is there anything that could be done about this?

September 21, 2010 at 12:26 am
(115) William Perez says:

Danny, the IRS has developed a set of rules for determining which person is eligible to claim a child as a dependent. The parties involved will need to review carefully the criteria for qualifying children, especially the tie-breaker rules.
Based solely on the information you provided, it would seem that the mother would benefit most by claiming her children, and is most eligible to claim them. If she were to report her income, she might be eligible for the earned income credit and child tax credits. Both of these can potentially refunds larger than the amount of tax, meaning that depending on someone’s income level these tax credits can produce a refund even if no money was paid in.
If the parents are unable to claim the child because they aren’t working, the next most likely candidate is whichever person actually supported the children financially and with whom the kids lived more than half the year. If multiple people could potentially claim the dependent (for example they all pitch in to support the kids and all live in the same household), then you look at the person with the highest income.
There are some cases where the parent is the most eligible person to claim the dependent, but doing so provides no tax benefits. But because the parent was eligible, everyone else thereby becomes not eligible to claim the dependent.

October 22, 2010 at 9:05 pm
(116) Michelle says:

My son has lived with me full time for 4 years. Our court order states 50/50 with tax claiming guidelines. His father (ex-boyfriend) does not pay child support and only sees our son like 4 times a year for a day or two at a time. He has been claiming him illegally beings that our child does not live with him…at all. I have been filing by mail and we both have finally recieved the audit letters. His dad says he was auidited for 2008; I recieved an audit for 2009. My ex-boyfriend is claiming he got an attorney who fought the audit and won. How? The address used for our sons school is his paternal grandma’s. Did my ex file his claim through her address even though he didn’t live there? I don’t understand how he proved something that is false? I have plenty of resources to prove he has been lieing. I’m really not worried about my audit because I am 100% entitled to claiming our child, but with him saying he won his audit it has gotten me worried and confused. Can I get him in trouble? I’d like to know the truth about his audit…can I find that information out? I wouldn’t get a bill from his audit without being audited myself right? Should I inform the IRS of his fraudulant actions? I don’t think he’s going to continue claiming in years to come, but what can I do about the past?

December 7, 2010 at 3:18 am
(117) Sara says:

My son’s father and I agreed to every other year for claiming him for taxes. It was put in the visitation order when we went to court when he was born. It is his year but I want to claim him due to the fact that I have him all but 40 hrs a week every week. I pay for medical and daycare expenses. I was wondering if this would be legal to do? Thanks!

December 12, 2010 at 2:31 pm
(118) Ashley says:

I’ve had guardianship and physical custody of my younger sister since September 1st. I’ve recieved no financial help from anyone, so would that come into play and offset the time that she should have lived with me as a qualifying dependent? Our mother was incarcerated and we have no other family. Is 4 months of full support equal to eight months paying half the support? Just trying to figure out if I am eligibile to claim her.

January 1, 2011 at 10:55 pm
(119) peter sullivan says:

shorting this will be hard … that said here I go. I am a single father that has been the main caregiver for my two boys for the last 5 years. I am split from my wife but not divorced (I should have divorced her in jail ,but I’m that nice guy finishing last all my life), she has not been in their lives but maybe a few months a year and that was only in the last 3 years. She has claimed both children for the last 2 since I have been out of work due to being on disability. For back issues that I have been dealing with for years but finally have put me on my ass till someone fix’s me and I can go back to work. She is most likely planning to claim them again this year. I warned her that she was risking getting in big trouble, but didn’t think I could do anything about it since I’m on disability I can’t claim taxes. I just assumed that she would get caught on her own since she does not meet standards to claim them. My question is “if” I report her what could she be looking at as punishment for falsely claiming 2 dependents for 3 years? I don’t want to put my kids mom in jail but I am considering giving her an ultimatum to use this years return to move closer to her kids as she has promised them or I will.
Morally I know this is out there , but if I do report her , I would be responsible for putting their mom in jail. I just want them to have her in their lives and thought it might be a a way to force her hand. She may not be the best mom , but she the only one they have and they are tired of broken promises. Thank you for whatever advice you can give me with this matter.

January 6, 2011 at 10:24 am
(120) Steven says:

What constitutes support?
My daughter and her two childern have lived with me and my wife since Aug. of 2009 while her husband was overseas with the army. We have paid for almost all the food, all utilities and house payments ect… I am sure my son-in-law plans on claiming all of them as dependence.
I have asked for a small amount of money to offset our expenses in Oct of 2010 (75.00 per week) He has refused to pay anything for housing. He recieves 1,400.00 I believe for offbase housing for his family plus his pay as a Sgt. He does send money to his wife (my daughter) to make payments on credit cards, car payments and medical expenses not covered by Tricare.
I would like to know if I can claim all three?
Thank You Much

January 6, 2011 at 12:16 pm
(121) kid619 says:

my grandmother (72) adoted my younger cousin (13) which make him my uncle.i take care both of them schoool/ dr. /food etc…i am head of house hold can i claim the child as qualifying child for tax credit/ eic under reciprocal relationship uncle/ nephew or i can get adotion paper from the human service

January 14, 2011 at 8:08 pm
(122) tonya says:

My 2 sons live with me and my Fiance. Can he claim them as dependants and/or get the EIC for them. No one else can claim them.

January 15, 2011 at 12:27 am
(123) Carol says:

My situation is weird as well, my daughter moved out in may of 2010 but, came back in later in June. Then stayed with me through August. I was supporting them with electricity and food and showers and things. They had parked their camper at my residence. Then 3 months later they moved into their own house. However, ever since they moved into their own house I am still supporting them with food and sometimes showers and other things like toiletries. Can I still claim her on my taxes?

January 20, 2011 at 10:54 pm
(124) Michelle says:

My Ex and I have joint Legal and Physical custody of our son. The custody agreement states that since my Ex is on disability I claim our son until my Ex is gainfully employed then we are to rotate each year. Last year my son went to live with his father full time and now my Ex is suing me for full custody. I have paid my Ex more than the state required % based on my income in child support to help care for our child. Since my Ex is disable and receives a disability check on his and my son behalf (child’s benefit of my Ex’s disability), plus what I pay in child support can I still claim our son on my taxes this year? I want to make sure that this will not come back to haunt me later down the road if he decides to make it an issue.

January 23, 2011 at 2:56 pm
(125) cat says:

my ex and I have shared custody and shared placement. My son has lived with me since mid April and stays with me overnight the majority of the time. My ex and I made a verbal agreement we would claim our son every other year. I have yet to claim him and I gave him permission to claim our son in 2009. My ex is collecting unemplyment and states he is also self employed. I reminded my ex this was my yr to claim him and he denies that I will. I am now married and our income is greater than that of my ex. Would I qualify to claim my son according to the test where I would have a higher agi? We both share finances, but I have him registered in school and pay for medical expenses and have always been the provider of medical insurance. If I go ahead and claim my son what penalties would incure? Also I have mentioned to my ex about filing a form 8332 but he wants nothing to do with our original agreement. What to do?

January 28, 2011 at 1:09 pm
(126) sandra says:

in the final divorce decree i was served with it gives my ex the right to claim one out of three kids. he is self employed and pays no child support nor for health insurance. all three are supported 100 percent by me. what rights do i have when filing??? am i able to still claim all three and just refuse to sign the form he needs or just abide the final divorce decree for the 2010 and try to get that ammended before 2011′s filing??? so unfair.

February 11, 2011 at 10:09 am
(127) Sharee says:

So What if Mary wasn’t working ? Could John then claim Mary? as a qualifying Mandatory residency relative?

February 22, 2011 at 8:42 pm
(128) Tess says:

My granddaughter was placed in my care after being removed from her parents house. Although the paperwork states the case began in July, I had her for more than 1/2 of the year, on and off. Her parents contributed nothing to her expenses. My husband took on a second job to pay for diapers, formula, while her mother sat back and collected 700 a month in foodstamps and her daughter got 1 gallon of milk. Now the fight is on because we claimed her on our tax return this year. I’ve read the rules and I don’t see where we did anything wrong. My son (her father) was incarcerated most of the year but filed a tax return and tried to claim her after we did. Will we be facing an audit? It’s fine if we are, because we have plenty of receipts and calendar documented stays, plus the dss order. Any thoughts?

February 23, 2011 at 9:01 pm
(129) June says:

Who can claim a child that was born in Nov 2010 .The father was in the home since Sept 2010. The grandmother helped the daughter while she was pregnant but was not living in the home. The bills were in her name. My son was paying those bills. Who can claim the child since the child was only here a few months, the father or the grandmother?

February 27, 2011 at 4:45 am
(130) BbPrays says:

I have a 2 year old but am unemployed and live with my parents. My father (the Childs grandfather) wants to file my son on his taxes since we have been living with him since the Childs birth. However my sons father already claimed our son without my consent. My sons father is an ex boyfriend and he pays child support but has never kept the child or provided any extra cash besides his child support of $34 a week. Is it right that he filed? Isn’t it my fathers right to claim him? What can I do to correct this? Please answer!!!!!!!!

March 14, 2011 at 2:49 pm
(131) Charles says:

I have a daughter out of wedlock and I am not the custodial parent. I pay child support. It is in the court agreement that I claim her unless her mother makes more than 20k which she doesn’t. She signed the irs form releasing her rights to claim the child. She filed her taxes first and claimed head of household and listed daughters SSN. When I did my taxes and tried to claim her my federal return got rejected.They said her SSN was already used. What should I do??

March 14, 2011 at 4:32 pm
(132) William Perez says:

Mail in your tax return for manual processing by the IRS. Be sure to include a copy of the other parent’s release form (Form 8332) with your tax return.

October 13, 2011 at 11:08 am
(133) Linda says:

If the parent refuses to sign the 8332 should the court document stating which parent can claim the child in that year be sufficient?

March 19, 2011 at 5:54 pm
(134) John Dough says:

I was looking up to see if an unmarried Dad could be head of Household this for this year because his live togther girlfriend only got unemployment comp in 2009 which excludes here from getting the child tax credit nor a residential energy credit. In our situation she provides more than 50% of the support for our son because of her income was much larger and she is the mortgage holder)?

But when I saw Steve’s comment,

“My scenario is a very harsh one. I pay for about 90% of the support of my two children, who live with their mother. … I should be able to claim them as deductions should I not??? … Evidently I have to have my ex fill out a form so I may receive the deductions I have to pay all year for??? December 5, 2007 at 5:30 pm ”

I wondered why his ex wouldn’t give him the deduction since she didn’t work and doesn’t need to file a return? And without income, can’t get the child credits anyway!

March 31, 2011 at 8:17 pm
(135) Malachi says:

QUESTION: John and Mary are not married, but live together, and take care of Mary’s son. Only John works. The father of the child Is court ordered to not claim the child this year. Can John claim this child and tax credit? Can John claim Marry, and head of household?

July 14, 2011 at 5:30 pm
(136) camille says:

My daughter lived in my home which I bought for her. She is age 30 and self supporting. The property is going into foreclosure. It was a non recourse loan from the state of california. Do I have a tax liability

August 17, 2011 at 6:18 pm
(137) Stella says:

Hi William,

I have a question. My boyfriend has joint custody with his ex wife and both agreed that in the divorce decree that each will be able to claim their children alternate years for both children. They decided verbally that they would both each claim a child each year to be fair. How do we go about it with the IRS that he has the right to claim his son every year and she did sign a form 8332 releasing her son. Even though she may be able to revoke the form 8332 it states in the divorce decree that they both can claim every alternate year. Is that sufficient information for him to be able to claim his children. I always feel that it’s a race on who claim the children first and she always beats him to the punch. Can you please advise us on what we can do and who can we talk to since she is going against court order? The problem now since he is a 1099 and when he try to claim their son his tax returns were returned because his son has been claimed by her. What can we do?

Thanks

September 2, 2011 at 12:59 pm
(138) Kerry says:

I have lived with my boyfriend for the past two and a half years. He has three kids from his previous marriage. Although he and his ex supposedly have joint custody, the children have lived with us most of the time (all week; they see her on the weekends sometimes) because she is financially unstable, and can’t afford to take care of them. She rarely has a phone or electricity, etc. As a result, though before they split the kids on odd years–2 and 1, etc., this year he has paid everything and should get to claim all three. However, I make around twice what my boyfriend does. I own the house that the three boys, their father, and I, have shared for more than two and a half years. I pay for the utilities (also in my name), the majority of their food, clothing, trips to summer camp, etc.
Making as much as I do, I would “benefit more from claiming them as my dependents” than my boyfriend would, and I give them far more financial support than either my boyfriend or his ex. But we’re not married, so we file separately, and they’re not my biological children. Caring for them is very expensive, but I don’t want them to go without. A tax break would be welcome, but my boyfriend says only he can claim them because they are his. Could I claim them instead?

October 5, 2011 at 4:01 pm
(139) Alexander says:

Can anyone answer this one? This is tearing an entire family apart and only hurting the kids. I am the biological father and pay 310 a month, my ex is the biological mother and pays 300 a month. My sister in law who could not have kids has raised our kids and we the biological parents have never really seen our kids. The sister in law will not let us ever since the state awarded her custody of them until they are 18. We are still in the process of fighting for them but 10 years later have not gotten our kids back but that’s another story. My question now is, can Me or the Real mom claim the kids in our taxes eventho we never have them? We live in Georgia.

October 13, 2011 at 11:03 am
(140) Lynne says:

I am confused. My son has a child whose mother he never married. They have a court agreement stating that he takes the child deduction in odd years and she takes the deduction in even years. In 2009 mother filed for earned income credit using the child as a dependant. IRS send my son a letter to prove why he also filed using the child as a deduction. Court doucment were sent in but yesterday he received a bill for $4300 stating that he could not claim the child. I am confused as they have a court agreement that has never been a problem in the past. I doubt she would sign form 8332 as she also claimed the child. Any suggestions?

October 25, 2011 at 1:12 am
(141) Adriana says:

Question. . . My ex boyfriend, father of my daughter wants to claim my daughter on his income taxes this year due to the fact that im not working& he is. But he doesnt live with us!! My daughter and i live with my parents, he used to give me money to support her, i dont pay rent, im afraid he’ll keep all the money for himself, should i file for child support? can he still claim her? Comfused. Help. Thanks

November 4, 2011 at 11:25 pm
(142) Miriam Aponte says:

My son has custody of my 4 y/o granddaughter, but I am raising her. He never married her mother, but is now married to someone else & has a 5 month baby boy which my granddaughter nor I have not seen because his wife chooses to be that way. In other words no part of us. My son does not support my granddaughter in any way, (zero way). Shes been with us for over 2 years. Can I claim my granddaughter ??
Thank you.
M.

November 5, 2011 at 8:10 pm
(143) William Perez says:

Miriam, sounds like you can claim your grand-daughter. Be sure to review all the criteria for claiming dependents, so that you can confirm that you are indeed eligible.

November 8, 2011 at 12:50 pm
(144) Mary says:

My soon to be ex husband’s lawyer is I feel trying to bully me into letting my ex claim one of our daughters as a dependant. However since we separated almost 3 years ago the children live with me I have a custody order through child support he agrees for me to be the custodial parent. The girls live with me 100% of the year and he pays only $123/wk in child support which does not even begin to cover the 50% to cover their living situation. He rarely comes to see them and has only kept them over night maybe 5 nights in the last 6 months. His lawyer keeps trying to tell me he has a right to claim one becasue he pays Child Support. I don’t believe this is true…. Is it? I signed the divorce papers but we have not went to court to make it final yet…..

December 1, 2011 at 6:50 am
(145) lisa says:

very unfair … my boyfriend has been supporting my 2 kids and we live together there father has no part in their lives so why can’t he claim them for the child tax credit …. so in other words let a man take care of some one elses kids but they wont get any tax back for taking someone elses responsibilities … the problem with the system is just wrong … we should give thanks to the men who are willing to take care of a step child when the biological father is not doing so …

December 5, 2011 at 5:37 pm
(146) William Perez says:

Lisa, I understand your frustration. However the tax laws are pretty specific when it comes to dependents, and it awards dependents in the first instance to parents before awarding dependents to non-parent relations. One of the coordinating rules is that a taxpayer who qualifies for a dependent under the qualifying child criteria (which applies to parents), will always prevail over a taxpayer who qualifies for a dependent under the qualifying relative criteria (which applies to persons other than parents, generally speaking).

December 3, 2011 at 3:27 am
(147) carla says:

all I wanted to do was ask a question.the next thing I know,the (so called help)ask for a deposit of $30.it’s always about the almighty dollar.thanks for nothing! sincerely, someone who’s down and out!

December 5, 2011 at 5:38 pm
(148) William Perez says:

You can call the IRS and ask a tax question free of charge. The IRS hotline number is 1-800-829-1040 (a toll-free call).

December 8, 2011 at 10:10 am
(149) Geneva says:

My fiance & ex-wife divorced in 2003. They have 2 children & she has daughter from a previous marriage. In the divorce agreement, they have joint custody & shared placement of their 2 & dad has placement rights with step-daughter per our state’s statute. Agreement also states that mom & dad each claim a child for taxes every year. Mom has not worked since 2003. Since 2004, mom has been signing the release form every year for their son and the step-daughter allowing dad to claim ALL 3 children. They verbally agreed that since mom could not file taxes, dad would claim that they live with him for over half the year. The first year they did this, he went to a tax professional to make sure everything could be done this way. It could and he’s been using tax programs at home every since. NOW, she wants her new fiance to claim their son instead of dad. Since dad is arguing it, mom says she believes dad has committed tax fraud because the kids didn’t live with him for more than half the year since 2004 and claims she’s contacted the IRS.
Since she signed the release, they verbally agreed, AND she accepted a nice check each year from the refunds to be put towards the children’s expenses……does dad have anything to worry about?

December 13, 2011 at 11:32 pm
(150) Robin says:

My sister has a seven year old son from a one night stand. The “dad” has only seen the child one time in seven years. My parents and my sister take care of my nephew full time with the “dad” giving $40 weekly in child support when he is working. Why can a judge give the “dad” the right to claim my nephew as a dependent when the child has never spent anytime with the “dad”? He can claim him every other year. I think this is absurd he gets this huge deduction for nothing.

December 16, 2011 at 8:17 pm
(151) evelyn says:

My ex-daughter-in-law has not seen or paid anything for her son in almost two years. My son is a single dad. Completely 100% supports his son. In his divorce decree she can claim him on odd years. What can he claim? Daycare. School . Medical?

December 20, 2011 at 6:01 am
(152) William Perez says:

Evelyn, please refer to my article on sharing the dependent-related tax benefits. That spells out what each parent can claim on their tax returns.

December 18, 2011 at 10:51 pm
(153) Helga says:

At the beginning of the year until about April, my fiance, my son and i lived with our parents in the same house. In april, my son and i moved in with my grandmother, and then in july, my fiance, my son, and i moved into our own house. My fiance is under 24, and was a full time student from Jan to mid May. We both worked full time all summer, and my fiance still does. Can his parents legally claim any of us? Can we claim ourselves?

December 20, 2011 at 6:12 am
(154) William Perez says:

To qualify as a dependent, the dependent person would need to reside with the taxpayer for more than half the year (the residence test). January through April is not more than half the year, so your parents don’t qualify. April to July is not more than half a year, so the grandmother doesn’t qualify. Your son has resided with you for more than half the year, so I think you qualify to claim your son. The question now is whether your son is also your fiance’s son. If so, you’ll need to determine which of you is most eligible to claim your son under the tie-breaker tests. However, if your son is not your fiance’s son, then only you can claim your son.

December 28, 2011 at 8:54 pm
(155) Loraine says:

I have a 3 year old with my ex, and we had 50/50 visitation up until April of 2011. He was Primary custodian from 2009-2011. For the 2010 tax return, he claimed her and gave me $300 for the dependent return for that year. In return we had a notarized agreement to let me claim her for 2011, and give him $300 back for 2011.

Apparently, we got into a custody battle because he refused to split 50% visitation with me for stupid reasons. By September, I was awarded Primary/Physical custodian, but I decided to let his every other weekend visitation begin Jan of 2012. That means, he has more days with her than me.

Do I still have the right to claim her, am I gonna have to ask him for the copy of the notarized agreement?

December 30, 2011 at 5:56 pm
(156) William Perez says:

Loraine, from a tax perspective, we must determine which person is most eligible to claim a dependent. In your situation, we have two parents who are potentially able to claim your daughter. We look to the qualifying child criteria and the tie-breaker tests to figure out which parent is the most eligible to claim the dependent. The eligible parent may waive claiming the dependent in favor of the other parent, in which case each parent can claim a specific set of tax benefits, which I describe in my article on sharing dependents. A properly executed waiver can be revoked only with advance notice and for a future tax year. (See the instructions for Form 8332). Thus, from a tax perspective, it appears that the father is the eligible taxpayer and it appears that he has waived his right to claim the dependent in your favor.

January 1, 2012 at 5:22 pm
(157) Carolyn says:

We have a child that moved in with us in the beginning of july (the 3rd), her parents have not provided any support. Social services has agreed to placement with us in leiu of placing her in foster care. The social worker says we can claim her, however we can not find anything that says we can. She does not currently live with her parents because of legal charges that are pending, and a protection order is in place

January 4, 2012 at 3:23 pm
(158) Robb says:

Question…..I had an injury in the military and I’m awaiting a decision on benefits. In the meantime I have no taxable income and my son works a part time job and he is under the age of 21 living in NY with me. Does he still qualify as my dependent and if so should I claim his income on my tax return?

January 7, 2012 at 3:16 pm
(159) monique says:

I have a question, my ex-boyfriend and I have no court order on anything when it comes to our child. Our child lives with me and only spends a month total with her father because he is in the military. He wants to claim her for this years taxes but she lives with me and I support her way more than he does. If he tries to claim her even though she doesn’t live with him what can happen?

January 9, 2012 at 12:20 am
(160) Amanda says:

What about my fiance and I… We have a child together, but we live together… who claims the child in that scenario? Whoever wants to? Does the other person even mention them in their taxes? Confused…

January 9, 2012 at 12:40 pm
(161) heather says:

i was wandering if my boyfriend got more then half the household income and im on social security disability could he claim me on his taxes and get money back for helping me

January 11, 2012 at 12:05 pm
(162) Ashley b says:

Ive had my 19 month old niece since oct. 2011, I get diapers and milk here and there, but ive paid for everything else, even before living with me, when we lived at home with my parents, and my sister. Kind of my sister, she would take off for weeks with out calling or coming home. Its now a dyfs case in which im still going for a court hearing for custody jan 30tg. Who would claim her?

January 11, 2012 at 4:50 pm
(163) David says:

I have two sons; which I pay child support for. Their custodial parent (the mom) was diagnosed with cancer and has not worked all year. During the time, she lived with her parents; and the boys did as well. i want to file my taxes for the one son I plan to claim, but per our divorce decree-she is to claim one and I am to claim one. Since she did not work, can i claim my other son, or is it legal for her to allow her parents to claim him? Now, remind you they have lived with them at least 3 mos and they are 15 and 16years old. As their Father, am i prioritized to be allowed to claim them over the relationship status of the grandparents?

January 11, 2012 at 7:31 pm
(164) Mike M says:

I have a daughter who is 4 with my ex- we were not married and i have a son now with my fiance who is 3 months. i pay alot of child support every month and my daughters mom has another kid and she’s not married but she’s tellin me i can get in trouble if i claim my daughter because she’s goin to when she hasn’t worked all year and we have no written doc.s sayin anything about taxes can i still be targeted to an audit from her if i claim my daughter if she hasnt earned any income all year long? doesnt make since….

January 12, 2012 at 11:53 am
(165) Evan says:

I’m pretty sure I have this correct, but I just want to be certain.

I’ve been unemployed all year, no benefit claims, and considered a non-taxpayer. I have 2 children under 19 yrs old and I am the Custodial Parent. My fiance, my children, and myself have lived together for the whole year and the fiance has supported the entire household 100%. Because my fiance as supported the 3 of us for more than 50% of the year and we have lived with him for more than 6 months and no one else can claim the 3 of us, my fiance CAN claim us as dependents.

Is this correct?

January 13, 2012 at 11:33 am
(166) missa says:

Please help….my situation is that my 2 childre. And I have lived with my father for the past few years including part of 2011.until we got our on place in august. My question is…now my father is trying to claim my children.and I think I should be able to claim them bc even though we lived with my father they are my kids and they lived with me all year.

January 14, 2012 at 12:08 pm
(167) Rebecca Levinson says:

My question is that my exboyfriend and i have a child together whom is 2 years old. He works but has been off work and has been getting unemploment,i took him to court to pay child support for my daughter peyton., we made an agreement through the court and he is to have her tuesday to wednesday and then every weekend, we started to get into the conversation about taxes this year and he was just going to go ahead and claim peyton and not even tell me, so we have been fighting alot about what to do, and i have another little girl but she is not patricks biological daughter but he has been there for her since shes been born, and he said if i allow him to claim paige too, he wil give me $1,000…so i really need advice i heard that he cant get away with just going and claiming peyton and not giving me anything…

January 15, 2012 at 3:26 am
(168) Mummysboy says:

Me and my partner separated recently ( unmarried). Our son lives with me at night but spends most of the day with his dad as I work and he is currently unemployed. I buy nappies milk clothes etc for him and usually pass it with the child for the day, he does also contribute but not on the scale I do obv as he doesn’t work. Who is the main carer?

January 18, 2012 at 10:54 pm
(169) Mrs.HDC says:

My kids father and i were never married and he pay for their medical insurance the kids stay with me all year and he has a visation order for everywhere weekend and i have proof of that. now i live in one state and he stays in another. we both are filing my kids now my kids go to school from my mother house i use her address now will i lose because i using my mothers address for their school.

January 20, 2012 at 1:00 am
(170) test says:

i want to know i paid child care for my grand child can i clain this and get credit for providing most of the care for this child? the parent didnt star working until about fourth of the year. i guess my question is can the grandparent claim as well as the parent?

January 20, 2012 at 3:57 pm
(171) nicole says:

If I am receiving cash assistance, would I be still able to claim my son when tax return comes around? I have not worked, and I was receiving child support for my son. I have no received any child support for almost 11 months.

January 21, 2012 at 9:13 am
(172) shannai barcclay says:

i have a live in boyfriend for 6 years,,,,there real dad disappesrad…they think my bf is thier daddy…..why on earth cant he clain eitc in them?there is no commom law marrige in mississippi,,,,we are being autided from federal and state to pay back from 06-now….JACKSON HEWITT NOR H&R BLOCK will cover their mistakes as “guaranteed”

January 24, 2012 at 12:53 am
(173) William Perez says:

Shannai, what the IRS is looking at is that parents are the most eligible taxpayer for claiming dependents. A boyfriend could claim a dependent, under the qualifying relative criteria, but those rules require that the dependent not also be a “qualifying child” of another, for example a parent. Boyfriends also cannot claim the earned income credit, because that tax credit is available only to taxpayers who have dependents related by birth, marriage, adoption or foster care. Since your kids are not related to your boyfriend by birth, marriage, adoption or foster care, then your boyfriend isn’t eligible for the earned income credit. I have never liked the “guarantees” offered by the big tax chains.

January 22, 2012 at 1:47 pm
(174) Liz says:

Divorce decree states we will rotate the claiming of our daughter each tax year. It also states he will share custody. He does not share custody. She lives with me 97% of the year. He does pay child support and cover the cost of her medical and dental insurance. According to the tax law I have the right to claim her and feel he has lost that right by not living up to his end of the decree. Can I claim her? Which is the stronger law….tax or divorce decree?

January 24, 2012 at 12:18 am
(175) William Perez says:

Liz, tax preparers cannot advise you to act contrary to a court-ordered divorce decree. You should seek the advice of an attorney, who can then properly advise you on your options.

January 22, 2012 at 7:39 pm
(176) URGENT, URGENT HELP says:

Me and my daughter live with my parents (the grandparents). My daughter has stayed with me and my parents and her father’s house equally. I am not able to live with the father, for I am still young. I have signed the 8332 form in able to let the father claim her. He has payed over the amount of support needed. The grandparents want to claim the child on thier taxes because of the fact we stay over there also. The father filed taxes first, and we have sent in the 8453 form. I read that the amount would go to the father because of the tie-breaker rules? Since I signed the 8332 form for the father to claim her, there should be no dispute between who claims her, am I correct? I need urgent help, because this argument has been going on for months now and no more can I take!

January 24, 2012 at 8:18 am
(177) William Perez says:

Dear Urgent, thank you for sharing your family situation. I’ve used your situation as an example of how to go about using the tie-breaker tests to resolve disputes over which person gets to claim the dependent. Feel free to ask any follow-up questions.

January 24, 2012 at 6:14 pm
(178) raregold says:

I have a 21 year old child a full time student she worked and made $7500. for the year can i file her taxes with mine and claim her as a dependant if she lived with me for the full year.

January 26, 2012 at 12:36 am
(179) veronica says:

I have two kids and pay my ex husband child support but I’m behind about 700 can I still claim my daughter we have joint cosedy?

January 26, 2012 at 8:31 pm
(180) Yancy says:

I don’t work I am full time student, But I have two daughters can I apply for them?

January 28, 2012 at 7:41 pm
(181) godmother says:

ok.. so i have a god daughter and i provide for her as in milk, baby food, toys, clothes… etc
her mother and i have agreed for me to claim the baby on my taxes. i work full time and her mother doesnt work. am i able to do this if she does not live with me but part time.????

January 30, 2012 at 8:32 pm
(182) William Perez says:

If your goddaughter is not related to you by blood or marriage, then you will need to look at the definition of a qualifying relative. That definition requires that a non-relative must reside with you in your household for an entire calendar year, and that person must also not be a qualifying child of another taxpayer. You do not meet either of these criteria. Thus your god-daughter is the dependent of the parent as a qualifying child. The mother may allow the other parent to claim the child.

January 29, 2012 at 10:31 am
(183) CAROL says:

my daughter is 19 a full time student and lives with me ,can i claim eic for her?

January 30, 2012 at 8:27 pm
(184) William Perez says:

Carol, the IRS has a utility on the Web site for helping you determine if you qualify for the EIC.

January 29, 2012 at 10:52 am
(185) Wendy says:

My current partner and her ex husband have a agreement with courts that he claim her on the odd years unless his child support is paid in full by Jan 31st. Ifhe already claimed her what do i do? We have had her full time over half the year because he does not see her when he is supposed to.

January 30, 2012 at 5:04 am
(186) Tamishalynn says:

For the 2011 tax season my son was taken by his father, which is legal since is biological. Later on forced me to sign a notorized document stating he has TEMP custody till we “agree” upon him returning him to me. He’s had our son all year, so is it legal that he claims him even though I’ve claimed him for the past 6yrs? Also paper was supposed to go through the court, but when called about it it’s never been processed, so is it legal or is it a loop hole and makes it legal for me to claim our son? And one more, my husband and I went to Cali for job, leaving my 2 girls with there aunt for 4 months. Is there a way for both to claim a half and half or us since we had them more than half the year? We did send money monthly, so my sister didn’t have to support them alone.

January 30, 2012 at 8:12 pm
(187) William Perez says:

Please refer to my article on resolving disputes over dependents. The short answer is that you’ll need to work through the definition of a qualifying child and the tie-breaker tests for deciding on who gets to claim the dependent.

January 30, 2012 at 10:54 pm
(188) Ruthanne says:

I read the article and I am still confused. My daughter and her boyfriend have lived with me this year. Then they got married in August. Her son is not his biologically. I have been supporting all of them this entire year. I had planned to claim head of household and claim my grandson again this year as I have since he was born. My daughter does not work. Now he is telling me that he gets to claim him. I have provided more than 50 % of both my daughter and grandson support and they have lived with me all year. Can he claim my grandson? Can I claim him?

January 31, 2012 at 12:56 am
(189) William Perez says:

Ruthanne, please refer to my article on resolving disputes over dependents. Essentially, you will need to review the four criteria for claiming dependents under the qualifying child criteria. Bear in mind that two or more adults could potentially qualify under these rules. Once you’ve worked through the criteria, you next work through the tie-breaker tests. Those tests are intentionally designed to award the dependent to exactly one taxpayer.

January 31, 2012 at 3:14 am
(190) Jeremiah says:

My fiance, our daughter and myself lived together the entire 2011 tax year. I was a stay at home dad and a full time student until about august when I started working full time. My fiance was working the first half of the year and has collected unemployment for the second half.

We get along just fine and have no legal custody agreement. Both of us provide equal support for our daughter and share the bills 50/50.
We were seperated for about a month during the year when I lived elsewhere for most of that time.

We are just trying to maximize our combined tax returns. If we could split the the tax benefits it would make a big difference in how much we would get back. Is their any legal way that she could claim head of household and I claim the Earned Income Credit pertaining to our daughter?

By her taking the deduction she would be lowering her tax liability considerably, considering she made more than me and didn’t pay tax on the unemployment. I would receive more in EIC according the h&r blocks calculations.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!!

February 1, 2012 at 12:25 am
(191) Chrysta says:

Okay I am SO confused!! I have sole custody of my 4 1/2 yr old son, his father lives outof state and although he does pay monthly child support it is not half of the financial support, He has only met our son 8 times (because he had to come for court) Okay so the judge said he can claim him on his taxes every other year and have visitations as if we were married I’m talking the entire every other weekend, every other holiday summers and our son has special needs, he is suppopsed to comply with Dr orders before that happens, but he has made no effort to do so or to set up a visit since our last court date nearly a year. He has never even had an unsupervised visit. Can a judge say what IRS will do? Can he actually claim him even if I do NOT agree. I told the judge I don’t agree with her ruling and she told me sign the papers I have made my ruling!!

February 2, 2012 at 2:56 pm
(192) Nicolle says:

Ok, so here’s a tricky situation. My Fiance and I have lived together for the past 2 years. In september of this year, our daughter was born. He pays all the monthly expenses for our household, and I cover groceries, clothes, etc. Because our daughter was not born till September, does she not qualify as a dependant child in regards to him claiming head of household? The big question is if he can file as head of household or if he has to file as single. There is about a 1000 dollar difference in the return amounts. HELP!

February 4, 2012 at 9:24 pm
(193) Kara says:

I have a question, I went to the tax place to have my taxes done when it was put into the system it came back one child had been claimed…I have 2 sons, we went to court in 05 and it was decided he would claim one and I would claim one, also with the order of him having visitation with his sons, he never seen them after that day of court so I have been claiming them on my taxes with no problem until this year and he decided to claim them, he is very vendictive anyways I called the IRS explained the deed creed and what had happened and told them he had not seen them since court time I never sign any form for him to clain them the only thing was the divorce decreed we drew up, the IRS lady told me to claim them both it would go thru a process but I was entitled to claim them does this sound right??

February 5, 2012 at 8:02 pm
(194) William Perez says:

Kara, the IRS has a specific process for resolving disputes over dependents, and I talk about that in a separate article (which I linked to). Basically, the IRS will audit both your tax return and the other person’s tax return, by applying all the qualifying child criteria and the tie-breaker rules. Divorce decrees do not bind the IRS in any way from following the letter of the law. On the other hand, tax professionals cannot advise people to act contrary to a court order.

February 6, 2012 at 11:59 am
(195) Preston says:

What happens if my ex is legally the custodial parent but I have had my children (mutual agreement between ex spouses) and she gets upset and claims both children even though I DID have them for most of the year?

February 6, 2012 at 7:20 pm
(196) William Perez says:

Preston, I’ve discussed this situation in my article on resolving disputes about dependents.

February 6, 2012 at 9:44 pm
(197) Kathy says:

My 18yr old daughter lived with her father from Jan until May.
She ended up pregnant and moved back with me. In July when she turned 18 she moved with her boyfriend.
Is her dad allowed to claim her for taxes. I thought that she should be filing her own with her own dependent,
I have no reason to claim her. She was only with me for a short time until she was of age to move out.

February 7, 2012 at 8:55 am
(198) Tiffany says:

I am a single custodial mother of two small children. The father of my children has been incarcerated for the entire year. My youngest child qualified for disability in 2009. I was unable to work the entire year but did receive unemployment benefits less than $3500. My mother, who we did not live with for more than 6 months, has supported me with paying towards my utilities and providing needed clothing for my children along with household appliances (ie. refrigerator, stove, heaters, fans / air conditioners, ect.). Since I, nor the children’s father, qualify for a return, does my mother qualify to claim them on her return?

February 7, 2012 at 11:55 am
(199) Tonya says:

I am a divorced mother and the custodial parent. However I am an advocate for father’s rights. I am in rage at how women can continue to screw over the fathers who are responsibly taking care of their children by paying child support, and medical expenses, and daycare and take them every chance they get. How in God’s name is it that the government thinks they can justify splitting a family any other way than 50/50. If 2 parents make a child should they not be forced to be responsible 50/50. Sorry ladies you don’t get to just pop out a child with a man then sock it to him and get your cake and eat it too. Sorry men you don’t get to just walk away. This is a human life we are talking about it. It takes 2 to create it and it should take 2 to support it.

February 8, 2012 at 10:53 pm
(200) Ina Smith says:

I am 100% disabled and my son provides over 50% of my care, can he claim me as a dependent?

February 9, 2012 at 12:53 pm
(201) ramil says:

can i still claim my dependent with my 3 yr old son even i start working on november 2011

February 12, 2012 at 3:44 pm
(202) Patricia says:

My daughter’s baby was born in July of 2011. In September (through no fault of my daughter) the baby was placed in court ordered foster care, which lasted through the end of 2011. Can my daughter claim her baby on her tax return?

February 12, 2012 at 6:04 pm
(203) mary says:

my son is 22 years old still at home, single parent and never claimed tax credits as i have never heard of it before, is it possible to claim back any?

February 12, 2012 at 8:22 pm
(204) regina says:

My ex has residential custody of our daughter. He is allowed to file his taxes with her only. But I found out that for the past three years he has allowed his sister to file with our child’s social on her taxes. Yet our child has never lived with her, only him. He also has never filed his taxes as far back as 2005 all the way up until now from what i know. He never plans to file either. We are in a custody battle over her. I am trying to regain residential custody of her. What can I do about all this? I do not see that it is right that someone is filing with my child who she has never lived with nor someone who never filed.

February 13, 2012 at 11:36 am
(205) tim says:

question please help me ok so me and my wife married in August 2011 she has two boys that are now my step children im in the military and stationed out of country my wife had the boys 6 months out of the year and when she came over here her and the kids dad made a agreement he would watch the kids tell she came back i send him money every month to help out even though he never sent us any so this year my wife told me to claim the kids since i paid for everything the first 6 months and then i sent the kids real dad money i talked to legal here and they said that was fine i could since i have supported them and continue to send money now the kids dad is mad that i claimed the kids before he did and tryin to say he can press charges since i provided for the kids the first six months and i send money am i covered ????

February 15, 2012 at 12:40 pm
(206) Terrence says:

My ex-wife and I have 2 children that are still in the household. She has primary custody, however, I pay all the college expenses for our 19 year old college freshman. She claimed the children although she is unemployed and I provide 100% of their support. How can I claim my daughter’s college expenses that I paid during the year?

February 16, 2012 at 8:49 am
(207) Amy says:

I need help. My cousins son (9 years old) lived with me for about 10 months in 2011. I was given interim custody of him on July 11 and full custody on 9/6. His mother has supported him in no way during this time but she claimed him on her tax return and because of this my tax return was rejected by the IRS. Am I eligible to claim him as a dependents? What do I need to do now?

February 20, 2012 at 3:41 am
(208) BHEM 12 says:

My situation is confusing because i dont know all tax laws and i need help…I am a green card holder ( Alien resident as what they say) and been in the states for 6 yrs and i have 2 kids ( from a previous relationship) that i am and has been supporting for years but they are in the Philippines with my mom. I send money every month and kept receipts of it..can i claim them when i file my tax return? please enlighten me…thanks

Bhem12

February 20, 2012 at 2:11 pm
(209) William Perez says:

Bhem, in order to qualify as a dependent, the children must be US citizens, or citizens of Canada or Mexico. Also, dependents must normally reside with you except for temporary absences.

February 23, 2012 at 10:32 am
(210) vanity says:

I have not work all year but me and my husband filed taxes and 1 of our kids came back as already being claim even though I didn’t work is there anyway we can still find out who claimed that child

February 26, 2012 at 12:43 pm
(211) Angela Hawk says:

I am a divorced single mother of one. I dont work becuase of medical resons. I have full custody of my son and my ex husband pays child support when he wants to every month. We have been divorced for 4 years and every my ex has claimed him on his taxes. Why is he able to claim him if my son never lives in his home?

February 26, 2012 at 3:19 pm
(212) Rebecca Levinson says:

My ex patrick and i have an agreement with our children paige and peyton, he told me that if i allowed him to claim paige also this year he would give me just $1,000…alot of people that i told that to laughed at me and told me i was a sucker, now i have residential custody of her, i dont know if that means sole custody or what, they really didnt tell us much when we went to make the aggreement, but i have peyton sunday night, all day monday, monday night, all day tuesday, and then he gets to have her tuesday night till wednesday, and i usually get her about 5 or 6pm if not earlier, and then have her wednesday night, all day thursday, thursday night, all day friday, and then he gets her friday evening till sunday evening, so our casworker told me that it looks like he has her %43 and i have her %57, now i was told that there is a form he was suppose talk to me about and get my permisssion, pretty much thats what the form is, for him to sign it stating that im allowing him to claim the girls and that i should get at least %50 of what he is getting from my children, paige i have 24/7, he onl\y takes her usually on the weekends, is there anyone out there that can help me and give me some insight here about this from, i did find it the one night on the computer but i didnt have a printer here to print it and now i cant find the damn website that it was on, please leave me a comment [***],thank you everyone :)

February 27, 2012 at 3:30 pm
(213) Chris says:

I have three children who live with there mother the custodial parent. We have had a verbal agreement for the past 5 years that I claim the children as dependents. My ex has signed the release form every year. I pay for over 50% of there financial needs as well. This year she is refusing to let me claim the kids as dependents do I have any recourse.

March 2, 2012 at 9:34 am
(214) Dee says:

I have a question. I signed a pre-nup when i got married so the house i live in I am not entitled to if we were to get divorced. He also owns an other house which is not mine. I have a son who i can claim on my taxes. My question is, Should I file jointly or separately. My gripe is that why should i pay taxes on these two houses that i do not own and the money that would come from the child tax would go toward that. We always wind up owing taxes. Please help

March 3, 2012 at 4:15 pm
(215) cc says:

Write/email your Senators. Support a flat tax without the ridiculous rules that make the wrong people foot all of the taxes.

March 5, 2012 at 10:02 pm
(216) Confused says:

I have custody of my two kids. They live with me and they go to visit their mother every other weekend. I pay for 100% of everything. Medical, Dental, all food, all clothes, etc. I do not get any support from their mother. Her only involvement financially is the expenses she accrues while they are at her house on the weekends. Our original custody agreement states we get the kids 50/50 and we each get to claim 1 child on our taxes. Well, we got a second order that states she gets weekends only but no changes were made to the order regarding taxes. Can I claim both kids on my taxes? Or can I only claim 1 since that is what the court order says?

March 5, 2012 at 10:15 pm
(217) William Perez says:

Dear Confused, tax professionals may not advise clients to take a position on their tax return contrary to a court order.

March 5, 2012 at 10:13 pm
(218) confused says:

More info… Lets just say in July of 2008 we got our first court order that shows 50/50 physical and legal custody and the agreement was a week on/week off between their mothers house and mine. It was literally 50/50. In the order it also states she gets one child and i get one child on our taxes. Makes sense, because we were each providing the same amount of care/expenses for the kids. In May of 2009 the custody orders were modified and now the kids live with me full time and go to their moms on the weekends. However, the modification only included the custody. The support of $0 never got modified, nor did the tax information. Since the structure and the integrity of the first order as a whole was changed, do I still have to abide by it for tax purposes? I

March 8, 2012 at 4:33 pm
(219) yvonne says:

my daughter and my grandaugher who was born on oct 7 2011 lived at home with me. i supported them and what i paid rent, utilities, food etc. she got medical and wic when it came time for taxes she let her boyfriend claim my grandaughter knowing that i was going to claim her. when i explained that he did not support them ( he lives at home with his parents has a bedroom pays no rent or utilities) is this legal or can i do something about this.

March 17, 2012 at 10:19 pm
(220) Ruby says:

What about this situation: my friend is in a custody dispute with the mother of his daughter, the judge has already said that he can claim her every three years, the mother has her year round but my friend gets visitation every other weekend and every wed evening for dinner. He also gets 2 weeks in the summer. He did not work very much this past year and it is his year to claim her, he is doing his taxes and the taxes say his daughter qualifies but the provision is 0$ and that he could possibly get $1000.00. Does this mean he does not qualify because he did not work a certain amount of time? or what does this mean?

March 18, 2012 at 5:00 pm
(221) William Perez says:

Ruby, in these situations the non-custodial person gets only the dependent’s personal exemption. He won’t qualify for the child tax credit (worth up to $1,000) since the child does not reside with the taxpayer for more than half the year.

April 9, 2012 at 3:37 pm
(222) Grandpa says:

My married daughter and her husband are full time overseas students. None of them worked or earned any money last year. My wife and I support them and their child.

Since they did not live with us they do not pass qualifying child test. However, they do pass qualifying relative test. The problem is with their child, who lives with them and is their qualifying child.

Normally, one cannot claim claim an exemption for a qualifying relative, who is a qualifying child of someone else. However, both of the child’s parents are my dependents. Does it make a difference?

April 16, 2012 at 3:57 am
(223) Alejandro says:

I have my appointment later today to do my taxes now I’ve been unemployed and receiving unemployment as my source of income. My son is 4 and has been living with me for the past since summer of 2009 I have him Monday – Friday night and pick him up Sunday night it’s been like this since summer 2009. My sons mother claimed him earlier this year knowing that my son is with me the majority of the nights and days in the year. Do I have a right to go ahead and file my son as my dependent even though she went ahead and filed for him already.

December 17, 2012 at 6:12 pm
(224) DIANE says:

Hi, I had custody of my granddaughter for 8 years , this year her mother got custody on november, 16th., Am I able to claim her still as a dependant, having had her 11&1/2 months of the year? thanks. diane

January 5, 2013 at 7:08 am
(225) Ianto Jones says:

I’m legally disabled (lost my job in 2010/SSDI and LTD). I am faithfully paying off an outstanding IRS installment agreement on a 5-yr plan, and earn enough to still owe a small amount each April as well.

My long-term partner and I were finally legally married in October 2012.
*She* has been out of work since 7/2009, and fully disabled per her doctor’s certification letter since Aug 2010. She’s been living with me full time since before the layoff, and I’ve provided 100% of her room, board, meds, etc.

Since she didn’t get an actual diagnosis (Multiple Sclerosis) ’til late last year, we are still fighting for any benefits for her and its all been on me… Does that put her as a legal dependent (as a doctor DOES certify that she was fully disabled)? And if so, do I file as Head of Household?
Or Married Filing Joint?
Or. –??

She has no legal requirement to file at all, as her ONLY income was less than $580 in a Federal Stafford Loan, when she tried unsucessfully to attend a class last January.

Thank you for any help you can provide.

January 9, 2013 at 11:24 am
(226) Billy says:

No one seems to know the answer to my question… My 12 year old cousin lived with me for all of 2012, and I have paid 100% of his expenses. I had to go to court and get full custodial Guardianship, which didnít go into full effect until November 5th, 2012. I know that being the sole provider of him, being related, along with him living with me for the entire year of 2012 gives me the right to file him as a dependent. My concern is that his Mom and possibly his Dad might try to file him as a dependent as well, causing an audit. Because my full custodial Guardianship didnít officially go into effect until November 5th, (towards the end of the year) I donít know what proof I have for the IRS that Iím the sole provider of him. Both his parents are known to lie, cheat and steal, and that has me worried on the outcomeÖ Should I just not file him as a dependent? Is it worth the possible headache?

January 15, 2013 at 10:59 pm
(227) Amanda says:

This is my situation, I was with my ex fiancee for almost 5years. Recently in the last 3 months I found he had cheated on me while I was preg with my oldest (2yrs), and had been messing with another via text. I have 2 children the youngest is now 5 months. Because I have not been able to work, back problems and preg he claims the children. My question is would I have any right to any of the eic for the children. I don’t want half of his earnings I just want to know if I have any right to any of it. I have since moved out because of the infidelity, but haven’t had luck with a job. I was a stay at home mom, was not able to finish school either and we only had one vehicle. I’ve looked around and I’m not sure if it’s true but because he is a non-custodial parent he isn’t supposed to claim them. Please help.

January 17, 2013 at 3:19 am
(228) Maria says:

I just found out that my ex fiance is still claiming me and my 26 yr old son as dependents, and we have not been living together for a year. Is this legal? Do I have to report this?

January 17, 2013 at 9:27 am
(229) Victoria Vann says:

My question is…..If a father of a child does not take care of thier children all year and the child does not live with him and has never lived with him…he is way behind in child support….is he able to file his children on his taxes?

January 20, 2013 at 9:09 pm
(230) mary ann says:

My son has three kids. He never was married to the mother. His kids lived with them for over half a year. The mother of his kids don’t work and lives with her mother. Her mother is wanting to claim his kids on her income taxes. Can she do this. My son should be the one to claim them.. what if the grandmother claims them and wasn’t suppose to…please I need help with this…

January 26, 2013 at 12:38 pm
(231) Ray says:

My ex and I have joint custody of a son. The son is 17 and chose last May to live with me full time. Given the fact that legal custody becomes largely a mute point once my son reaches the age of 18… I have–until this point in time–chosen not to go back to court and incur the expense of changing the custody order. According to the current custody order, we claim the son on our income taxes in alternating years. My ex is only paying for half of the son’s medical expenses and nothing else… no child support, no food, no clothing, and no auto expenses. According to the current custody order, we claim the son on our income taxes in alternating years. This is her year (2012) to claim him. The ex plans to claim him as a deduction. Is that legal? Can I claim him since he is is living with me and I am paying for virtually all the expenses?

February 5, 2013 at 4:45 pm
(232) dbaylor says:

I have had my grandchildren since 2007 and before that had them in my home since birth i have always claim them now the mother feels that i should not since she has gotten a job, but i am still their legal guardian
so what is the law.

February 16, 2013 at 3:09 am
(233) Dawn says:

Hello, I filed for a legal separation 3+ yrs ago from my husband. He is a step father to my daughter but never adopted her (0% biological father involvement). Can he legally claim her as a dependent on his taxes if he never adopted her is my question??

February 16, 2013 at 3:53 am
(234) Soli says:

My neice has been leaving with me for a year and a half now I filed my tax and someone already claimed her come to find out my sister her biological mothers boyfriend claimed my sister and claimed my neice too … What should I do ?? Pls … Thank u ….

February 26, 2013 at 7:15 pm
(235) najwa fares says:

im a divorced mother with 2 children, my ex who is a dentist claims the children since 2005 our divorce date but the children say with me and i take care of them more than 10 months a year. it does say in the divorce papers that he is to claim them for life but since they are with me 90 percent of the time, i claimed them this year 2013, is this right, did i do anything wrong because the tax law states its who they live with more then 6 months. thank you

February 26, 2013 at 8:34 pm
(236) William Perez says:

Najwa, it sounds like you agreed to let your former spouse claim the kids. You might want to check with your attorney on the specifics of that agreement.

February 28, 2013 at 3:35 am
(237) angelic says:

i live with my mother but my ex supported the kids for 8 months of the year by child support and from what i read it counts as “support” even though its not being used for what its suppose to be used for. my mother pays for all her bills for her house unless i have money which i didnt for the last two months of the year i want to know if she can claim my kids or not and i cannot find an answer to this. my divorce papers say that i have to sign over my exemptions to my ex because i cannot get the exemptions does she still have the right to claim my kids for her taxes even though im living in her home.

March 12, 2013 at 4:04 pm
(238) debbies3dogs says:

My brother is living with my 70+ year old parents and he does not work. Can my parents claim him as a dependent? They could really use the deduction.

March 12, 2013 at 4:07 pm
(239) Debbie says:

My 49 year old brother lives with my 70+ year old parents and doesn’t work or pay them anything. Can they claim him as a dependent? They sure could use the deduction?

March 21, 2013 at 9:11 pm
(240) William Perez says:

Debbie, your brother should review the criteria for dependents, specifically for qualifying relatives.

March 31, 2013 at 9:37 pm
(241) dutch says:

i filed my tax return an hour before my roommate claimed me as a dependent on his tax return and now i just figure i am ineligible to be dependent since i made more than 5800 .He actually convinced me that this would not hurt and i was just being nice and finally gave him my approval.But now i am worried that this either hurt my refund or make my refund to be rejected . i know that we can file an amendment but do not know who would have to do it in this case , and how long it will take before i can get full refund .
thanks

April 2, 2013 at 8:45 pm
(242) betty says:

My son is 22 and lives with my husband and I. He is taking classes at our local community college. We pay all of his education expenses. He is not a full time student because he works during the day and takes classes online or at night. If we cannot claim him as a dependent, who can use the education credits? Since we paid the cost can we use it on our taxes or does this have to go on my son’s tax return?

April 2, 2013 at 10:46 pm
(243) William Perez says:

The education tax credits would be claimed by the person is claiming the student’s personal exemption. If the student can claim himself (that is, filing independently and not as a dependent), then the student takes the education credits. If the parents are eligible to claim the student as a dependent, then the parents claim the education credits. See, for example, this section of Publication 970 discussing who can claim the lifetime learning credit. The same rule would apply to other education credits.

June 7, 2013 at 11:37 pm
(244) Laryssa says:

I have been taking care of my ex-wife son for over a year but I am informed that I do not qualify for the earn credit and I don’t know why. He is a relative to me. I have always seen him as my biological son so when his mother decided to move out of state in 2011 I took him in full time. He was still in high school and I sent proof that he lived with me in 2012. Can yo explain why I can’t claim him.

June 8, 2013 at 2:51 pm
(245) William Perez says:

Laryssa, you asked a good question. I am not sure whether or not you qualify for EIC. Some things you might review: what’s your income? There are different income levels for being eligible for the earned income credit. For an unmarried person with one dependent, you might qualify for the EIC if your adjusted gross income is less than $36,920 (for 2012). Another thing to review is whether your son meets the criteria to be a qualifying child for EIC purposes. The various qualifying criteria can be found in the article on the earned income credit and in Publication 596. You might also want to try using the IRS’s Web-based Earned Income Tax Credit Assistant to find out if you qualify.

July 30, 2013 at 4:19 pm
(246) Julie says:

My husband and I have been supporting our separated-soon to be divorced niece since February as well as at least 90% of all expenses, she started working a month ago and now is claiming on her payroll the 2 children, do we have the right to claim the babies on our tax returns in this situation?

August 24, 2013 at 5:16 pm
(247) Rhonda Roberts says:

My son’s girlfriend’s mother asked if her daughter could live with us because her maternal grandmother made them leave her home. The daughter moved in with us and her mother moved in with her male friend. My son has financially supported her since she has lived in my home. Her mother never gave me a dime eventhough she said she would give me $100.00 a month. Now my son and his girlfriend are having a baby, she’s due in October. I have proof that her mother has never given a dime for the support of her daughter. She’s been living in my home since November 1, 2012. Can my son claim his girlfriend on his taxes and what would his filing status be?

August 28, 2013 at 3:47 pm
(248) William Perez says:

Rhonda, good question. For a definitive answer, your son should consult with a tax professional. Tax professional can review all aspects of a person’s financial situation to see how the tax rules apply.

August 27, 2013 at 10:06 pm
(249) Chris Roberts says:

I let my unemployed cousin stay in a room in exchange for cleaning the house occasionally and cooking dinner. I do not claim him as a dependent though apparently under the new rules I _could_ claim him as a qualifying relative. He has been repeatedly denied Medi-Cal, because they seem to count me as part of his household, and he doesn’t qualify for the Affordable Healthcare Act subsidy because they say he’s covered by Medi-Cal. I’d rather not claim him as a dependent (I’d rather he get a job), but his spotty job history has made it seemingly impossible to find work. He doesn’t qualify for my health insurance plan at work, Medi-Cal or AHCA, so it seems like we can’t get him any insurance within his budget of roughly zero. Am I on the hook for his insurance? If he doesn’t have enough income to file taxes, is he still on the hook for the AHCA tax penalty?

December 7, 2013 at 12:16 pm
(250) Joe says:

I have legal custody of my grandson. The child’s parents do not live with my wife and I. We do not get support from the parents or from State. Can I claim the grandson on my 2013 Tax return as a dependant?

December 10, 2013 at 7:05 am
(251) James Avino says:

My divorce decree states my ex-wife and I alternate claiming our daughter as a dependent each year. She is now of college age and my ex-wife, because of financial aid info required, wants me to relinquish me claiming our daughter on those alternating years. What are the tax ramifications of my agreeing to this?

December 22, 2013 at 5:44 pm
(252) jody grimes says:

My son is 12 yrs old and has always lived with me. im am divorced from his father and in the divorce decree he gets to claim our son. he pays child support. there have been several years where i have claimed my son, several of those years my ex agreed to. my ex is now collecting disability and i have claimed our son the past two years giving him part of the money from my son. this year he got married and now says he is claiming him. i thinnk that he is gonna try and have his wife claim my son on her taxes along with my wx as her dependants. can she do this and how can i find out. i am tempted to just go ahead and be the first to claim as i have done in the past several yrs ago with no reprecussions. can you give me some advice. thank you, jody

January 15, 2014 at 7:45 pm
(253) Tracey says:

me and my boyfriend lived together and he has a daughter that I supported. He told me to claim her in my taxes. Will I be audited if I claim her. He has full cud today.

January 16, 2014 at 3:12 am
(254) Sarah says:

I am the custodial parent of my two children. In my divorce decree it says that my ex husband gets to claim both of them “every year” that is all it says. But my lawyer said that the earned income tax credit didn’t matter who claimed them as dependents. Is this really true? I have looked all over and I can’t figure this out. Also now that the emotional part is over I do not believe it is fair for him to claim them both every year can this be changed. Also if I refuse to sign a 8332 and it says that in my decree will I get in trouble?

January 16, 2014 at 3:50 pm
(255) William Perez says:

Sarah, good questions. As for the earned income credit, it is true that the custodial parent can claim the EIC even if the noncustodial parent claim’s the dependent’s personal exemption. This is described in detail in Publication 596. From the table of contents, click the link for “Rule 9″ and scroll down and read the two sections that begin, “Special rule for divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart)” and “Applying Rule 9 to divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart).” These two sections discuss the question you raise about EIC.

As for the divorce decree and refusing to sign Form 8332, these are legal questions and should be directed to an attorney.

February 3, 2014 at 9:43 pm
(256) arielle C says:

i filed joint with my “common law” husband and listed his two kids as dependents, however i was red flagged and have to make another apointment due to their mother claiming them for the year 2013. The children have not lived with their mother, she has no custodial rights over said children and has not worked a full year. How would i go about this. My” husband”has no worked this year , but he has custody of both children. Do i need to contact Irs?

February 9, 2014 at 12:29 pm
(257) Daniel Gottschalk says:

Good day to you. I have a question reguarding claiming my son on my taxes. He has lived with his mother and she was the custodial parent, but we had joint custody. I have always paid child support and she has always claimed him. he is now 17 years old, but his mother passed away this last Dec. 2013. My question is, do I need to fill out form 8332 for record? Or do I just file because I am now his only legal guardian?

Thanks for your time.

February 14, 2014 at 6:39 pm
(258) Alyssa says:

Me and my husband split up this past year and we both agreed to claim two kids each. I claimed my two on the 24 and then he claimed three on the 30th. If I already claimed two, shouldn’t the h&R block computer system have kicked the one kid that I already claimed off of his return?

February 28, 2014 at 3:26 am
(259) Dj says:

I have a question about filing. If me my fiance and our daughter have lived together all year and she already claimed her as head of household because she made more that year but we both raise her can I still get sone sort of child credit for our daughter

March 1, 2014 at 8:42 pm
(260) L S says:

My husband and I provide almost all support for our 32 year old daughter and our 6 year old granddaughter. They do not live with us. we pay their mortgage, electric bill, water bill, car insurance, etc. since my daughter has no job. We pay for everything except medical insurance (they have medicaid) and for all food with the exception of $300 in food assistance they get (Food Stamps). If we claim them as ‘qualifying relatives’ on our tax return, will they loose their government medicaid and food assistance? That is, will their eligibility for these government services then be determined using our income since we’re claiming them as dependents?

March 13, 2014 at 10:45 am
(261) julie says:

Claiming an adult child as a dependent Unemployed for most of the year, no financial support on their own. Gets a job, claims one on the w-2. Are there financial stipulations that change the status of dependent. Are states different from one another. If I can’t claim them as a dependent do I get credit for the financial support.

March 18, 2014 at 9:26 am
(262) Anna says:

my husband and i are being audited and are being asked for our childrens clothing bills. we havent saved any, not knowing wew would need them. I am curious is this a new rule and why after all the years I have filled and claimed my children that we are being asked for clothing bills. we did not put is as an excemption and do no t understand why we are being asked for all of our clothing bills…… any answers? I have been searching for this answer , and have only found a way to have an irs representative to look at this problem….. any comments would be appreciated :)

March 20, 2014 at 3:42 am
(263) Mindy says:

I am divorce single mom who lived with my parents and had my daughter with me for 2/3 of 2013. The final divorce states that he be awarded the dependency exemption for the minor child in 2013 and every odd year thereafter. Here is the deal i’m pretty sure he made more then what is alowed for eic and she lived with me 2/3 of the year in my parents house i didnt work but my parents supported me and my child. the tax lady said that my parents could claim my daughter that he had no rite to so what should i do. Also it said in the divorce papers that if either party is unable to utilize the deduction for the child they shall notify the other party of the same and the other party shall then be allowed to claim the child in tht year.Should i take him to coart to fill out the neccasary form that he gives up the even and me the same for the odd to claim our daughter (she is 3) it is going to be a long long road with him. Also my parents purcased a house for me to rent, i lived with them while my daughter was with me and stayed at the rental when she was with her father some times and paid rent, utillitys, etc on it while it was being remodled can i claim hoh ? or not because of the living situation? Also he owes me 1000 back child support. State was intercepted he filled hoh single and it has been 5 weeks and no fed posted yet. how long will i have to wait for the fed. how does that work anyway if he make to much money then the eic wouldn’t get him any money back anyway correct? only the deduction of $1000 would help him. Also the tax lady said that Federal superseeds any state court, i dont know what to believe.

April 8, 2014 at 3:18 pm
(264) Monica says:

Hello William…I have a question for you…on Dec 10th 2013 my two daughters were taken out of my home by cps and they are currently with my mothers cousin and her husband….This is the first time that I have ever been without my kids. I was told by my mothers cousin that she filed my two girls on their taxes from the time that they got them which was Dec 10th to the last day of the year and they got money back for them she told me…..now I need to claim my taxes what will happen and what do I need todo?

April 8, 2014 at 4:02 pm
(265) William Perez says:

Monica, thanks for asking your question. I hear what you are saying. You’re curious about what to do with your taxes now that someone else has claimed your kids. That’s a good question. Usually we start by finding out: are you eligible to claim your two daughters?

First, you’ll need to find out if you can claim your daughters under the qualifying child rules. This is a 4-part test. If you meet all four tests, then you qualify to claim them as dependents. In that case, you will need to file your tax return on paper and mail it in, so the IRS will be able to process it properly.

Secondly, if you don’t meet the 4-part test for qualifying children, then check whether you meet the qualifying relative rules. There are 6 parts to the qualifying relative test. Again, if you meet all six tests, then you can claim your daughters as dependents, you’ll need to file your tax return on paper.

Thirdly, if you don’t meet either the qualifying child or the qualifying relative tests, then you cannot claim your daughters as dependents. In that case, file your tax return but without your daughters as dependents. You return could be e-filed if you want.

Finally, there’s a handy tool on the IRS web site to help you figure out if you can claim a dependent. That will walk you through all the relevant questions.

I hope these resources help you figure it out. Thanks for reading.

April 8, 2014 at 3:23 pm
(266) Monica says:

Hello William…I have a question for you…on Dec 10th 2013 my two daughters were taken out of my home by cps and they are currently with my mothers cousin and her husband….This is the first time that I have ever been without my kids. I was told by my mothers cousin that she filed my two girls on their taxes from the time that they got them which was Dec 10th to the last day of the year and they got money back for them she told me…..now I need to claim my taxes what will happen and what do I need todo? Not to mention I owe in student loans and will I have to pay taxes on the interest?

April 11, 2014 at 12:22 pm
(267) Monica says:

William I asked you the questions earlier this week(264) I do qualify for the earned income for the girls but what form do I use?

April 12, 2014 at 2:30 am
(268) William Perez says:

Monica, for the earned income credit, you’ll use Schedule EIC. A good resource is How Do I Claim the Earned Income Tax Credit page on the IRS web site. Thanks for reading!

April 15, 2014 at 10:04 pm
(269) AE says:

We were caring for our nephew for 10 years which we had legal custody and claimed him as our dependent.But we had to turn him back over to the county in April. He was only in 4 months this year. Can I still claim him as a dependent on this years taxes

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