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William Perez

Who Claimed My Kid? Tax Question of the Day

By February 3, 2006

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Throughout the tax season I will be answering one tax question per day.

Today's question comes from Lissette in Florida. She asks, "My fiance claimed my kids and myself as dependents, but I was told by the IRS that one of my kids was claimed by someone else. I asked my exhusband if he claimed my son, but he said no. So my question is how do I find out who did?"

I hear this question all too often. Let me lay out the basics, and then give you some tips for resolving the matter.

First, there are new rules for claiming a dependent. Under the new rules, the child must live with you for more than six months out of the year. So if the kids lived with you, you are entitled to claim them. However, your fiance cannot claim them as dependents, since the kids already meet the requirements to be your "qualifying child." That means no one else can claim them under the "qualifying relative" rules.

Second, tax return information is confidential. So if someone else claimed your kids as dependents, there is no way for you to find out who claimed the kids except by asking the person directly. The IRS won't tell you (they would get in trouble for the unauthorized disclosure of a taxpayer's confidential information), and the local tax firm cannot tell you (tax preparers are forbidden from revealing any information about their clients).

Third, it won't help to have your fiance claim the children on his tax return. The IRS will audit both parties (your fiance and the other person who claimed the kids). In an audit situation, the IRS will rule against your fiance, because the kids would meet the test to be your qualifying children, and therefore he cannot claim them as qualifying relatives. The IRS would also rule against the other person if the kids lived with you for more than six months.

So what can you do? The most you can do is ask your friends and family, in an attempt to find out who claimed the kids. If you do find out, you can ask them to file an amendment so that you can claim the kids. You should also ask them to not claim the kids in the future.

Once you get married, you and your husband can file a joint tax return and claim your kids as dependents. You might have to endure an IRS audit to prove the kids lived with you -- but the audit will be worth it. The other person will be prohibited from claiming your kids as dependents in the future.

Throughout the tax season I will be answering one tax question per day. Do you have a question? Visit the Ask a Tax Question page. Disagree with my answers? Post your comments in the Tax Forum.

April 16, 2009 at 8:34 pm
(1) karina says:

I live with my childrens and my husband is still claiming them how do I stop him claiming them cuz he’s not giving me anything at all and I did report it to the irs and they won’t respond what can I do ?

December 7, 2010 at 9:35 am
(2) sabrina sturdivant says:

hello my name is sabrina and im 24 i stay with my mom but every year when i trys to claim my own child it wnt go through wht am i supposed to do to correct this

February 6, 2011 at 2:39 am
(3) lisa says:

check to see if someone else is claiming him

April 8, 2011 at 5:56 pm
(4) shy says:

how do u find out who claimed your child is there a number

January 13, 2011 at 10:02 pm
(5) Jeremy says:

my ex dosent work nethir her mom im the only one who can realy claim my son and she trying to have her other kids fathers claim him cause she dont like me and i always have him cause she dont knoe how to grow up as a mother and she is not givin me the social security number and im not on the birth cetificate what can i do its illegal for her to let some other guy claim my kid when he dosent have anything to do with him

February 6, 2011 at 2:36 am
(6) lisa says:

its not legal for anyone to claim kids that is not in your household

February 25, 2011 at 5:36 pm
(7) nicolas says:

how can someone steal from walmart n go to jail, but someone who steals from the government only gets a letter saying to pay back the money? how does that make sense? also why wont irs tell you who filed agianst your child if they werent supposed too. how are you supposed to protect yourself against that person from doing it again if they dont tell u who it was? but yet they post pics up all over the news when someone steals somethin.

January 29, 2012 at 4:15 am
(8) juan says:

I pay child support and have never missed a payment and for year 2011 my ex, let her sister claim my daughter is this legal? What can I do about this ?

October 3, 2012 at 11:16 pm
(9) alexis says:

What do you need to prove that the child been living with you for six months?

November 28, 2012 at 6:57 am
(10) April says:

No one other than my childs father or I should be claiming our daughter. In 2008 I let him claim her because she moved in with him but we had her finish her school year out in my school district. In 2009 the irs is saying someone else claimed her. I want to know who and I want to know why the irs is not questioning them since she is not their child or have lived with anyone other than myself or her father. This has caused a lot of hardship on him and it is not right. If someone has broke the law and is filing fraudulant tax claims they should be publisized and prosecuted. So as it stands now and the way the law is I could claim all kinds of kids with no reprocautions…. this is not right!!! would a lawyer be able to find out who claimed our daughter and would we be able to press charges on these lying fradulant people?

January 7, 2013 at 10:54 am
(11) Natalie says:

Juan, stop complaining and keep paying your child support. Maybe she lives with her sister. Who cares. The child isn’t with you 6 months out of the year. My god. It’s men like you that are only in it for the money!

January 30, 2013 at 8:38 am
(12) mrs poole says:

I just dont understand how the irs can let someone else file your child that doesnt take of them and we are the one who always has to send prove to the irs.thats not right.they say the irs is strict i cant tell letting someone claim people kids need there are not the one who suppose to claim them.let us owe the irs and they at you.just dont understand

February 1, 2013 at 1:49 am
(13) Anna says:

My boy friend is suspose to claim his daughter every other year he has court paperwork stateing this he has 50/50 he pays his child support every month and pays for all her clothes ,medical and any activities she does she is wil us every other weekend and with us at his moms many nights tho her mother wont let him take her the full 50/50 as she does not want him to claim her on his taxes she is 8 and he has only claimed her 1x her mother claims her the rest of the time … He did not know he had any other choice what can we do he wants to claim her this year but her mother is saying NO

February 6, 2013 at 12:00 pm
(14) James says:

Thats funny Anna, I have the same exact situation, except I am the dad, and her mother is denying she claimed her, yet the irs says someone did. As far as I know, no one else had my daughters social. So my question is “Can a person randomly make up a social and claim a fake name? Or does the name, dob , and social have to match for the irs to approve a dependant?”

February 13, 2013 at 2:22 pm
(15) crystal says:

my ex boyfriend got costody of my elven year old she is not his real child it was a child protective services case any ways she has been liveing with his mother for the last 2 years he has our 8 year old my question is can his mom claim her on her taxes?

February 14, 2013 at 8:52 am
(16) Mike says:

My ex did not work last year but her boyfriend did. She won’t let me claim my 8 year old but I have a sneaky suspicion that her boyfriend is claiming him. If he is is that legal??? If its illegal what can I do about it???

March 4, 2013 at 6:55 pm
(17) Darlene says:

I found out who claimed my child and they will NOT respond to any of my phone calls or request to file and ammendment. Can I file one even if they wont?

August 14, 2013 at 12:48 pm
(18) Allison Allen says:

someone has claimed my son on their taxes when i tried to claim him the denied me that is against the law to claim someone elses child. please help me get the person in trouble that did this.IRS wont tell me who did it what else can i do

August 15, 2013 at 10:27 am
(19) William Perez says:

Allison, the procedure here is to file your tax return by mailing it in to the IRS. The IRS will then manually process your tax return and investigate.

January 16, 2014 at 7:55 pm
(20) Soph says:

That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard… if you have a child being claimed by another individual who has no relations to that child your telling me we as PARENTS DO NOT have a right to know who the hell has been claiming OUR CHILDREN!? This has got to be a damn joke. California state laws are ridiculous. that’s just like the police saying “you cant file run away charges against your kid because you know where they ran away to”, or telling me I cant file kidnapping charges because the child “willingly” left with the person who kidnapped her. and NOW THIS??? what about our rights being violated and our money taken by the individual whos been claiming them for years ESPECIALLY IF THERES NO RELATIONSHIP BTWN THE CHILD AND THE PARTY FILING. what about our confidentiality !!?? that is incredibly AMAZING and I don’t even mean that in a good way, I DISAGREE 100%.

January 18, 2014 at 10:42 am
(21) jennifer says:

How do i find out how much my son father got on his taxes and if he was auited or not?

February 6, 2014 at 9:39 am
(22) shelly says:

I am married but we have been apart 4 years.we are getting divorced this year and right now I’m not work n haven’t for a year my mother and father helps me with my kids they have spent thousands of dollars on my kids and my husband said I haven’t done anything for my kiss and that he’s not giving me anything out of his taxes what do I do or what can I do cause he said he claimed all 4 of his kids and three are mine

February 12, 2014 at 3:48 pm
(23) Codi says:

Should I get a lawyer and file for contempt of court if my ex wife claims both of our children on taxes and its in the decree that she isn’t suppose too and she only sees/has them a month out of the year I all ready paper filed with the irs is this a sure thing I will get my money back

February 12, 2014 at 5:12 pm
(24) Rachel says:

How to I let the IRS know and report someone who claimed my 3 children? My kids did not live with this man ever! He doesnt provide anything for them, yet he claimed them. What can I do?

February 16, 2014 at 1:18 am
(25) bratney says:

If my sister claimed my baby n cousin and she got back 4600 for child tax credit and earned incime credit does that get split in half for both kids??? Plz someone answer me. I don’t know how it works.

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