Llama, Llama -No Dependent Tax Drama!

Let’s go through this together: You just filed your taxes. You wait for the approval and “BAM”, it’s rejected! Someone has filed your child on their tax return. The nerves right? Well guess what? That happens all of the time. It has happened to me before. The question is not why. You and I both know the answer to that. Take the green light and get your money back! Print

If you are the one who deserves to claim your child, stick to it.

Only one taxpayer may generally claim any one person as a dependent on a tax return (except, of course, in the case of a married couple filing jointly). If you file your tax return and someone else has already claimed your dependent, then the IRS will apply tiebreaker rules.

There may be an exception when the splitting of tax benefits for a dependent is detailed in a legal divorce decree. If you have such a decree, you will need to file your tax return on paper and attach the relevant pages of the divorce decree, including the first page and the signature page.

There are two types of dependents, qualifying children and qualifying relatives, and both have different requirements.

In order to claim someone as a qualifying child, he or she must

  • Be your biological or adopted child, stepchild, foster child, sibling, half sibling, stepsibling, or a descendant of one of these
  • Be under age 19, under age 24 if a full-time student, or any age if permanently and totally disabled
  • Be a U.S. citizen or resident, or a resident of Canada or Mexico
  • Be unmarried, or married but not filing a joint return
  • Have lived with you for at least half the year, unless absent due to illness, education, business, vacation, or military service
  • Not have provided more than half of his or her own support

In order to claim someone as a qualifying relative, he or she must

  • Have lived with you all year as a member of your household, or be one of the following family members: child, parent, sibling, stepparent, stepchild, stepsibling, half sibling, grandparent, grandchild, child-in-law, parent-in-law, sibling-in-law, uncle, aunt, niece, or nephew.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or resident, or a resident of Canada or Mexico
  • Be unmarried, or married but not filing a joint return
  • Not be a qualifying child of you or someone else
  • Have a gross income of less than $3,800
  • Have more than half of their total support for the year provided by you

Here’s how to straighten it out. Forget about finding out who did it, even criminals have a right to their privacy in America. Instead file a paper return (mail in your tax return), along with a cover letting explaining why you qualify to claim your daughter. Also, include copies of evidence claiming you have the right to claim your child.i
Once the IRS receives this, they will review it and make a decision.

The IRS rules are applied in the following order:

  1. Relationship Test: If only one of the taxpayers claiming the child is the child’s parent, then the child will be the qualifying child of the parent.

  2. Residence Test: If both parents claim the child but do not file jointly, then the child will be the qualifying child of the parent with whom the child lived for a longer time during the year.

  3. Income Test: If the child lived with both parents for an equal amount of time, then the child will be the qualifying child of the parent with the higher adjusted gross income (AGI).

  4. No Parent Can Claim: If no parent qualifies to claim the child, the child will be the qualifying child of the person claiming the child who has the highest AGI.

  5. No Parent Chooses to Claim: If either parent qualifies to claim the child, but they choose not to, the child will be the qualifying child of the claiming person with the highest AGI, but only if their AGI is higher than that of either parent (if the parents are married and filing jointly, use one half of their combined AGI).

  6. Special Rule for Unmarried Parents: If the parents are not married but lived together with their child all year and the child meets all qualifying tests for both parents, then the parents may decide which parent will claim the child as a dependent.

Dependent rules also apply to other benefits, such as tax credits. Many of these credits are available only if you have qualified dependents. For example, both the child tax credit and the earned-income tax credit rely on these rules. The best thing you can do to prevent someone else from claiming your dependent is to file your taxes as early as possible. That way your e-filed return will be accepted and theirs will be rejected. Then you’ll get your refund on time and they will be audited. Yes….wining!

Want to hear it from them? Call 1-800-829-1040

Happy Taxes,

QC Supermom

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s