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Claiming kids for Federal & State taxes


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#1 Slim1127

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 12:07 PM

I live in Louisiana and was ordered by the court to pay child support for my two boys. According to the court i'm 70% responsible for them. Do I have the right to carry my boys being that I'm responsible for the majority of their expenses. I was rejected by the IRS b/c she claimed them on her taxes. Any advice?

#2 Ted_from_Texas

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 12:49 PM

Whether you can claim an exemption for your kids on your federal or state tax returns depends on the relevant tax code. In general, you'll have to have the kids living with you at least 50 percent of the time. Note that your custody order is not binding on the state or federal government, which have their own rules independent of family court. For more information visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov, or consult local counsel.

#3 pg1067

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 01:23 PM

According to the court i'm 70% responsible for them.


I'm not sure what this means, but payment of child support is not relevant to your question.

As the prior response notes, the right to claim a child as a dependent for purposes of federal income taxes is governed by IRS regulations, and, in a situation such as yours, the parent with whom the child resides for the majority of the year likely gets to make the claim. Under IRS regulations, the parent with the right may give that right to the other parent if he/she wishes. Additionally, a state divorce court may, if it deems it equitable to do so, may order the parent with the right to give it to the other parent. Does your divorce decree/custody order say anything at all in this regard?

#4 Guest_FindLaw_Amir_*

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 02:34 PM

Were you to claim them on your taxes? Was this court ordered?

#5 Slim1127

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:24 PM

There was no order by the court when child support was set. I asked the District Attorney if I could carry my boys for taxes and he said "yes, you're 70% responsible for them". The only thing about that is, it wasn't written in my paperwork with the amount that I was orderd to pay.

#6 Tax_Counsel

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 03:36 AM

According to the court i'm 70% responsible for them. Do I have the right to carry my boys being that I'm responsible for the majority of their expenses. I was rejected by the IRS b/c she claimed them on her taxes. Any advice?


Your facts and your question are a bit vague. I’ll assume that you are asking about whether you may claim the dependent exemption for the children, since that is the most basic tax benefit available with respect to having kids. I’ll assume you are the father of these kids and the woman who “claimed them on her taxes” is the mother. I'll assume that you and the mother combined provided over half the total support for the kids during 2012, i.e. no one else, like a grandparent or the kids themselves, for example, provided over half their total support. I'll also assume the kids were under age 19 on December 31, 2012, they are U.S. citizens or residents, and that they are not married. I'll also assume that no one other than you or the mother had physical custody of the kids last year. Finally, I assume that you are either divorced, legally separated, or lived apart from the mother for the entire last 6 months of 2012.

Assuming those assumptions are correct, the rule that applies here is the special rule for divorced or separated parents. Under that rule, the parent with whom the child lived for the greater part of the year (184+ days) is the custodial parent for federal tax purposes and thus the parent who may claim the dependent exemption for the child. Note that it doesn't matter which of the parents provided the most support for the kids. What matters is which parent the kids lived with most of the year. The reason Congress adopted this rule was to make it much easier for the IRS to determine which parent gets the exemption. Trying to sort out who provided the most support is often a difficult task because support is provided in all kinds of ways, some of which are hard to measure or track. Under the rule for divorced or separated parents, the noncustodial parent only gets the exemption if the custodial parent provides a signed written declaration to the noncustodial parent in which the custodial parent agrees not to claim the exemption and allows the noncustodial parent to claim it instead. IRS Form 8332 may be used for the declaration. This declaration must be attached to the noncustodial parent’s tax return.

You can read all the rules for the dependent exemption in IRS Publication 501.

From what you said, my guess is that you electronically filed your 2012 return and that the electronic filing was rejected because the mother electronically filed first and claimed the exemption. Note that the rejection by the computer is not a determination that she is entitled to the exemption. The computer will always reject the second return that is electronically filed when two returns claim the same person as an exemption on the return. If you were actually entitled to the exemptions, then you solve this problem by filing a paper return claiming the exemptions. The IRS will accept and process the paper return. About a year later, however, both parents will get letters from the IRS asking them to prove they are entitled to the exemption. If the kids lived with their mother for the greater part of the year, you would lose the exemption and have to pay additional tax to the IRS, along with interest and perhaps a penalty, too. So make sure you get it right. If you are not entitled to the exemptions, simply remove the claim to the exemptions from the return and electronically file again. Assuming no other problems with the return, it should go through just fine.

I asked the District Attorney if I could carry my boys for taxes and he said "yes, you're 70% responsible for them".


District attorneys aren’t tax lawyers and you ought not rely on what the district attorney tells you about tax law. District attorneys prosecute state crimes — that's their area of expertise. The district attorney with whom you spoke was, quite simply, wrong. He was wrong because he simply assumed something about tax law rather than actually knowing what the tax law provides.

#7 DiverBoone

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 04:24 PM

I live in Tennessee, this is an issue that can and should have been answered in the Parenting Plan. Every other year is what the mother of my child and I agreed upon.




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