Tax help with claiming child as dependent

United States
January 12, 2007 5:14pm CST
Here is my situation. For the first 5 years after my daughter was born, her father and I did not live together. She lived with me, so I claimed her as a dependent on my tax return every year. Well, her father and I got back together when she was 5 1/2 and moved in with him. We are not married. Since he was the one making the most money and supporting her, I decided it was only right for him to claim her. I even called the IRS and they said yes, the parent who supplies the housing and most financial support is the one who should claim the child as their dependent. So since then, he has been claiming her every year. She is now 12 years old. Well, he got audited this year by the IRS for a mistake he made on last year's tax return due to the salel of a rental house of his. So they also are looking into every other aspect of his returns. They are now also auditing him because they say that he could not claim her all these years because he never had a consent form signed by me. Well, when he went to H&R Block they had never told him that he needed to do that. So my question is, since they are auditing him because he was not allowed to claim her for all those years, am I entitled to claim her as a dependent back dating for those years? Does anyone know what I can do?
2 people like this
17 responses
@sylvrrain (659)
• United States
13 Jan 07
Your daughter lived with him. Period. You may need records to prove to the IRS that fact. (School records, medical records, lease agreement, a statement signed by you) Also, send them a copy of her birth certificate showing your boyfriend as the father. I do know that you can only go back three years to do an amended return, so that may not help you as much. Your boyfriend will probably end up owing a lot of money if he claimed her for the past seven years and has to pay back the IRS. Financially, I would prove she lived with him one way or another. Another thing, most tax services train the employees with a quick class and then sit them at a desk with a computer program. They do not know everything. If you have a question concerning your taxes, I would check out the IRS website first. I have been doing taxes for about 20 years, and I do not claim to know everything. I consult the IRS website on a regular basis. I want to wish you and your boyfriend luck dealing with this, and congrats on getting back together.
3 people like this
• New Zealand
13 Jan 07
Excellent advice.
@sigma77 (5385)
• United States
13 Jan 07
I have done taxes for several years. I believe it was OK for the father to claim the child. In a divorce, if the woman had custody, she could sign a form to let the father claim the child. I don't think a form is need in this case. I agree with sylvrrain about tax preparers. Myself included. However, I do not think that even the IRS knows everything either. The tax system is one heck of a complicated scheme. But I think you can only go back 3 years to refile your taxes. Of course, the IRS has eternity on their side when they want to audit you.
1 person likes this
• United States
14 Jan 07
You are right. The form they showed him that I was "supposedly" suppose to sign is for divorced couples, which doesn't even apply to us. He has another interview on January 22 so when he goes back he will find out more information. We certainly have proof that he has been supporting her all this time, and if they need me to sign something stating this is true, I will do it. Thanks so much for your responses.
• United States
22 Jan 07
Generally you can go back 3 years to file an amended return, however in this situation the father has rightfully claimed his daughter for the past 6-7 years. There are 4 main tests and both of you meet them. She was your daughter (relationship test), under the age of 19 (age test), lived with both of your for the entire year (residency test), and your daughter did not provide more than half of her own support (support test). Either of you (not both of you in the same year) can claim your daughter. If both of you were to claim her, the person with the highest adjusted gross income would be awarded with the exemption. Depending on your income, it might work out better for both of you if you claimed your daughter because it might provide the best overall benefit. In other words, both of you may still get refunds, but combined it could be significantly larger. You should have your tax preparer calculate your taxes both ways to show what kind of difference it would make. Agree to split the extra refund. Since he makes more money, he doesn't have to give up the exemption if he does not want to. For more information or to confirm my response, please refer to IRS Publication 501. If you want to share the problem on the sale of the rental house, I may be able to assist. As for the over aggressive IRS Agent, your daughter's father should visit http://www.irs.gov/advocate/ and contact your local office for help. This is an independent organization to help taxpayers resolve problems with the IRS.
@korek222 (702)
• Poland
13 Jan 07
I am not an expert in this kind of tax claming but i think that you can make her your dependent for all this years but to have the best help you need to hire financial lawyer who will give you advise and will help you to get on with this audit situation.
1 person likes this
@gabs8513 (48710)
• United Kingdom
13 Jan 07
Hi there Pebbles basically get a Lawyer involved and get advise of him as I say this is not your Fault and they might want the money back of you but again something has to come your way for all them Years so get legal advise on this and get it sharpish
1 person likes this
@SageMother (2277)
• United States
13 Jan 07
Sounds like you can ammend your tax returns for those years and get some ofyour tax money back! KA-CHING! Don't let your relationship with him blond you to that money and, assuming all goes well, stick in a savings account in your name only. Yes the two of you got back together but it might be that some of his incentive was the tax issue...but maybe not. I have seen fellows do this a few times in my life. They are getting ready to get alump sum of money from something, and rush to find someway to gain dependents.
1 person likes this
@tammyr (5954)
• Etowah, Tennessee
13 Jan 07
Couple of questions: Did you file at all those years he claimed her? Where you on his return? Did he claim her as a dependant only or did he recieve tax credits using her? such as child tax credit or earned income credit. You can go back 3 years and ammend your tax returns, But remember that laws change every year, and because you are not married,He may not be able to claim her for certain years. As the above poster stated, you have to be careful who does your taxes for you, some are barly traned. You can go to www.irs.gov for help on any tax problems. )Be sure you are looking at the rules for the correct year.)
• United States
14 Jan 07
In answer to your questions, yes I filed all those years that he claimed her. But I did not claim her as my dependent, since he was claiming her on his. We file separately because we are not married. Yes, I believe he did receive tax credits for her, like earned income and the child tax credit.
• United States
7 Feb 07
I never heard such a thing. Either parent can claim their child on their tax returns. I never heard of anyone needing a consent form to do it. That's crazy. I hope you guys are appealing and maybe you should get a tax attorney.
• United States
13 Jan 07
Do you know a good accountant? I would contact someone other than H&R Block folks. Most have very limited experience and are of little help. Good Luck!
@mkirby624 (1599)
• United States
13 Jan 07
I think you should go to the audit with him and if that comes up, you can be there as a his consent. I mean, if you are there saying that it was fine with you and you discussed it with your accountant, then I don't see why there would be a problem. I don't understand a lot about taxes though. My husband claims me, even though he makes $25,000 less a year than me..he just filed his first so he claimed me. So I didn't claim him, nor did I claim any of the money (the $12,000 that is supposed to be split in some way between the spouses), so I have A LOT taken out of my check every month, so i am hoping that I will get a decent about back this year!
@icequeen (2841)
• Canada
13 Jan 07
You need to talk to an accountant about these matters. However...since he did not claim her and you didn't sign anything over to him then I would think they owe you that money...
• Egypt
13 Jan 07
good work nice share man
• United States
13 Jan 07
If he didnt physically live with her for over 6 months of the year he has no right to claim her, unless you decided in court for him to. Also if you do not sign the papers for him to claim her, you are fine. If she is in your custody ( legal) then you are fine. Unfortunately if he was supporting her financial MORE than you, then you may have a problem. Being that he was physically with her, then he should be able to.
@venshida (4837)
• United States
13 Jan 07
This does not sound right, its his child legally right. He can claim the child. If you have legal documentation that shows he is the father like on the birth certificate, he should have no problem. He has to show that he has provided financially for the child. If he has documentation, you should not have any problem. You might want to talk to H&Block to since they prepared the returns. They are not liable because the tax payer is the one who signs and are held liable by the IRS, but H&RBlock should try to help you.
@maikeeho (196)
• Philippines
13 Jan 07
i agree. you got a point and this is really interesting and so informative
• India
13 Jan 07
no way
• United States
13 Jan 07
Doesn't H&R block provide a free audition consultation when you're audited on a return they prepared? I would look into that, I'm pretty sure they do.
• Canada
13 Jan 07
i think when you go to get your taxes done you should bring it up with someone who workd there and maybe they will be able to help you better.