Claiming a child in taxes! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 12-04-2012, 09:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I married my husband 4 years ago. Together we have a 2 year old. I have 2 boys from a previous relationship, he has a daughter from a previous marriage. I have full custody, where he has joint legal and physical. Which means they have to alternate years on claiming the child on taxes. The ex asked him if she could claim the child, since he had a child to claim. He told her no, that he needed to claim her. She said that wasn't right since he has one to claim (she wasn't sure if he claimed my boys or not) and she has none. He told her that he had 4 dependents on payroll, so they haven't been holding out much taxes. She then says that it isn't fair that he can claim 4 and he won't even let her claim her only one. She said it isnt fair that she cant claim her but she never showed concern of us having to pay penalties and pay in money if we didn't claim the child. Of course, nothing to her is fair, if it isn't in her favor or her idea. In my eyes, my/our kids shouldn't be any of her concern. Should we let her claim the child to "keep the peace" or is claim the child, since its 1) his year and right to do so, an 2) so we won't have to pay penalties just to be "fair"?
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#2 of 9 Old 12-04-2012, 09:49 AM
 
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In your case, I think you have the option of either being nice (and assuming you may have to be nice every year) or sticking to the letter of the custody agreement. 

 

I'm going to make an argument that you probably agree with - you don't divvy up children on tax returns just to be "fair" to the taxpayers involved.  If you did, I'd have to lend one of my kids to a childless neighbor.  If letting the ex have the deduction would make your lives easier (and it might), then consider it a small price to pay for a little bit of harmony.  But it's not about "fair."  Your DH gets deductions for three kids some years, and four kids some years, because you two are supporting that many kids! 

 

In regards to penalties - At this point in the year, if you pay your estimated taxes by 1/15/13, you will not have to pay any penalties for overwithholding.  When your DH's year-end pay stub comes through, use the info on it to estimate what you owe and determine, by the fifteenth, whether you should send in an estimated payment to avoid penalties.  Paying penalties, or not, is entirely within your control at this juncture, and shouldn't need to enter into your thinking.

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#3 of 9 Old 12-04-2012, 10:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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In her eyes, us letting her claim the child would be fair.

Might I add that we carry the child on our insurance even though its her responsibility to do so. We are saving her money every month by doing that.
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#4 of 9 Old 12-04-2012, 11:03 AM
 
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The IRS actually has very specific rules, including what I would call "tie break" rules.  The parent the child lives with most gets to claim the child, but if time is equal, then the parent with the highest adjusted gross income gets to claim.

 

 

From the IRS

If a child is claimed as a qualifying child by two or more taxpayers in a given year, the child will be the qualifying child of:

  • the parent;
  • if more than one taxpayer is the child’s parent, the one with whom the child lived for the longest time during the year, or, if the time was equal, the parent with the highest AGI;
  • if no taxpayer is the child’s parent, the taxpayer with the highest adjusted gross income (AGI).

 

 

http://www.irs.gov/uac/A-“Qualifying-Child


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#5 of 9 Old 12-04-2012, 11:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So even though its court ordered, signed by a judge, the IRS can go back and say she has the right to claim the child?
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#6 of 9 Old 12-04-2012, 12:41 PM
 
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Honestly, I have no idea how the IRS deals with court orders regarding custody that don't align with their rules.  It's a pretty common situation though.

 

Quote:
In her eyes, us letting her claim the child would be fair.

Might I add that we carry the child on our insurance even though its her responsibility to do so. We are saving her money every month by doing that.

 

I can totally understand standing by the language of the divorce decree for all you're worth.

 

BUT. 

 

Do not spend a dollar to avoid fifty cents of trouble.  Are you in love with every single dot and comma in the custody agreement?  If your DH's ex started digging in her heels on every little thing and demanding exact adherence, would you and he and the kids be happy with the results?  Is a tax deduction on one kid a reasonable price to pay for a little more ease and harmony?

 

And remember that MDC is completely google-able.

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#7 of 9 Old 12-04-2012, 03:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The only thing I can think to do is just see what our accountant says, work up claiming 3 kids and then claiming 4 kids and see what the difference is and whether or not it's worth it in the end. It's nice to have a place to turn to for advice. I am aware that she or anyone else can see what I post. And that's fine. I'm not saying anything negative or out of line.
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#8 of 9 Old 12-11-2012, 07:08 AM
 
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That's a good idea. 

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#9 of 9 Old 12-30-2012, 06:05 AM
 
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if she only has the kid half time then claiming every other year is fair.  how many other kids he has custody of and can claim has nothing to do with her.  i absolutely would only let her claim the child on the years she's allowed to and no more. if she claims the child when it's not her turn and you have a court order saying so you have grounds to sue her in small claims
 

 

Quote:
So even though its court ordered, signed by a judge, the IRS can go back and say she has the right to claim the child?

i dont thinks so, turbo tax specifically asked me if there was a court order regarding who can claim.  i think that rule posted above is there in the event a court order does not exist


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