Parental Rights & Obligations

questions & answers

Question: If the biological father pay for childcare costs only, does that give him the right to claim our child on federal taxes? (we have no court orders established)

Answer:

In cases where there are no orders designating who has the right to claim the dependent child exemption, IRS Publication 501 sets forth who is entitled to claim exemptions.  The link to IRS Publication 501 is: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p501.pdf

You should review the entire publication; however, note the following language on Page 10 of IRS Publication 501: 

  • You cannot claim any dependents if you, or your spouse if filing jointly, could be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer.
  • You cannot claim a married person who files a joint return as a dependent unless that joint return is only a claim for refund and there would be no tax liability for either spouse on separate returns.
  • You cannot claim a person as a dependent unless that person is a U.S. citizen, U.S. resident alien, U.S. national, or a resident of Canada or Mexico, for some part of the year.
  • You cannot claim a person as a dependent unless that person is your qualifying child or qualifying relative.

 Tests To Be a Qualifying Child: 

1.       The child must be your son, daughter, stepchild, foster, child, brother, sister, half brother, half sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or a descendant of any of them.

2.       The child must be (a) under age 19 at the end of the year, (b) under age 24 at the end of the year and a full-time student, or (c) any age if permanently and totally disabled.

3.       The child must have lived with you for more than half of the year;

4.       The child must not have provided more than half of his or her own support for the year.

5.       If the child meets the rules to be a qualifying child of more than one person, you must be the person entitled to claim the child as a qualifying child.

To avoid what is often called "first in time filing" / "race to file" situations, you may want to consider establishing an order through the court.  The court can establish parameters for claiming the exemption(s) (i.e. father claims exemption during odd numbered years, mother during even numbered years, etc.).

QUESTIONS

  • If the biological father pay for childcare costs only, does that give him the right to claim our child on federal taxes? (we have no court orders established)

STORIES

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