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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Pennsylvania
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    1

    Default Claiming a Dependent After Divorce

    I am currently legally seperated pending a divorce in progress. Its nearing tax time and I need to know where I stand when it comes to who claims our daughter as a dependant on our taxes and who gets the tax credit. We have a shared custody order in place which gives us 50 50 custody. We just seperated in september and since then we have traded our daughter back and forth every other week. I worked for the first two months of the year and was forced to resort to SSI due to cancer and chemo therapy. My wife has not worked in two years and started collecting welfare in march of this year and still does today. Even on SSI I have been the bread winner and majority provider for her and our daughter. I know my wife/ex-wife is going to do all she can to claim our daughter and collect the money. I am not really worried about the money its more the fact that I will use it for our daughter, the wife will not. I am guessing since I am the only one of us two with an actual work income for the year and have been the provider that I should be the one to claim our daughter, but I need to know where I stand before the last minute.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    16,268

    Default Re: Claiming a Dependant After Divorce

    Quote Quoting Nicholsd24
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    I am currently legally seperated pending a divorce in progress. Its nearing tax time and I need to know where I stand when it comes to who claims our daughter as a dependant on our taxes and who gets the tax credit. We have a shared custody order in place which gives us 50 50 custody. We just seperated in september and since then we have traded our daughter back and forth every other week. I worked for the first two months of the year and was forced to resort to SSI due to cancer and chemo therapy. My wife has not worked in two years and started collecting welfare in march of this year and still does today. Even on SSI I have been the bread winner and majority provider for her and our daughter. I know my wife/ex-wife is going to do all she can to claim our daughter and collect the money. I am not really worried about the money its more the fact that I will use it for our daughter, the wife will not. I am guessing since I am the only one of us two with an actual work income for the year and have been the provider that I should be the one to claim our daughter, but I need to know where I stand before the last minute.
    Your wife cannot claim your child because she has no income, therefore she has nothing to file a tax return with.

    You have very little earned income. You can claim your child, but you won't see much of a refund with only two months of income. SSI is not income for tax purposes.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    2,344

    Default Re: Claiming a Dependant After Divorce

    Quote Quoting Nicholsd24
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    I am currently legally seperated pending a divorce in progress.
    You cite your state as being Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania has no such legal status as "legally separated". You are either married, divorced, or widowed.

    There are specific rules that determine which parent can claim the child. In the case of divorced or separated parents the custodial parent is considered to be the one entitled to claim the child if the child meets all the IRS test for both parents. The custodial parent is the one with whom the child lived the greater number of days. If the child lived exactly the same amount of time with each parent then there is a tie-breaker rule that says the parent with the higher Adjusted Gross Income gets the exemption and other tax benefits associated with the child.

    If you're entitled, claim the child. If both of you claim her, the IRS will contact both of you and sort it out. Only one will be allowed. The first one to file will be able to file electronically and the other will have to file on paper if both think they are entitled.

    However, as was pointed out, if you wife had no taxable income then she will not be filing a tax return anyway so all this is just informational, but moot.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    Florida
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    Default Re: Claiming a Dependant After Divorce

    Quote Quoting llworking
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    You have very little earned income. You can claim your child, but you won't see much of a refund with only two months of income. SSI is not income for tax purposes.
    People with a small amout of earned income can receive a refund of several thousand dollars via the Earned Income Tax Credit. With two qualifying children it can be as much as $4700 on earned income of $12,000 for 2007. This is a refundable credit that is treated as money withheld from pay even though it wasn't.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    16,268

    Default Re: Claiming a Dependant After Divorce

    Quote Quoting Bubba Jimmy
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    People with a small amout of earned income can receive a refund of several thousand dollars via the Earned Income Tax Credit. With two qualifying children it can be as much as $4700 on earned income of $12,000 for 2007. This is a refundable credit that is treated as money withheld from pay even though it wasn't.
    There isn't much chance that 2 months of income are going to bring up up to the maximum EIC level.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Florida
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    2,344

    Default Re: Claiming a Dependant After Divorce

    There's no way of knowing given that the compensation level wasn't mentioned, but even at $400 a week, that would be $3200 in earned income. The EIC on that with one child is still over $1000 ($1097 in 2006 to be exact). While that may be a trivial amount to some people, to someone with limited income on disability I'd guess an extra $1000 would come in handy. I certainly wouldn't tell someone "you won't see much of a refund".

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    16,268

    Default Re: Claiming a Dependant After Divorce

    Quote Quoting Bubba Jimmy
    View Post
    There's no way of knowing given that the compensation level wasn't mentioned, but even at $400 a week, that would be $3200 in earned income. The EIC on that with one child is still over $1000 ($1097 in 2006 to be exact). While that may be a trivial amount to some people, to someone with limited income on disability I'd guess an extra $1000 would come in handy. I certainly wouldn't tell someone "you won't see much of a refund".
    You are correct, I worded that poorly. People often don't understand how EIC works, and I didn't want to give him the impression that he was going to get maximum EIC with only two months of income.

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