After a divorce is finalized, tax returns can pose an unexpected challenge when dependants are part of the picture. To put it bluntly: who gets to reap the tax benefits of claiming the child on his/her tax return? The IRS is clear on one thing: only one parent can claim the child during any given tax year.
This leads to situations where parents work out agreements between themselves, either during the divorce proceedings or after everything has wrapped up. One potential agreement is where parents divide the children equally in the tax claims, or alternate from year to year. When alternating, it’s important for one parent to acknowledge this by releasing an exemption to the other parent. This is done via IRS Form 8332.
What about when the ex goes against any agreement and/or IRS guideline and tries to claim your child when they shouldn’t? There are a few options to consider.
Steps to Take if The Ex Unexpectedly Tries to Claim Your Child on their Taxes
When the IRS guidelines or a formal agreement make it clear that it’s your turn, you have a few legal options at your disposal. You can kick the case back to court in order to seek an order reinforcing your right over the claim. Furthermore, you can also seek to have sanctions placed on the other parent, or have him/her cover your legal fees.
When the arrangement isn’t so clear cut, you might have to rely on other factors such as the amount of time the child spends with each parent, the legal and physical custody shared by each parent, and other aspects of your relationship that align with the IRS guidelines for who gets to claim the dependent.
Regardless of the specifics, we advise that you seek out the counsel of a certified tax advisor, as well as a family law attorney. Tax returns, especially as they relate to post-divorce agreements, can involve complicated laws and mistakes in this area could be costly. Don’t skip on the professional help as you look to enforce your rights as a parent.
Consult with an Experienced Family Law Attorney
If you’re dealing with a combative ex who is unfairly trying to claim your child on his/her taxes, know that we at R & S Law Group, LLP are here to help. For that matter, we’re legal experts in everything relating to family law, from divorce to child custody and spousal support.
Call today to schedule a free initial consultation, where we can discuss your legal needs at length.