How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Lane Your Own Question
Lane
Lane, JD, CFP, MBA, CRPS
Category: Finance
Satisfied Customers: 11143
Experience:  Law Degree, specialization in Tax Law and Corporate Law, CFP and MBA, Providing Financial & Tax advice since 1986
1929974
Type Your Finance Question Here...
Lane is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I've got a tax question: I have to complete filing 2015

This answer was rated:

Hello, I've got a tax question:
I have to complete filing 2015 taxes in several days and need an advise:
I am going through a divorce which started in December of 2014 until now, it is not final yet.
Throughout 2015, January - mid of August I lived with two of my children (2 and 4 years of age) and wife in same house.
Wife worked full time.
She already filed her taxes where she claimed both children as dependents.Questions:
What should be my Filing Status? - This one becomes confusing now. I would like to be as Head of Household. Can I?
Can I claim children as dependents?

Hi. My name's Lane. I can help.

...

So sorry, but becasue you are living together, and not unmarried at the end of the year, the only status EIther of you can use is Married Filing Jointly, or Married Fiing separately.

...

To file as Head of Household one must (1) be unmarriedm or "considered as unmarried," (2) have a qualifying person (dependent) and (3) pay more than half the cost of "keeping up a home," during the tax year.

...

  • Considered as unmarried requires that you live apart for the last six months of the tax year, and
  • Keeping up a household means exactly that... all of the costs, food clothing shelter, etc

...

And whether you can claim as dependents, honestly in total, the household would do better by filing jointly and claiming the children on the joint return you could then agree on how to allocate the lower tax, or larger refund, between the two of you.

...

But if you are going to file as married filing separtely, here's the test for qualifying child.

...

A child must meet all 6 of these requirements in order to be considered your Qualifying Child.

  1. Relationship: The person must be your daughter, son, stepdaughter, stepson, foster child, sister, brother, half-sister, half-brother, stepsister, stepbrother, or a descendant of any of these, such as a niece or nephew.
  2. Age: They must be one of the following:
    1. Under the age of 19 on the last day of the year and younger than you (and your spouse if filing jointly)
    2. A full-time student under the age of 24 on the last day of the year and younger than you (and your spouse if filing jointly)
    3. Permanently disabled at any time during the year, regardless of their age
  3. Support: They must have not provided more than half of his or her own support for the year (regardless of who did provide the support). Support includes food, actual or fair rental value of housing, clothing, transportation, medical expenses, and recreation.
  4. Residency: They must have lived with you for more than half of the year, except for temporary absences.
  5. Joint Return: They must not file a joint tax return for the year (if he or she is married).
  6. Qualifying Child of More Than One Person: If they could be a qualifying child for more than one person, you must be the person who is entitled to claim the child.

Finally, there are tiebreaker rules established by IRS (only one person can claim a child as a dependent)

...

Under the Tiebreaker Rule, the Child is Treated as a Qualifying Child Only By:

  • The parents, if they file a joint return;.
  • The parent, if only one of the persons is the child's parent;
  • The parent with whom the child lived the longest during the tax year, if two of the persons are the child's parent and they do not file a joint return together;
  • The parent with the highest adjusted gross income (AGI) if the child lived with each parent for the same amount of time during the tax years, and they do not file a joint return together;
  • The person with the highest AGI, if no parent can claim the child as a qualifying child; or
  • A person with the higher AGI than any parent who can claim the child as a qualifying child but does not.

Please let me know if you have any questions at all, before rating me.

...

I hope you’ll rate me (using those stars, or faces on your screen, by clicking submit) based on thoroughness and accuracy, rather than any good news / bad news content. Otherwise I’ll receive no compensation for the work here at all, from JustAnswer.

Thank you!

Lane

I have a law degree, (Juris Doctorate), with concentration in Tax Law, Estate law & Corporate law, an MBA, with specialization in financial accounting & tax, a BBA, and CFP & CRPS designations, as well - I’ve been providing financial, Social Security/Medicare, estate, corporate, non-profit, and tax advice, since 1986.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
What does this mean: have a qualifying person (dependent) ?
I have a mother who is seriously for whom I provide lot of financial care but she did live with me in same house. Will this qualify me to file as Head of Household?Yes, I have paid for all the costs, including our mortgage, taxes, food, children day care and many other.
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I am doing this via turbo tax.
If I say Married filing separately then I have to pay around 4K but if as Head of Household then I get same amount.I claim 3 people as dependents:
1 - Child: 2 year of age
2 - Child: 4 years of age
3 - My parent

That test that I showed you is what qualifies the qualifying child as a dependent. (for head of household qualifying person test, that means qualifying child or qualifying relative)

...

But ... you don't meet the not married test for head of household. That one;s out for you.

...

And if under the tiebreaker rules you CAN take the children (she'll get them and you'll have to contest if she's already filed) you'll have to do so as married filing [SEPARATELY]

Again, so sorry, but head of household is not allowed for someone married on Dec 31st of the tax year.

...

There CAN be something called "considered as unmarried," but that requires that you lived apart for the last 6 months f the tax year.

...

You can still take your parent, under "qualifying relative rules," AND MAY (take a look at those tie-breaker rules) be able to take the kids ... but Married filing separately is your only choice for filing status based on the information you've provided

Please let me know if you have ANY questions at all, before rating me.

I hope you’ll rate me (using those stars, or faces on your screen, by clicking submit) based on thoroughness and accuracy, rather than any good news / bad news content. Otherwise I’ll receive no compensation for the work here at all, from JustAnswer.

Thank you!

Lane

I have a law degree, (Juris Doctorate), with concentration in Tax Law, Estate law & Corporate law, an MBA, with specialization in financial accounting & tax, a BBA, and CFP & CRPS designations, as well - I’ve been providing financial, Social Security/Medicare, estate, corporate, non-profit, and tax advice, since 1986.

Lane and other Finance Specialists are ready to help you