Thank you for using justanswer. Normally, if your girlfriend worked and earned more than $3500, (her personal exemption for tax year 2008), she would be required to file a tax return and the children, since they are her qualifying biological children, would be her exemptions.
Since you said that your girlfriend did not earn any money, and she did not receive any child support (or I assume, any state aid for the children), then you may claim the children this year under the Qualifying Relative rules. Please see below for more in depth information:
Publication 501 (2007), Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information
I think that is defined by what you mean by some. For example, if she receives medicaid for the children for instance, and if 1 of the children gets very ill and is hopsitalized, you may have paid for the food, clothing, etc, but i doubt you could claim more than 50% support when you consider the medical bills paid by the state. The important factor in this situation will be whether you provided more than 50% of the child's total support. There are some pretty good examples in the publication I referred you to above.
I hope this helps.
I can appreciate that you want the correct answer. I want that for you too.
To figure if you provided more than half of a person's support, you must first determine the total support provided for that person. Total support includes amounts spent to provide food, lodging, clothing, education, medical and dental care, recreation, transportation, and similar necessities.
Generally, the amount of an item of support is the amount of the expense incurred in providing that item. For lodging, the amount of support is the fair rental value of the lodging.
Expenses that are not directly related to any one member of a household, such as the cost of food for the household, must be divided among the members of the household, so in your situation, you will need to take into account the $500/month your girlfriend receives for the chilren vs the true cost of the rent, utilities, total cost of food, personal and hygiene items for the children, along with any entertainment costs (including cable tv, toys, DVD's etc purchased solely for the children).
How many children does your girlfriend have, how much do you make, how much is your rent, your utilities, how much did you purchase for the children in the way of clothing, diapers, toys, etc etc etc....? more than $500/month overall? If its $500/month for 1 child, that's a little different than say $500/month for 5 children. This is a basic but tough concept. Is it beginning to make sense?
I promise I will not go away. I may be temporarily interrupted by things like work, life, etc, but I always come back to justanswer.
Please let me know if you have more questions.
My mortgage is around 800 a month utilities around 250 a month, toys, tv, dvds, are around 400 a month. I made around 50,000 last year, this year will be around 55,000. So basically what I am saying is I pretty much provide everything for these kids. She spends some of the money she gets from the state on the kids but some also go to her, as in hair done, nails done, etc.... From what I am reading I have no problem in claiming them. My accountant last march said there was no possible way I could. Would you reccomend me going to say H&R Block to file this year?
Since I work at Block, and have for over 20 years, I always recommend them. I honestly believe they have some of the best educated preparers in the business. Please keep in mind however, that your tax return is just that, YOUR tax return. If you disagree with your preparer, say so. Make them pull out the books and show you in black and white. If they are not real willing to do that, pick up your papers. There are no secrets to tax law. There are some grey areas that leave room for interpretation. There are inteneded to be. Tax law is written with a broad stroke on purpose. You don't always have to agree that its fair (its not) but you need a basic understanding between you and whoever prepares your taxes, re: tax law and how it pertains to you and your situation.
By the way, given the above scenario, for what its worth,I agree with you, you should be able to claim the children, but again, only because your girlfriend didn't work. If she worked last year and made more than $3400, my answer would be different.
Best of luck to you.