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Merlo
Merlo, Accountant
Category: Tax
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Experience:  25+ years tax consulting. Specializing in returns for US citizens living abroad
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I have two children. My separated wife claimed both children

Customer Question

I have two children. My separated wife claimed both children as dependents and is also claiming the EIC. Can i claim one of the children for head of household status using the

"if the qualifying person is a child but not your dependent, enter this child's name here"

She would only need one of the children to qualify for head of household.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Merlo replied 4 years ago.

Hello isaiah,

 

The parent with whom the children live for most of the year is the parent that is allowed to claim them as dependents and is also the only parent allowed to claim HOH status, unless you have a different qualifying child.

 

In other words, if the children lived with you for most of the year but you decided to let your ex wife claim both of the children, then you could still claim HOH status since they actually lived with you. But if they do live with you most of the year, then you can claim HOH status and also claim them as dependents.

 

If this was helpful please press the Accept button.

 

Thank you isaiah

 

 

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Could she say that they were both her dependents but one of the children lived with me for most of the year so I could claim head of household with one of the children and she could claim head of household with the otherchild?
Expert:  Merlo replied 4 years ago.

Hello isaiah,

 

Yes, I suppose you could do that. It's not likely to raise any questions with the IRS at this time, but like anything else, it could be an issue if you were ever to be audited. If that were to happen they may ask you for proof that one of the children actually lived with you, so you may want to just keep that in mind.

 

 

Thank you isaiah

 

 

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

So on the line in form 1040 where it says write in a qualifying person that is a child but not my dependent, simply write in the name and that should do it for the head of household status?

 

I don't believe this is breaking any rules as my wife is using one of the children for a qualified status for head of household and I'm having the other child as my child for head of household.

 

She's still claiming both children as her dependents and I'm not claiming either one, so there isn't any "double claiming" going on. Sound right?

Expert:  Merlo replied 4 years ago.

Hello again isaiah,

 

Yes, you would write in the name of the child on line 4.

 

It's not that you are double claiming any dependents here, but you are both claiming HOH status when really only one of you has been the primary custodian for both children. And being the primary custodian is what the IRS requires to use the HOH status. That is the only concern you would have if you were audited on this return.

 

 

Thank you isaiah

 

 

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hmm, and I imagine i would have to prove that I was the primary custodian. If my wife says that I was the primary custodian for the child that I am using for hoh status, will she get in trouble for declaring that child as a dependent?

 

W were separated and I had one child for 4 days a week and we "switched" kids so I would have the other child 3 days a week. I want her to have the kids as dependants but I imagine this should be ok?

Expert:  Merlo replied 4 years ago.

Hello again isaiah,

 

If you are going to say that you are the custodial parent, then it is your right to allow the other spouse to claim the child as a dependent if you choose to do so. You would not get in trouble and she would not get in trouble for that. As long as only one of the parents claims the child, the IRS does not care.

 

It is just the issue of possibly having to prove you with the primary custodian for at least one of the children.

 

 

Thank you

 

 

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Merlo
Merlo
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25+ years tax consulting. Specializing in returns for US citizens living abroad