Have a Tax Question? Ask a Tax Expert
Thanks for asking your question! I'm sorry to hear about your tax issue and I'm going to try my best to help you understand or resolve it.
Are you asking about the Earned Income Credit, which is a federal benefit?
Could you please expand on your question?
I have been with my girlfriend for the past 8 years. She had a child I thought to be mine. I have been there for his birth and have been with him all of his life. Now I have discovered he is not my biological son. He and my girlfriend are still living with me. Can I claim him for the EIC since I have been there and raised him and been living eith the childs mother as husband and wife for the last 8 years?
I'm sorry to hear about your situation! I'll help you navigate the tax impact of this
So, you're asking if your girlfriend's son can be your dependent on your tax return, to qualify for the EIC on your earnings
Not her earnings, correct? Because you can't file a joint return. You aren't legally married
Yes, I have been advised he needs to be my biological child or I have to be his stepfather. Can I qualify to be his stepfather if I have been living with the mother for 8 years and am listed as his stepfather on the childs school records?
I provided all the support for the household, my girlfriend does not have any earnings.
Yes, but for tax purposes this child would not be your qualifying child
Unless you adopt him
You can claim the child as a dependent on your return; however, he would not qualify you for the EIC
I have just copied the requirements to claim the EIC above
Does that apply even if I would be considered a domestic partner under Oregon laws?
You say your girlfriend had no income, so you could claim both her and her son as dependents
Yes, because the IRS does not recognize domestic partnerships the same way they do marriage
What about common law marriage?
Alabama, Colorado, Kansas, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Iowa, Montana, Utah and Texas recognize common law marriage, but Oregon does not.
Therefore you could not claim this as a common law marriage for federal income tax purposes
And it's too late to make the change for 2012. You would have had to have had the status as of December 31
I'm truly sorry about this.
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