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Lou, Tax Preparer
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 404
Experience:  25+ yrs Experience Personal Income Taxes - Former DM for H&R Block in California
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Can two people claim head of household?

Resolved Question:

What happens if 2 people claim head of household and of the same house and claimed the same child on there separate tax returns?

My son and I claim his child, I was the one that has been claiming my grandson, but his ex wife did his taxes and claim my son as head of household to my house and had him also claim his son, since he owes back child support, she gets the money. My grandson stays with us part time. Who will get in trouble over this?

Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Lou replied 8 years ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer.

Usually what happens is that when the second tax return gets processed the IRS will catch the duplication and deny any refund to that return.

They also will send correspondence to the first filer to verify the claim for head of household and the right to claim the dependent.

The second filer can appeal the decision and ultimately the IRS will decide based upon the facts presented which of the two filers, if any can claim HOH and the dependent.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
What if the IRS does not catch the duplication? I just got my return and I think my son's is held up in child support system. I only got back $800, he gets back over $5000. for claiming head of household of my house. Will he have to pay that back, or will his ex wife have to pay that back?
Expert:  Lou replied 8 years ago.

Can you clarify a few things for me?

You speak of your son -- is he the one who also filed as HOH and got back $5,000?

How does his ex-wife fit into the picture?

Who are the two people who filed with the same dependent as HOH?

When you say that your son's is held up in child support system are you speaking of your son's tax refund?


Customer: replied 8 years ago.
This is confusing, I know, My 30 year old son lived with us, the grandkids stay with us 3-5 months of the year, he pays child support thru the system which he is $20,000 behind on, but he pays $200 a week, His ex said we could claim the youngest since the kids stay with us off and on, not my idea, but I did go along with it, for the last 2 years. This year she does his (my Son) taxes and put him hoh and the youngest as a dependant because she gets the money, but she did not tell me not to claim the youngest this year, but I am most concern about his claiming hoh on my house. What should we do next?
Expert:  Lou replied 8 years ago.

You're right this is confusing. Are your son and his ex divorced? Which of them is the custodial parent? Does the divorce decree say who may claim the children?

Where do the children live when they are not with you?

Here is a link to IRS Publication 17. IF you go to page 22 under the heading

Head of Household

You will find the rules for filing as head of household. Based upon what you have said it does not appear that your son can file using the Head of Household status unless he can claim you, his parent. Go to page 24 under the heading Qualifying Person.

You might also review Table 2-1 on page 23 to get an idea of how Head of Household is determined.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
They are divorced, she is the custodial parent, they live with her most of the time, and I do not think the divorce decree said anything about who claim who, all this claiming stuff started with her trying to get the most money back, I am sure I made a mistake claiming my grandson this year, and last year I did my son's taxes and he did not claim head of household, because I know he can't. So what do we do now, she said she filed a ammendment. That was for him. what should I do?
Expert:  Lou replied 8 years ago.

If I were in your shoes, I would contact a tax professional in your area, preferably and Enrolled Agent to seek their assistance in getting this straightened out. Your son may have a problem with the IRS for filing improperly. The taxpayer is ultimately responsible for the tax return filed.

Here is a link to help you find an EA in your area:

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