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Anne, Master Tax Preparer
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 2429
Experience:  Enrolled Agent with 25 Years Experience specializing Individual and Small Businesses
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If you are divorced and one parent claims the child as a dependant

Customer Question

If you are divorced and one parent claims the child as a dependant then can the other claim the dependant care expenses, and earned income credit? Is it all or nothing?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Anne replied 7 years ago.
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Thank you for using justanswer. Assuming that the child meets all the qualifications to be claimed as Qualifying Child, then the custodial parent and ONLY the custodial parent has the right to claim the dependent care credit (regardless of who actually pays it) and also is the ONLY parent that may claim the Earned Income credit for the child. Please see below re: the dependent care credit:

Qualifying Person(s)

Please see below for Earned Income Credit:

Rules If You Have a Qualifying Child

Normally the custodial parent is also the parent entitled to claim the child as a dependent on their tax return, however the custodial parent may allow the non custodial parent to claim the child by signing Form 8332 (Rev. 2-2009Release/Revocation of Release of Claim to Exemption for Child by Custodial Parent. If the custodial parent releases the right to claim the child as a dependent to the non custodial parent, then the non custodial parent also claims the child tax credit. See below:

Child Tax Credit

In synopsis, only the custodial parent may claim the dependent care credit and the earned income credit. The child tax credit follows the dependency, meaning either the custodial parent or the non custodial parent can claim the child tax credit, as long as the non custodial parent files the Form 8832 with their tax return, allowing them the right to claim the child as a dependent.

I hope this helps.