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Megan C
Megan C, Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 16576
Experience:  Licensed CPA, CFE, CMA, CGMA who teaches accounting courses at Master's Level
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Customer Question

HI , I Have three children.. im claiming head of houshold.still married under law but been seperated 2yrs waitng for judge to sign. my two oldest qualified for Financial aid. and are attending college because of my income. my ex husband does not want to claim older ones because of school aid...and because he makes a lot more than me.. I already E filed. and claimed 14 yr old and 19yro ld. is he right in not wanting the older one his taxes because of Financial aid?

Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Megan C replied 4 years ago.
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.

Thank you for your question, and thanks for using Your ex is probably correct, that him claiming the older children on the tax return could (but not always) impact their financial aid. The parent that provides the most support should be the parent that fills out the FAFSA, and that's typically the parent that claims the child on their tax return. According to

Financial aid applications can be somewhat confusing because there are several different criteria applied for different kinds of parenthood:

  1. The parent with whom the child lived the most during the past 12 months (the 12 months ending on the FAFSA application date).
  2. The parent who provided more financial support to the child during the past 12 months.
  3. The parent who provided the most financial support to the child during the most recent calendar year for which either parent provided more support to the child.
  4. The parent who provided more than half the child's support (and will continue to do so).
  5. The parent who has legal custody.
  6. The parent who claimed the child as a dependent on their tax return.
  7. The parent with the greater income.
As noted above, criteria 1, 2 and 3 are used for determining the custodial parent, with the first criteria being primary. In a situation where the parents split all costs equally (without even a penny difference), criterion number 7 is often used.

So, the correct way to fill out financial aid is to use the information from the parent who provided the most support to the child.

The detailed discussion of divorce and financial aid can be found, here:

Please let me know if anything else is unclear, or if you have follow up questions. Thanks again for using and have a happy, and safe, 2013.

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You should be aware that your question, as with most tax questions, can never really be answered completely...addressing all the permutations; that is because of the many assumptions that have to be made I have done my best to determine what I think you are asking and answering it in the most direct and understandable manner possible. If, however, after reviewing the questions, you have any uncertainties or further questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

Expert:  Megan C replied 4 years ago.
Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to help you. Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance to you in this matter. Also if you ever need anything else in the future please Simply enter "MyVirtualCPA" in the subject of your question Thanks again for being a JustAnswer customer

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