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Anne, Master Tax Preparer
Category: Tax
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Experience:  Enrolled Agent with 25 Years Experience specializing Individual and Small Businesses
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Name: Denis Topic: Taxes Question: My mother claimed my 5

Customer Question

Name: Denis
Topic: Taxes
My mother claimed my 5 year old son last year as a dependent. She just received a letter from irs with three forms 886-h-dep, 886-h-eic, 886-h-hoh. January of 2014 she bought a house here in Drayton, ND and moved up here from Miami Beach, FL. My wife was pregnant and was not feeling well so my mother offered to take care of my son until she had the baby. My daughter was born August 19, 2014. My mother bought the house next to my house so we live very closed, we are neighbors. All the correspondence, medical bills, and school stuff from my son is in my address. There is nothing with his name and her address. How can she prove that my son lived with her for that period of time? What can she send back to irs as proof of he living with her for at least six months?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Tax
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
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Expert:  Anne replied 1 year ago.


I'm Anne I've been preparing taxes for 27 years and I'll be happy to help you with your question.

IRS changed the laws around who is allowed to claim a child a while back. According to the law as it stands now, parents have the superior right to claim their children. Please see page 17, left hand column, under the heading "Tie Breaker Rules" found below:

In order for your Mom to take your son as a dependent, she must have earned MORE than you & your wife combined.

With you living next door to each other, it makes it more difficult, since all of the records (school, doctor, etc) would be in your name and address. If you are receiving any state aid for this child, (Medicaid, food stamps, health care, child care, etc) you will put yourself at risk for losing that aid if your mother can claim the child.

On page 3 of the Form 8836, referenced below, there is a list of documents that can be used to establish where your child was living. See below:

Again, you two living next door to each other, it's possible that nobody else on the list knew that your son was now living with his grandmother, making her claim ineligible for IRS purposes. If your mother can not prove residency of your son in her house, then she will lose the dependency exemption, and all of the credits that she was allowed to claim, including the $1000 tax credit, and the Earned Income Credit

Please review the list of 3rd party affidavits, to see if anyone listed can prove residency of your son.

I will include the offer for a phone call at the end of this answer.

Please note, if I could give give you a different, legal, easier answer, it would have been my pleasure to do

so. At the very least you have an uphill battle here.

If you have any questions, please post them here, or if you want to accept the phone call, we can discuss them over the phone.

It is our job to tell you the legally correct answer, even if that answer is NOT the one you were hoping for. However, knowing the tax law as it relates to your situation can help you find a solution, or at the very least keep you from further trouble with the IRS.

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Expert:  Anne replied 1 year ago.

Hi Denis

I see that you read my answer but didn't rate it. Did you have additional questions?

I can tell you that the Earned Income Credit is hot topic with the IRS, and one of the major audit triggers, especially for people whose qualifying child is someone OTHER than their own child, such as aunts, uncles, and grandparents.

Whether fair or not, the IRS assumes that all children live with their parents, which is why they gave the "superior right"for claiming a child to the parent.

Also, if your son came home to sleep at night at your house, the IRS COULD claim that your mother was just babysitting your son.

I'd really like to tell you that you could write a letter to the IRS and tell them your son lived with your Mom until August, but I know it isn't that easy.

I am more than willing to discuss this further with you either here or via a phone call.

Again, it is only through positive ratings that we are paid for our time and knowledge.