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Tax.appeal.168, Tax Accountant
Category: Tax
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Experience:  3+ decades of varied tax industry exp. Tax Biz owner
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My husband and I are filing separately on our tax return.

Customer Question

My husband and I are filing separately on our tax return. Who should claim our kids or does it matter?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Robin D. replied 1 year ago.


The IRS has tiebreaker rules that decide who can claim the dependent. Typically, if you live together and file separately, the person with the higher adjusted gross income claims the dependents.

If you do not live together with your husband then the parent that the children lived with more then half the year is the custodial parent and would claim them.

My answer addressed your question, please rate below or above (let me know if you have difficulty as I believe the system changed), if you need more information reply below.

Rating lets Just Answer know you were assisted and credits me for my time.

Expert:  Robin D. replied 1 year ago.

Please advise if you need more information. I will be happy to respond.

Expert:  Tax.appeal.168 replied 1 year ago.

In brief, it doesn't matter, unless one of you is wanting to claiming the kids. While I agree with the above, if there is more than one dependent, and there are no issues between the two of you, you each can claim a dependent. Typically the tie breaker rules comes into effect when one of the parents wants to claim the dependents and does not want the other to claim a dependent. If you and your husband are in agreement, claiming 1 child each, etc. is fine. Though the tie breaker rules are valid, it is not etched in stone that the parent with the highest AGI MUST claim

the dependents. Keep in mind that the two of you cannot claim the same dependent. To be on the safe side, if the two of you do wish to claim a different dependent, the parent with the highest AGI can complete a Form 8332 releasing the claim of exemption. Typically, the Form 8332 is used by a custodial parent who is divorced or lives separate from the other spouse.

Link to Form 8332:

Let me know if I can be of further assistance to you regarding this matter.