Claiming a dependent on your taxes can shave off a good amount of your tax liability.
Sometimes, the real issue lies in the rule that only one exemption can be claimed per dependent. This is an IRS rule, and one situation where absolutely no exceptions apply. So if there are two parents who are not filing jointly, and one child, you can see how this has all the makings of an impromptu game of tug-o-war.
So who wins? This question is asked to countless accountants, lawyers and tax professionals each day. The answer is simple. Accepting the answer is the tough part.
The custodial parent can claim the child as a dependent. The non-custodial parent cannot.
Who determines which parent can claim the child dependent exemption?
Contrary to popular belief, a court order will not determine which parent can claim a dependent child. You can wait on hold with the IRS as long as you want. The answer will always come down to federal law; not a state or county court order.
Custodial Parent VS. Non-Custodial Parent
Assuming your child probably refers to you as mom or dad, ‘custodial parent’ is typically not a term thrown around in most households. Generally speaking, the parent with whom the child lives for the majority of nights during the tax year is the custodial parent. The non-custodial parent is the other parent. If the child lived with each parent for the same amount of nights per year, then the custodial parent is the one with the higher Adjusted Gross Income. Continue reading “Who Determines Which Parent Claims a Dependent Child?”