Major life milestones often have a major tax impact. Changes in your marital status, having a baby or adopting a child can have significant impact on your taxes. This is the place to ask questions about dependents, real estate, and other various scenarios that play a significant role in what taxes you pay.
12-08-2017 08:22 AM
I'm confused to some on the guidelines as to what I can file. So my fiance &I are currently waiting for his divorce to be final so we can file for our marriage license. Which he is also the father of my child, but he also has a younger son that fully lives with us. I've been his main caregiver since July 2016, even his school registration is my home address. Can I claim my soon to be step son as a dependent on my 2017 taxes?
12-08-2017 04:30 PM
Welcome to the H&R Block community.
Yes and No.
You can claim your fiancé's son on your own tax return under the qualifying relative rules for a qualifying relative who is not related to you if:
Because you are not legally married and your fiancé's son is not related to you, you cannot claim him as a qualifying child. Only your fiancé can claim him as a qualifying child. Once you are married this will change and you'll be able to claim your step son on a joint return.
Claiming your step son will get you his exemption, but nothing more. You can claim your own child as a qualifying child though which will get you the earned income credit, the child tax credit, and the dependent care credit.
If your fiancé is able to claim his son it would be to his advantage to do so. Your fiancé can claim the earned income credit for his son as well as the other child-related benefits.
If you have a qualifying child and pay at least 50% of the upkeep costs of your household then you can file as head of household. Upkeep costs include rent or mortgage, repairs, utilities, food, and insurance. If you and your fiancé each contribute at least 50% you could potentially both file as head of household, each claiming one child. This is rare though, so you'll want to be able to prove how much each of you contributes so that you have something to show if a question is asked.
If you have any other questions I'll be glad to help.
Senior Tax Advisor (Tampa, FL)
12-08-2017 04:36 PM
I need to amend my reply as I just realized that you said you're waiting on your fiancé's divorce to be finalized. All of the information I just gave you is correct, however I left out one rule.
In order to file as head of household your fiancé must have lived apart from his former spouse for at least the last six months of 2017. This is because he is not legally divorced. If he meets this requirement and all of the other requirements that I discussed previously then he can file as HOH instead of using the married & filing separately status.
If he files with the MFS status your fiancé can claim his son and the child tax credit but will not get the EIC or the dependent care credit. It sounds like he likely meets the requirements for HOH from the information provided though.