Your Life

Your Life

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.

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Valued Pioneer
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎04-15-2018
Accepted Solution

Ex Wife and I both claimed our daughter as a dependent. Now What?

Our divorce was finalized in 2005. Our divorce decree states that both of us shall take turns claiming our daughter. My ex wife is the custodial parent, and I am the non-custodial parent. My ex wife claimed my daughter last year, so naturally, I claimed my daughter this tax season because it is my turn. I have already received my tax refund, and just learned last week that my ex wife also claimed my daughter this tax season too. My ex wife refuses to amend her tax return, she thinks I should be the one amending my tax return. I also do not want to amend my tax return because I do not believe it is fair for me to have to do that, since it is my year. She is saying that the IRS will likely audit me because they will favor her situation over mine. What should I do?

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Council Member
Posts: 516
Registered: ‎04-06-2016

Re: Ex Wife and I both claimed our daughter as a dependent. Now What?

This is a tricky situation.  Because your divorce decree was between 1984 and 2009, you may be OK, but it depends.  Usually the IRS gives the custodial parent the right to claim the child. This publication has more information:  https://www.irs.gov/publications/p17#en_US_2017_publink1000170897 , scroll down to "Children of divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart)" and "Post-1984 and pre-2009 divorce decree or separation agreement."  

 

Since you've received your refund, you must have filed and claimed your daughter first.  Your ex-wife's return would have been rejected so she'll be waiting for this to be resolved before the IRS will send her any refund she's expecting.

 

If after reviewing those documents you think you satisfy the requirements and can make your case with the IRS, just wait until the IRS comes to you and then you can provide them with your evidence.  If after looking at the IRS's guidelines, you think you're going to lose the battle with your ex, you may want to go ahead and amend your return so you can avoid any interest/penalties for late payment. 


There are quite a few websites out there that deal with this issue-- you're definitely not alone. You might benefit from doing a web search for "ex spouse claimed child on taxes".


Karen

Associate (Council Member)
Posts: 508
Registered: ‎01-31-2014

Re: Ex Wife and I both claimed our daughter as a dependent. Now What?

PaulCT66,

 

Since you have already received your refund, I would suggest, as Karen did, just wait to see if the IRS contacts you about this 

issue.  If they do, then respond with you divorce decree and point out it is your year to claim the exemption.

 

Be aware that in two years your ex will not have forgotten this and may try to file earlier than you and take your next chance at claiming your daughter for tax purposes.

 

 

Valued Pioneer
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎04-15-2018

Re: Ex Wife and I both claimed our daughter as a dependent. Now What?

Thank you both for your insight. Fortunately, my daughter will be turning 18 this year and graduating high school, so this is the last year I have to deal with my ex wife trying to pull this stunt on me, as my divorce decree states I can only claim my daughter as a dependent until the age of 18. I think I will wait it out as both of you recommended. Once again, thank you. 

 

Paul