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Help! My Child Was Mentioned On A Person’s Tax Return

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Filling out your tax return can be stressful, but can you imagine having your return denied because someone else claimed your loved ones? Unfortunately, this scenario is all too common. It usually happens when divorced or separated parents share custody of children.

However, in the absence of the ex-spouse’s declaration, the creditor may have been the victim of identity theft. Because of federal privacy laws, the IRS cannot tell you who has rights to your children. So what should you do? If you recently tried to file an electronic tax return and received a message that a dependent on your tax return has already been claimed on another return, follow these steps to protect your right to claim on your tax filing.

Make sure you have the right to claim your dependents on your tax return.

First, make sure you have correctly entered your dependent’s Social Security number (SSN). A simple typo can cause serious headaches. If the number is correct, you should then check to see if you can claim it on your tax return.

If the parents are divorced, the tax authorities give priority to the custodial parent, unless there is a court order prior to 2009. And if you have joint custody and the children live 50% with both of you, the parent with the higher adjusted gross income (AGI) is entitled to claim support. As a general rule, the non-custodial parent may only enroll dependents if he or she can submit written authorization from the custodial parent on Form 8332, Custodial Parent’s Validation/Revocation of Waiver. This also applies to individuals whose court order was issued before 2009.

Three Steps to Applying for Dependency

Once you have verified that you meet the requirements to claim your child as a dependent on your tax return, follow these steps to file your tax return with the IRS.

1. File a paper tax return

Download and send to the IRS the tax return that was rejected during electronic filing. It must contain the required forms and schedules (see item 2) for dependency returns. Note that paper applications take several weeks to process and your refund will be delayed until the IRS investigation is complete.

2. Complete Form 886-H-DEP

You must also provide proof that you are entitled to support. This may include school and medical records, divorce certificates, birth certificates, utility bills, and other financial documents. You must prove that the child has lived with you at the same address for more than half the year and that you are providing more than half of the child support. Download the 886-H-DEP form and follow the instructions for your situation. This form and documents must be sent in with the paper tax return.

3. Respond to all IRS requests

After you file your paper return, you may receive various communications from the IRS

  • CP75A – This notice is sent when the IRS reviews your tax return and requests additional information to verify the Earned Income Credit (EIC) you claimed, dependents, and enrollment status. Follow the instructions on the notice and respond in a timely manner.
  • CP87A – This notice is sent because another taxpayer has listed your dependents or children as deductible on their tax filing. The notice contains the last four digits of the affected dependent’s SSN. Do not respond to the notice if you can claim your child/parent on your tax return. If you cannot claim in error, you must file an amended tax return. Another taxpayer who claims your child will also receive this notice.

If neither you nor the other taxpayer sends in an amended return, the tax authorities will audit both returns to determine who is considered a dependent. After you receive the verification letter, make sure you have responded completely and provided all information in a timely manner. The review may take several months, so be patient.

Once the IRS resolves the issue, it will seek additional taxes, penalties, and interest from those who have claimed dependents incorrectly.

Ask for help

Dealing with an IRS audit can be very complicated. If you need help, contact the tax consultant services at Tax King Service. We will assist you throughout the audit process and appeal if necessary. Our tax specialists also review to make sure you are taking advantage of all the deductions and credits you are entitled to.

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