Children can play a major role as dependents when filing taxes. Claiming children on income taxes is normally cut and dry, but sometimes, another person will claim those same dependents. This problem most commonly surfaces after a divorce when both parties want to claim the children for tax purposes. In Wyoming and other states, taxes can be complex, and it may be in one’s best interest to contact a qualified tax professional.

Claiming dependents can have a large impact on the bottom line. With dependents come the Head of Household status and numerous tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit. Qualifications for these coveted tax credits are affected by the dependents one can claim.

When there is no divorce, separation or custody agreement outlining the dependent tax exemption, the IRS has a series of rules to determine whose claim will be accepted. The parent with whom the child lived the longest during the previous year may claim them. Generally, this is the custodial parent in a divorce situation. For those who are unmarried, if the children and parents lived in the same household all year, the parents can decide which one will claim them.

Divorce can bring many changes to one’s life, and dealing with the IRS and filing tax returns is no exception. The IRS will accept the return that is filed first, and the one who claims the dependents will receive the exemption. In Wyoming, those who have questions or concerns about a non-custodial parent falsely claiming dependents may benefit from consulting with an attorney to discuss their options and the best path to take.

Source: ksdk.com, “Who claims the children on taxes after divorce?“, March 16, 2018