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kerry_oberlander
New Member

My wife and i claimed our daughter (my stepdaughter) on our taxes last year. Her dad also did a tax return for her. Do we have to do an amendment now?

 
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Opus 17
Level 15

My wife and i claimed our daughter (my stepdaughter) on our taxes last year. Her dad also did a tax return for her. Do we have to do an amendment now?

Some points.

A step-parent has the same legal right to claim a dependent as a biological dependent, and this right does not end if you divorce the biological parent.

The parent(s) who are automatically entitled to claim the child as a dependent are the parent(s) with whom the child lived more than half the nights of the year (183 or more nights).  

In some cases, a child might live with both parents more than half the nights of the year (for example, if the parents separated in July).  In that case, both parents have the right to claim the child as a dependent, and if they don't agree, the first tiebreaker is where did the child live the greater number of nights.

Here, if the biological father claimed the child as a dependent and you and your wife did also, the IRS will send notices of the duplicate claim.  The first letter usually informs you of the problem and asks you to check your facts and gives you the opportunity to change your claim.  If you don't (and assuming the father does not amend to remove his claim) then the next letter will ask for proof of where the child lived during the year.  You will need to submit documents and other proofs showing that the child lived in your home more than half the year.  The IRS likes documents from "authorities" best, like letters to your address from your child's school or doctor that show the school and doctor expected the child to be living with you.  If there was a school bus schedule (pick up every day at your house except Wednesdays and alternate Mondays, for example) that will be very helpful.  You could also think about including emails and text messages documenting the custody schedule and custody exchanges.  Your goal, if it gets that far, is to show that the child lived in your home with you and your wife for more than half the nights of the year.

*Answers are correct to the best of my ability at the time of posting but do not constitute legal or tax advice.*

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9 Replies
DoninGA
Level 15

My wife and i claimed our daughter (my stepdaughter) on our taxes last year. Her dad also did a tax return for her. Do we have to do an amendment now?

Which parent had the child in their home over 184 days during the year?
kerry_oberlander
New Member

My wife and i claimed our daughter (my stepdaughter) on our taxes last year. Her dad also did a tax return for her. Do we have to do an amendment now?

We did.
kerry_oberlander
New Member

My wife and i claimed our daughter (my stepdaughter) on our taxes last year. Her dad also did a tax return for her. Do we have to do an amendment now?

We received a letter from the IRS stating that someone  claimed with my stepdaughters ss#. And we are supposed to verify the ss#. Is there a certain amount that she could have claimed that would stay allow us to claim her on our taxes?
DoninGA
Level 15

My wife and i claimed our daughter (my stepdaughter) on our taxes last year. Her dad also did a tax return for her. Do we have to do an amendment now?

If the child spent over 6 months in your home then you are the custodial parent as far as the IRS is concerned.

Since another tax return was filed with the child's Social Security number also claiming their personal exemption, then the IRS is now investigating who reported the personal exemption correctly and who did not.  The loser of the investigation is required to pay back any tax refund plus penalties and interest.
Respond to what the IRS is asking for in the notice you received.  If you have any questions call the number on the notice and speak with an IRS agent.
kerry_oberlander
New Member

My wife and i claimed our daughter (my stepdaughter) on our taxes last year. Her dad also did a tax return for her. Do we have to do an amendment now?

Thank you for your time. That helps.
TomD8
Level 15

My wife and i claimed our daughter (my stepdaughter) on our taxes last year. Her dad also did a tax return for her. Do we have to do an amendment now?

Did your stepdaughter file her own return?  If so, she probably forgot to check the box that someone else could claim her as a dependent.
**Answers are correct to the best of my ability but do not constitute tax or legal advice.
Opus 17
Level 15

My wife and i claimed our daughter (my stepdaughter) on our taxes last year. Her dad also did a tax return for her. Do we have to do an amendment now?

Some points.

A step-parent has the same legal right to claim a dependent as a biological dependent, and this right does not end if you divorce the biological parent.

The parent(s) who are automatically entitled to claim the child as a dependent are the parent(s) with whom the child lived more than half the nights of the year (183 or more nights).  

In some cases, a child might live with both parents more than half the nights of the year (for example, if the parents separated in July).  In that case, both parents have the right to claim the child as a dependent, and if they don't agree, the first tiebreaker is where did the child live the greater number of nights.

Here, if the biological father claimed the child as a dependent and you and your wife did also, the IRS will send notices of the duplicate claim.  The first letter usually informs you of the problem and asks you to check your facts and gives you the opportunity to change your claim.  If you don't (and assuming the father does not amend to remove his claim) then the next letter will ask for proof of where the child lived during the year.  You will need to submit documents and other proofs showing that the child lived in your home more than half the year.  The IRS likes documents from "authorities" best, like letters to your address from your child's school or doctor that show the school and doctor expected the child to be living with you.  If there was a school bus schedule (pick up every day at your house except Wednesdays and alternate Mondays, for example) that will be very helpful.  You could also think about including emails and text messages documenting the custody schedule and custody exchanges.  Your goal, if it gets that far, is to show that the child lived in your home with you and your wife for more than half the nights of the year.

*Answers are correct to the best of my ability at the time of posting but do not constitute legal or tax advice.*
kerry_oberlander
New Member

My wife and i claimed our daughter (my stepdaughter) on our taxes last year. Her dad also did a tax return for her. Do we have to do an amendment now?

Thank you for the information. The father did not claim her on his return, but they did a return for her employment.
Opus 17
Level 15

My wife and i claimed our daughter (my stepdaughter) on our taxes last year. Her dad also did a tax return for her. Do we have to do an amendment now?

Ok then that's a different problem.  A child always reports their own income from working on their own tax return.  However, if the child can be claimed as a dependent, they must check a box that says "I can be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer" and they don't claim their own personal exemption.  It sounds like your child did not do this.  

If she can be claimed as a dependent, she will need to file an amended return.  If she doesn't, the same investigation will happen and she will probably end up paying back part of her refund with interest.  

She can be claimed by you as a dependent if:
1. she lived with you more than half the year,
2. she is under age 19, or a full time student under age 24,
3. she provided less than half her own financial support.
*Answers are correct to the best of my ability at the time of posting but do not constitute legal or tax advice.*

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