I'm going to be VERY explicative of this, so this will be long, but I want to make VERY clear what is going on. Please read all of it. I am very frustrated, and really need help with this as it has screwed up the ability for my former spouse to file her taxes.
I have two dependent children and I am divorced. I claim one of my children every year, and she claims the other. Every year when I do taxes, during the TurboTax questionnaire when it asks me about my dependents, I will typically enter BOTH in. BUT, I will list in the additional information that I am not claiming the second one dependent, that they lived with me for less than half of the year, and that the other parent is claiming them. As a result, in past years, that child has not appeared on my returns. This year, I did the exact same thing as previous years, and filed.
I received word from my ex-wife a week later (yesterday) that when she and her new spouse filed their taxes, that it stated that one of their dependents was claimed already. At first I thought it was probably something else, but after doing some research, this is what I was able to uncover:
First, I tried logging in to TurboTax see the questionnaire, but once you have filed electronically, you are no longer able to see what you answered to the questionnaire. So I decided to look at the PDF of my return that I saved. Sure enough, the dependent I am not supposed to be claiming shows up on my return. To make things more certain, I looked at previous years returns and that child does not show up on my older returns at all, and I have filed with TurboTax in the past. I thought this might have been my mistake, but as I looked through my taxes more carefully, I also noticed that:
Second, my federal and state returns both show that I am claiming only ONE dependent, even though it lists BOTH of my children. This is clear in box 2 of my State return as well as on form Schedule 8812 line 4, both saying I am only claiming one dependent. It didn't make sense to me that my return would show both children under my dependents, but in later parts say that I am only claiming one.
Third, I contacted support, and after working with an agent on the phone for about 1.5 to 2 hours, they ultimately told me there was no way for me to access the questionnaire to see how I answered regarding my dependent information to see if there was an error with my entry, and that I would need to wait until the amendment period is available to review my info. So in the end, nothing was accomplished.
Fourth, just as a test, a mock filled out my taxes AGAIN via another online tax service (without the intention to file of course) 3 different ways to see if I would get the same results. The first time I filled it out, I left the second dependent my ex-wife normally claims COMPLETELY out of the questionnaire. In the end, I got the exact same return amounts for both my TurboTax 2020 federal and state returns. The second time around, I added the second dependent, and marked them the exact same way I did in TurboTax and have done in previous years; not being claimed by me, living with the other parent for more than half the year, and that the other parent is going to claim them. The return amounts for federal and state returns were AGAIN identical to my TurboTax 2020 returns. Lastly, I filled it out as if I was claiming the second dependent instead of my ex-wife, and the result was that my federal return amount almost tripled from the amount it was before. Therefore, if I had truly claimed this second dependent, my return amount would have been much higher.
Conclusion, since the amount of my TurboTax 2020 returns are equivalent to the amounts without the other dependent being claimed when I did the second mock filing, I can only assume that I entered the information into TurboTax correctly, but that for some reason, TurboTax still transmitted the second dependent as being claimed by me.
What I need to know is why this dependent is showing up on my return THIS year, when it hasn't in PREVIOUS years when I have filled my taxes out exactly the same way? I am completely capable of accepting that I may have made an error while filling my taxes out, however from all the evidence, and the clear lack of information I was able to get from support when talking with them directly, I can only assume the error is in TurboTax's court.
This has caused me a lot of difficulty with my former spouse who is very upset they cannot file their taxes. And since it seems as if there is no other option, it is also sounding like I am forced to have to wait until I can amend my return to remove the child and fix my return, also forcing my ex-wife to wait as well, and in turn wasting a lot of my time. I need someone who REALLY knows what to do with this to help get some answers and see this resolved immediately. If the error is in TurboTax's court as well, I really don't feel like I should have been charged for any of this inconvenience and I would even beg to suggest some sort of compensation for the trouble which may take months to resolve now if an amended return is the only way to solve.
Please reply with any suggestions or help. The quicker the better. Thanks