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My family babysits my child and claimed them on taxes without my consent. What can I do ?

My family babysits my child, and stays the night there a lot since I work a lot.  They claimed the child on their taxes this year without my consent.  What can I do ?

     Ive read the IRS Tie-Breaker laws, and saw that they first ask If someone is the childs parent.  I am the parent, and the people claiming the child are his great aunt and uncle.   It seems like it shouldnt be a problem for me to claim the child, and have the IRS contact the other people.  However, I dont want to have to go through a audit, or court trial and cost more than Ill gain from the tax credit. 

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"stays the night there a lot"

How much is a lot? If it is more than half the nights in the year, then the child "lives with" his great aunt & uncle, for tax purposes, and they are allowed to claim him

If that's not the case, the  tie breaker rules are not relevant because the child lives with you, his parent, and you can claim him.

This situation happens all he time and the IRS has a procedure for resolving it. It won't cost you anything other than bad feelings with family.

If someone else claimed your child inappropriately, and if they file first, your return will be rejected if e-filed. You would then need to file a return on paper, claiming the child as  appropriate. The IRS will process your return and send you your refund, in the normal time. Shortly (up to a year) thereafter, you'll receive a letter from the IRS, stating that your child was claimed on another return. It will tell you that if you made a mistake to file an amended return and if you didn't make a mistake to do nothing. The other party will get the same letter you did. If one of you doesn't file an amended return, unclaiming the child, the next letter, from the IRS, will require you to provide proof. Be sure to reply in a timely manner.

Winner gets the tax benefits; loser gets to pay the IRS back with penalties and interest.  The custodial parent almost always wins. 

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