Can I Report Dependent Fraud?
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lolmmkthnx
Returning Member

Can I Report Dependent Fraud?

Hello, I have a question in regards to claiming dependents on taxes. I am the sole provider for my family. My boyfriend is disabled and has full custody of his son. I claim both of them as dependents each year.  The IRS just rejected my return because they said a dependent I had on my return was already claimed.  I know it was the ex. The catch is, the ex cannot file a return either as she has no taxable income, so her boyfriend claimed the son on his return. The ex does not pay child support (she claims she doesn't have enough money to give so my boyfriend just let it go). 

In this situation, am I allowed to report the dependent filing as fraud or am I out of luck because I'm not legally the stepmom even though we've been together for years? The guy who claimed my boyfriend's son is not legally the stepdad either. He just happen to file taxes first I guess.  My boyfriend and I pay for everything for his son and we have yet to see a dime from the ex and her boyfriend. If I can report it, do I show documentation of the custody agreement that my boyfriend has full custody? Is there also a way to file paperwork to make sure something like this doesn't happen in the future? 

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Any advice is appreciated.

 

4 Replies
macuser_22
Level 15

Can I Report Dependent Fraud?

You can only claim the child as "other" dependent and get the $500 credit.

 

If you or a dependent that you are entitled to claim has already been claimed by another taxpayer, your e-filed return will reject since the SSN has already been used (either intentionally or in error such as a mistyped SSN).

Your only recourse is to file a correct tax return, claiming what you are entitled to claim, then print and mail the return.

The IRS will process both returns and pay any refunds. Shortly (within a year) the IRS will mail letters to both taxpayers asking if their tax return was filed in error and suggesting that they amend if they improperly claimed.

If neither taxpayer amends, the IRS will send a second letter asking for each taxpayers proof that they are entitled to the claim.

The IRS will evaluate each taxpayers claim and award the credit to one taxpayer, the other will have to payback any refund received plus interest and possible penalties.

Do not ignore the letters or you will loose.

**Disclaimer: This post is for discussion purposes only and is NOT tax advice. The author takes no responsibility for the accuracy of any information in this post.**
lolmmkthnx
Returning Member

Can I Report Dependent Fraud?

As of right now, my boyfriend filed his own return (which also got rejected because of the same situation). He sent the documentation providing proof that he has full custody of his son and that his son lived with us for the majority of the year.

If for whatever reason, he still is unable to get through the IRS, can I go back and file an amended return and mail it in with the proof of documentation of his custody before the tax deadline?  There is also information that shows that the son lives in our household. 

macuser_22
Level 15

Can I Report Dependent Fraud?

As said above. just file a correct tax return and the IRS will send letters to both filers to iron it out.

**Disclaimer: This post is for discussion purposes only and is NOT tax advice. The author takes no responsibility for the accuracy of any information in this post.**
Opus 17
Level 15

Can I Report Dependent Fraud?


@lolmmkthnx wrote:

As of right now, my boyfriend filed his own return (which also got rejected because of the same situation). He sent the documentation providing proof that he has full custody of his son and that his son lived with us for the majority of the year.

If for whatever reason, he still is unable to get through the IRS, can I go back and file an amended return and mail it in with the proof of documentation of his custody before the tax deadline?  There is also information that shows that the son lives in our household. 


Any rejected return is as-if it was never filed.  I'm not clear on what has happened.

 

If you had mailed your original return, you would have claimed the child as an "other" dependent, which qualifies for the $500 other dependent credit but not the stimulus rebate.  The IRS would have processed and paid the refund, then started an investigation into the duplicate claim.  Presumably, you could have proved your case that the child lived in your home the entire year and that you provided more than 50% of the child's support.

 

Now, if your BF filed a return with zero income but listing the child as a "qualified child" dependent, he will qualify for a recovery rebate in his own name, plus for the child, assuming he previously did not receive a stimulus payment for the same amount.  The IRS will, in all likelihood, lose any extra paperwork he mailed with the return.  They should pay the refund, and again, will start to investigate the duplicate dependent claim, usually in 6-9 months. Your BF will have to provide proof that the child lived with him more than half the nights of the year.  He will not have to provide proof that he supported the child.  For proof of residency, the IRS prefers documents from reliable outsiders that show the child lived with your BF, such as letters from schools, doctors, and other professionals sent to your home about your child, that will tend to show that the child lived in your home.  The IRS will probably have lost any documents you mailed with the return so hopefully you kept copies.  Assuming the other parent or their GF loses the investigation, they will have to repay any disallowed refund amounts with interest and possibly a penalty.

 

At this point, you CAN'T claim the child as a dependent under any circumstance.  You can't claim a child as a "qualifying relative" dependent unless no other "taxpayer" can claim the child as a "qualifying child" dependent.  Your BF is not a taxpayer if he has no income and files no return.  But since he filed a return to claim the child and the recovery rebate, he is now a "taxpayer" for 2020, and that means you can't claim the child as a dependent.

 

None of this will happen by April 15 in any case.  The deadline for filing an amended return is 3 years from the due date (if an amended return is possible in this case, which it is not).  The IRS won't even start to investigate the duplicate dependent claim until September at the earliest, based on past history, and they may be even more backlogged than usual.  Most of the time, the IRS will pay the claimed refund on a tax return filed on paper fairly quickly, and investigate later.

*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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