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Claiming A Step Child Without filing a Joint Return

My wife has not lived with with me for several years.  Last year I filed as Head of Household and I claimed my stepdaughter, who still lives here, as a dependent.  I received a letter from the IRS stating that I may not be entitled to some of the EITC I claimed last year.  I plan to file in the same manner this year, but I want to make sure that I am accurate.   Could I be missing something?

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DaveF1006
Employee Tax Expert

Claiming A Step Child Without filing a Joint Return

Yes, if this is your stepchild, you should be able to claim the earned income credit and to be Head of Household.  You might contact the IRS to find out why you may not be entitled to some of the EITC claimed last year before attempting to claim it this year. 

 

Did you receive an EITC letter informing you that you had to file Form 8862-Information To Claim Certain Credits After Disallowance this year?  If so, there is an interview question in the EITC section that asks this. When you say yes, there will be a 8862 form that will generate in your return that will satisfy the terms of the letter.

 

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3 Replies
DaveF1006
Employee Tax Expert

Claiming A Step Child Without filing a Joint Return

Yes, if this is your stepchild, you should be able to claim the earned income credit and to be Head of Household.  You might contact the IRS to find out why you may not be entitled to some of the EITC claimed last year before attempting to claim it this year. 

 

Did you receive an EITC letter informing you that you had to file Form 8862-Information To Claim Certain Credits After Disallowance this year?  If so, there is an interview question in the EITC section that asks this. When you say yes, there will be a 8862 form that will generate in your return that will satisfy the terms of the letter.

 

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Claiming A Step Child Without filing a Joint Return

Thanks!  I did not receive the notice to file Form 8862.  Just an ominous warning that I may not have been entitled to some of the eitc last year.  I think I should contact IRS just in case... not looking for any surprises this year.  Is calling [phone number removed] the best way to ask about the letter I received?

MarilynG1
Employee Tax Expert

Claiming A Step Child Without filing a Joint Return

Yes, call the phone number shown on your IRS letter.

 

If your wife also tried to claim your stepdaughter, that's most likely why you received the letter.

 

If they end up asking for documentation that your child lived with you, I'm sure you have school records, medical records, etc. to verify that.

 

@3ether3 

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