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Best way to file? I have two children of my own that I claim. I have a live-in girlfriend that has primary custody of her son; we also share a child. She has no income.

 
5 Replies

Best way to file? I have two children of my own that I claim. I have a live-in girlfriend that has primary custody of her son; we also share a child. She has no income.

Is the father of the GF's son in the picture at all ?   And did the GF & her son live with you all year ?
Hal_Al
Level 15

Best way to file? I have two children of my own that I claim. I have a live-in girlfriend that has primary custody of her son; we also share a child. She has no income.

Do your two children live with you? Or are you the non-custodial parent? For tax purposes "custody" means physical custody not legal custody.

Best way to file? I have two children of my own that I claim. I have a live-in girlfriend that has primary custody of her son; we also share a child. She has no income.

My oldest is 20 and a full time college student that lives with me.  I have primary custody of my middle daughter and the youngest (shared daughter with my girlfriend) also lives with me along with her mother.  She and her son have lived with me for 3 years.  Last year she claimed her son and I claimed HoH along with the rest of the children but this year she didn't work because of the new baby.  The plan was to file HoH and claim everybody as dependents.  I'm just making sure that is the best decision.  The girlfriends ex husband does have visitation but is the non-custodial parent and she has not signed over the tax deduction.

Best way to file? I have two children of my own that I claim. I have a live-in girlfriend that has primary custody of her son; we also share a child. She has no income.

The plan was to file HoH and claim everybody as dependents.  I'm just making sure that is the best decision.... it seems like it since she had zero income.
Hal_Al
Level 15

Best way to file? I have two children of my own that I claim. I have a live-in girlfriend that has primary custody of her son; we also share a child. She has no income.

It's complicated.

You may  file using Head of Household (HoH)  filing status.  The child that you share, with your GF (and I assume lives with you) is your qualifying person for HoH.

The non-custodial parent may claim his children for their exemption ($4050 deduction) and the Child tax credit, if the custodial parent releases the exemption to him, But he may not count those children for the Earned Income Credit (EIC), HoH filing status or the day care credit, because the dependent children do not live with him.

You may claim your girlfriend and her child only if they lived with you all year (365 days/nights). The child (and your GF) may qualify as a dependent, but because he is not related, he cannot be a qualifying child for the earned income credit, child tax credit or HoH filing status.

There are two types of dependents, "Qualifying Children"(QC) and standard ("Qualifying Relative" in IRS parlance even though they don't have to actually be related). There is no income limit for a QC but there is an age limit, a relationship test and a residence test. Only a QC qualifies a taxpayer for the Earned Income Credit and the Child Tax Credit.  There is a special rule in the case of divorced & separated (including never married) parents that allows the non-custodial parent to claim the Child Tax credit, in addition to the exemption.

 

A person can still be a standard dependent ("Qualifying Relative" in IRS parlance even though they don't have to actually be related), if not a Qualifying Child, if he meets the 6 tests for claiming a dependent:

1. Closely Related OR live with the taxpayer ALL year

2. His/her gross taxable income for the year must be less than $4,050 (2016-17)

3. The taxpayer must have provided more than 1/2 his support

In either case:

4. He must be a US citizen or resident of the US, Canada or Mexico

5. He must not file a joint return with his spouse or be claiming a dependent of his own

6. He must not be the qualifying child of another taxpayer

He must have a US social security number or tax identification number (TIN)

In addition to the above requirements, to claim your boy/girlfriend's children, they must meet all of the above requirements and:
--- your boy/girlfriend must not be required to file a return,
--- he/she does not file a return claiming the children

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