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clairesalcido-gm
New Member

If I file as an independent, but my parents still have me as a dependent on their 2020 taxes, will I get in trouble legally? What do I/they need to do to move forward?

I've been filed as a dependent on my parents' tax returns all my life, but after coming out as gay they've suspended financial assistance and I am looking to file my own taxes for the first time. I need to file as an independent so that I can receive gov. assistance, food stamps, housing, etc. asap, but they still have me labeled as a dependent on their 2020 taxes. Will I get in trouble legally?
3 Replies
Mike9241
Level 15

If I file as an independent, but my parents still have me as a dependent on their 2020 taxes, will I get in trouble legally? What do I/they need to do to move forward?

you didn't state your age or provide other information so here are the rules.

Your parents could claim you as a qualifying child if all these tests are met

  • You have the same principal abode as them for more than ½ the tax year.  Temporary absences like for school are ignored
  • If not a full-time student, you’re under 19 at the end of the tax year.  If you're a full-time student you're under 24 at end of the tax year.  
  • you haven't provided over ½ your own support
  • you didn't file a joint return unless there was no tax liability but merely filing jointly to facilitate refund of taxes withheld or estimates paid

if all the above tests are not met they could still claim you as a qualifying relative if all these tests are met

    

  •  your parents provided over ½ your support
  • your gross income for 2020 was less than $4,300
  •  

 

if you are neither a qualifying child nor a qualifying relative you should file your return and not check that someone can claim you as a dependent.  eventually, both you and your parents will get a letter from the IRS asking for an amended return as to claiming dependency.  if you are properly claiming yourself you should not respond. then the IRS will send a second letter asking for proof.  to this, you must respond in a timely manner providing proof. you get to claim yourself and your parents will get a bill for taxes, penalties and interest.   if you qualify to claim yourself, you might want to warn your parents of what you are doing and that  they are likely to get a tax bill

 

Opus 17
Level 15

If I file as an independent, but my parents still have me as a dependent on their 2020 taxes, will I get in trouble legally? What do I/they need to do to move forward?

You don’t get to choose, even if your parents have cut you off financially. You have to consider the situation for 2020 in this case. If, considering your age, residency for 2020, and financial support for 2020, you could be claimed as a dependent, you must check the box that says yes, I can be claimed as a dependent, even if you don’t want to be claimed.

 

If you answer no, that you can’t be claimed as a dependent, and your parents do claim you as a dependent, the IRS will send letters to both you and your parents to start an investigation. They will look at the facts as outlined in publication 501. Whoever loses the dependent claim will have to re-pay any tax benefits received along with interest and possibly a late payment penalty.

https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p501.pdf

 

*Answers are correct to the best of my ability at the time of posting but do not constitute legal or tax advice.*
Hal_Al
Level 15

If I file as an independent, but my parents still have me as a dependent on their 2020 taxes, will I get in trouble legally? What do I/they need to do to move forward?

Q.  Will I get in trouble legally? 

A. Somebody will. Maybe you, maybe them.

 

If someone else claimed you, as a dependent,  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 yourself, if 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 exemption 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 exemption, 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.

 

If your e-file was not rejected, then theirs was.  That shoulda/woulda been a red flag to them. They needed to file a paper return to claim you.  So, there's a chance that they didn't actually claim you. 

 

 

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