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essing01
New Member

Is it an offence to claim my child as a dependent if he lives abroad with his father?

He has been living abroad with his father since we separated in 2008. He is now 12 years old and his father is a citizen of another country. I have been claiming my son as a dependent since 2008 and getting tax refunds even though I don't contribute financially towards him and he does not live with me. Am I committing an offence?

1 Best answer

Accepted Solutions
Opus 17
Level 15

Is it an offence to claim my child as a dependent if he lives abroad with his father?

Yes.  You don’t qualify to claim your child under either set of rules.  You may not get caught, since the other parent does not file a US tax return.  But you are breaking the law.  

*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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10 Replies
SweetieJean
Level 15

Is it an offence to claim my child as a dependent if he lives abroad with his father?

You've been doing  this for 10 years. Why are you asking about it now?
SweetieJean
Level 15

Is it an offence to claim my child as a dependent if he lives abroad with his father?

You are asking from a foreign country yourself. Is this about a USA tax return?
essing01
New Member

Is it an offence to claim my child as a dependent if he lives abroad with his father?

It is a USA tax return. I am asking for a friend, the child's father found out about the taxes and wants to report it to IRS as fraud.
SweetieJean
Level 15

Is it an offence to claim my child as a dependent if he lives abroad with his father?

and that certainly is his right....Tax fraud is a crime.
SweetieJean
Level 15

Is it an offence to claim my child as a dependent if he lives abroad with his father?

The IRS has no time limit if it can prove civil or criminal fraud.
Opus 17
Level 15

Is it an offence to claim my child as a dependent if he lives abroad with his father?

Yes.  You don’t qualify to claim your child under either set of rules.  You may not get caught, since the other parent does not file a US tax return.  But you are breaking the law.  

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

View solution in original post

essing01
New Member

Is it an offence to claim my child as a dependent if he lives abroad with his father?

Thanks, I am actually asking for a friend of mine. The child's father found out about the taxes and wants to report it to IRS as fraud.
Opus 17
Level 15

Is it an offence to claim my child as a dependent if he lives abroad with his father?

That's a shame.  It doesn't hurt the father, as long as he is not filing a US tax return.  So while it is fraud, and is reportable, it also seems somewhat spiteful.

Anyway, for one set of dependent rules, the child must live with the parent for more than half the nights of the year, or get a signed release form from the other parent.  And for the other set of rules, it doesn't matter where the child lives but the taxpayer must provide more than half the child's support.

It's all in here <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p501.pdf">https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p501.pdf</a>

Penalties for underpaying tax are about 1% per month of the amount underpaid, figuring each year separately.  Plus a potential of an additional 25% penalty for deliberate fraud.  If the IRS views this as deliberate, the statute of limitations is 6 years from the date the return is filed, or the April 15 deadline, whichever is later.  So at this point, she could be audited for the 2012-2017 returns, assuming they were filed on time.  

The dependent and child tax credit for 2012 could have been worth about $2000, or more if she also filed head of household.  That means a possible penalty plus interest of over $2100 on top of the $2000 tax owed, plus similar amounts for other years.

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

Is it an offence to claim my child as a dependent if he lives abroad with his father?

I view this differently. Mother is not paying any child support, yet is benefiting  from the tax deductions/credits, including EIC.
Anonymous
Not applicable

Is it an offence to claim my child as a dependent if he lives abroad with his father?

as others have pointed out, you do not qualify to take him as a dependent, claim head of household or any credits related to his being a dependent.  seek professional help, before the IRS contacts you. 

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