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Level 3

Child Tax Credit

My wife and my granddaughter have been living with us for the past 10 months. I have three questions:

1. Do we get to declare her as a dependent. I'm assuming "NO" because we do not have custody. Her mother has parental rights to her.

2. Since we've been paying for her preschool/daycare and other things like doctor bill and dentist bill, can we file for Child Tax Credit?

3. Although the mother had her for only two months, she will probably try and claim the tax credit even though she has not put out a penny during these ten months. If she does, should I contact the IRS? I'm sure they will contact me if I claim the same child? She normally tries to file as soon as she gets her W-2. I can't file until my wife's W-2 and all my 1099s show up.

7 Replies
Level 20

Child Tax Credit

I "think" I'm a bit unclear here.

My wife and my granddaughter have been living with us

So who is "US" if not your wife and grand daughter? I'm going to assume you meant to say;

My granddaughter has been living with my wife and I

Where is your daughter, who of course, is the child's mother? Is she working and producing taxable income in 2018? Maybe she lives with you too, and what you mean to ask is if you can claim your daughter and grand daughter on your joint return?

I really need some clarity here so I can at least "try" to help without wasting your time and adding to any confusion like I may or may not be experiencing now.

 

Level 3

Child Tax Credit

Carl, The granddaughter has been living with us since February. I'm retired but my wife is still working. The mommy is not our daughter but my wife's son's former girlfriend.  She lives in FL. We live in Washington State. She is not a dependent. My wife made a deal with the mother back in February  to let us have her. The mother signed a Power-of -Attorney saying we could keep her indefinitely until she wanted her back. Well she wants her back and we have to get her back there on Dec8th. My question was, basically, can we  file for the Child Tax Credit since the child lived  with us for 10 months this year. We took care of all her medical bills, daycare and preschool tuition, etc, etc. not to mention fed her and put new clothes on her back. Not one penny came from the child's mother. She does work.   My main concern is that she might try to claim the credit before I can file if I can take the tax credit. She has three other kids who don't live with her but I think she uses them when she files. She did get caught by the State of Florida for claiming them to get Food Stamps. I hope this made it a little clearer for you. Thanks for any help you can pass on to me.

Highlighted
Level 20

Child Tax Credit

can we  file for the Child Tax Credit since the child lived  with us for 10 months this year.

Yes. The child meets the IRS rules to be claimed as your dependent.

- She lived with you in your household for more than 182 nights of the tax year, and;

- You provided more than 50% of her support for the entire year.

 My main concern is that she might try to claim the credit before I can file

You state, Not one penny came from the child's mother. She does work. Therefore if the mother of the child does claim her and manages to file first, that just means you would have to print, sign and mail your return to the IRS. Then later the IRS will do a paper audit on both you and the child's mother requiring you to provide proof you qualify. That should be easy for you with the daycare receipts, medical bill receipts and preschool tuition receipts. Besides, you should be getting a letter or possibly a form from the daycare provider showing how much you paid them in 2018, as well as other details such as the period of time you paid for in 2018. The provider is required to provide you this information specifically for tax reporting purposes on your tax return.

So if the child's mother does claim the child and you have to mail your own return, other than a delay in getting any refund you may be due I don't see any problem when the IRS does the paper audit my mail asking you for proof you qualify.

This kind of crap happens to numerous people every year, so it's not like your situation is not common at the IRS.

AJ
Level 11

Child Tax Credit

I'm adding a side note here out of concern for the future welfare of the child and her family. I know the situation is difficult, and I hope the child will be protected.  The mother needs to be aware of her responsibility to avoid claiming the child as her dependent because the mother is supposed to know the truth that child did not live with her for over half of the year. Therefore, the mother should not use the child to claim the child tax credit, or child care credit, or use the child for earned income tax credit.  If the mother files incorrectly, and the IRS rules that the mother showed an intentional disregard of the rules, then the mother might need to repay  any amount in error with interest.  In addition, according to the IRS, the mother could be subject to the 20-percent-accuracy-related penalty and the 75-percent-fraud penalty.  The mother could also be banned from claiming one or more of the credits for the next two years; and she could be banned from claiming one or more of the credits for the next ten years if the IRS rules that the error is because of fraud.  The bottom line here is that this situation is very, very serious for the mother, and it should not be taken lightly.  The mother and her other children could have significant future problems if the mother is not honest.  The dependency is not something that you or the mother can trade.  You qualify, and the mother does not. The mother cannot legally claim the child if she did not support the child and did not live with the child for over half the year.  

Level 3

Child Tax Credit

Sorry to take so long to answer you. Thanks for the info.  It will be quite helpful. I was going to contact the IRS bit no one's there due to the government  shutdown. I did find out that she was asking the other grandparents for a 1099 for January of this year. She's definitely going to try and file. I wanted to make sure they knew about it in advance and maybe can flag her return.  Thanks again.

Level 20

Child Tax Credit

 I did find out that she was asking the other grandparents for a 1099

That's a good sign of intentional fraud in my book. So while it's still fresh in your mind, you need to document the who, when, where, why, what and how you became aware of this information. Not that you would need it in the future, but you never know.

 

Level 14

Child Tax Credit

there has to be a 'blood' relationship (and there appears to be that here),...... for example, same circumstances, but the child is the neighbor's and not blood relative....then you couldn't claim as a dependent