TurboTax AnswerXchange Home Page

Eic with joint custody

I have joint custody of my daughters with my ex-wife but i have the right to claim them on my taxes for the EIC credit by the divorce decree how exactly am i supposed to list this on my taxes
    The person who told you that dors not understand dependent tax law, which is very complex, and you shoudl not rely on that advice.  A divorce decreee cannot grant you credits, no matter what it says.  The EIC can only be claimed if the child lived with you more than half the year, period.  that's true even if you claim the child as a dependent.  And more than half the year does not mean joint custody, it means literally counting the number of nights the child spent with each of you during the year.  The credit goes with whichever parent kept the child the greater number of nights.
    • My degree says joint physical custody though he only goes to the others house every other weekends we do have a custody agreement where this year he gets to claim him as a dependent, so i did not but it gave me eic credit is that going to raise a red flag when he goes to claim him as a dependent? I marked that we had the agreement
    • No, it will not raise a "red flag" - it is perfectly correct to do so.

      Only the Custodial parent can claim:
      -Head of Household,
      -Earned Income Credit,
      -Child Care Credit

      The non custodial parent can only claim:
      -The Exemption and
      -Child Tax Credit,
    • There is a special rule in the case of divorced & separated (including never married) parents. When the non-custodial parent is claiming the child as a dependent/exemption/child tax credit; the custodial parent is still allowed to claim the same child for Earned Income Credit, Head of Household filing status, and day care credit. This "splitting of the child" is not available to parents who lived together at any time during the last 6 months of the year; then only one of you can claim the child for any tax reasons. The tax benefits may not be split in any other manner.

      Note in particular that the non-custodial parent can never claim the Earned Income Credit, Head of Household filing status or the day care credit, based on that child.
    I have joint custody

    The phrases "joint custody", "primary custody", "legal custody", "shared custody", "50/50 custody", etc., don't appear in the tax statutes.  Rather, when discussing dependents, the custody that matters is actual physical custody counted on a night by night basis, regardless of what type of custody is granted in a divorce or separation agreement.

    In 2012, 50/50 physical custody is possible because the year has an even number of days.  However, even if each parent had a child 183 then neither would be a custodial parent, because neither would have had the child more than 1/2 of the year.

    The one who had custody for more than 1/2 of the year can claim the child as a dependent, child care expenses, earned income tax credit and, if eligible, Head of Household.

    The custodial parent can transfer the exemption to the non-custodial parent by providing them with a signed copy of Form 8332.  It is their choice to do so.   If required to do so by a divorce decree or child custody agreement, and the child's other parent does not follow the agreement, your recourse is in the family court, as the IRS will not attempt to enforce such agreements.

      i dont need a form 8332 form though because i was granted the right through the divorce decree and have joint custody is what i was told here in arkansas by someone who works for h&r block
      • You probably do need form 8332. The non-custodial parent can only claim the child as a dependent if the custodial parent gives permission (on form 8332) or if it's spelled out in a pre 2009 divorce decree. Even if a divorce decree, dated after 2008, gives the non-custodial parent the right to claim the child, he must still get form 8332 from the custodial parent. A properly worded decree should require her to provide that form.
      • If you have a pre 2009 divorce decree you might not need the 8332 form but ONLY if the decree meets the IRS requirements - very few do.  If it does NOT meet the requirements, or it is a post 2009 decree then a signed 8332 form attached to your tax return is the only thing that the IRS will accept.

        Post-1984 and pre-2009 divorce decree or separation agreement.   If the divorce decree or separation agreement went into effect after 1984 and before 2009, the noncustodial parent may be able to attach certain pages from the decree or agreement instead of Form 8332. The decree or agreement must state all three of the following.

           1. The noncustodial parent can claim the child as a dependent without regard to any condition, such as payment of support.
           2. The custodial parent will not claim the child as a dependent for the year.
           3.The years for which the noncustodial parent, rather than the custodial parent, can claim the child as a dependent.

          The noncustodial parent must attach all of the following pages of the decree or agreement to his or her tax return.

            * The cover page (write the other parent's social security number on this page).
            * The pages that include all of the information identified in items (1) through (3) above.
            * The signature page with the other parent's signature and the date of the agreement.

        See “Children of divorced or separated parents or parents who live apart” in IRS Pub 17 for full information.
      Regardless of what the divorce decree says, only the parent with whom the child lived more than half the year can get EIC.

      For divorced or separated parents or parents who live apart, the custodial parent, if eligible, or other eligible person who the child lived with for more than half the year, can claim head of household filing status, the credit for child and dependent care expenses, the exclusion for dependent care benefits, and the earned income credit. The non-custodial parent, if allowed by divorce decree or consent of the custodial parent on form 8332 or similar signed statement, can claim the dependency exemption and child tax credit. The child tax benefits cannot be split any other way.
        Contribute an answer

        People come to TurboTax AnswerXchange for help and answers—we want to let them know that we're here to listen and share our knowledge. We do that with the style and format of our responses. Here are five guidelines:

        1. Keep it conversational. When answering questions, write like you speak. Imagine you're explaining something to a trusted friend, using simple, everyday language. Avoid jargon and technical terms when possible. When no other word will do, explain technical terms in plain English.
        2. Be clear and state the answer right up front. Ask yourself what specific information the person really needs and then provide it. Stick to the topic and avoid unnecessary details. Break information down into a numbered or bulleted list and highlight the most important details in bold.
        3. Be concise. Aim for no more than two short sentences in a paragraph, and try to keep paragraphs to two lines. A wall of text can look intimidating and many won't read it, so break it up. It's okay to link to other resources for more details, but avoid giving answers that contain little more than a link.
        4. Be a good listener. When people post very general questions, take a second to try to understand what they're really looking for. Then, provide a response that guides them to the best possible outcome.
        5. Be encouraging and positive. Look for ways to eliminate uncertainty by anticipating people's concerns. Make it apparent that we really like helping them achieve positive outcomes.

        Similar questions other people found helpful: