Tax form Answers 2018

Who Can Claim Who on Their 2018 Tax Form?

With the 2018 tax season upon us, many are asking who they can claim and what they should do if someone else claims their dependent or dependents. Fear not, as this article will answer some of your questions.

What can be done if both parents are filing separately and both claim the same dependent on their tax return? Well, first, the parent or person that claims that dependent first will get that credit. But if you don’t believe that he/she has the right to do so then you are in luck. The IRS won’t allow a second person to get credit for a dependent. If someone has already claimed your dependent(s) before you file, your claim will be rejected. You will need to do a paper return. You can still prepare your tax online, but you will have to print out and mail a hard copy.

With your return, you should include a cover letter as to why you should receive the dependent credit instead of the person who already received the credit. Moreover, if you have any proof, like receipts or a timeline sheet, then attach a copy with your tax paper. The more proof that you have the easier it is for IRS to decide on who should receive the credit. Just know that you can live with a dependent, without providing any support help for that dependent. In which case, you don’t have the right to claim that dependent.  For example, if your dependent receives health insurance or any form of government assistance unless your name is included in those documents, you haven’t provided any support for that dependent. The government will have no proof of your support for that dependent since the supporting paperwork isn’t in your name. When your claim is processed, both claimants will receive a letter from IRS for a hearing. Based on that hearing the credit will be assigned to the person with the most proof.


If you and your partner both have the dependent for the same amount of time within the year, then mostly IRS will reward the person with the most income the credit, but only if that individual’s income was used to support the dependent. Note that if the child hasn’t stayed with you for at least half a year then you are not eligible to claim that dependent. If both partners lived with the dependent for more than half the year, the person who spent the most time with the dependent will probably win. If the dependent stayed in the same house as you and your partner for at least six months before your partner left, and your partner still claims that dependent, then you have every right to counterclaim that dependent since you spent more time with the dependent within the 12-month period. The best way to win a counterclaim is for you to have papers for any form of assistance that you received with the dependent’s name on it and you as the head of household and based on your income.

Claiming a qualifying child

To claim someone as a qualifying child, he or she must:

  • Be your biological or adopted child, stepchild, foster child, sibling, half-sibling, step-sibling, or a descendant of one of these.
  • Be under age 19, or under age 24 if a full-time student or any age if permanently and totally disabled.
  • Remain a U.S. citizen or resident, or a resident of Canada or Mexico.
  • Not be married or be married but not filing a joint return.
  • Have lived with you for at least half the year.
  • Not have provided more than half of his or her own support[1].

Unfortunately, you can’t find out information on who has claimed your dependent unless that person tells you that they did. The IRS won’t for many reasons release information about who claimed your dependent(s). However, I am sure you can narrow it down to who might have since the person must have access to their social security number, date of birth and other personal information. With that in mind, you already know who did it, unless you are one of the few Americans who had their dependent(s) identities stolen.

We at Red Door are always here to help with any questions you have about buying, selling or renting a house. Thanks for making us your number one real estate choice in Western New York.


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