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Falsely claiming a dependent

 
 
evacollette3
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      03-01-2004, 07:46 PM
I have primary physical and legal custody of my son who is
4. In 2003, the fathers visitation was every weekend. He has
been 'ordered' to pay $80 a week (which sometimes I got, and
sometimes not). His father did not provide more than 50% of
my son's financial support. When I went to file my return, I
found out that his father already claimed our son as a
dependant. When I asked him why he had done it...he stated
"he just needed the money". Isn't this tax fraud?

Thanks,

Eva

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Arthur L. Rubin
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      03-02-2004, 05:29 AM
evacollette3 wrote:

> I have primary physical and legal custody of my son who is
> 4. In 2003, the fathers visitation was every weekend. He has
> been 'ordered' to pay $80 a week (which sometimes I got, and
> sometimes not). His father did not provide more than 50% of
> my son's financial support. When I went to file my return, I
> found out that his father already claimed our son as a
> dependant. When I asked him why he had done it...he stated
> "he just needed the money". Isn't this tax fraud?


Probably. It stops you from E-filing, as you've noticed,
but there shouldn't be a serious problem with paper filing.

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Phil Marti
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      03-02-2004, 05:29 AM
(E-Mail Removed) (evacollette3) writes:

> I have primary physical and legal custody of my son who is
> 4. In 2003, the fathers visitation was every weekend. He has
> been 'ordered' to pay $80 a week (which sometimes I got, and
> sometimes not). His father did not provide more than 50% of
> my son's financial support. When I went to file my return, I
> found out that his father already claimed our son as a
> dependant. When I asked him why he had done it...he stated
> "he just needed the money". Isn't this tax fraud?


Do you really care? More to the point, who gets the
personal exemption for your son? Answer: you do. You
cannot electronically file, so file your return on paper,
claiming your son's exemption, and let IRS sort it out.

Phil Marti
Topeka, KS

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Bill
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      03-02-2004, 05:48 AM
(E-Mail Removed) posted:

> I have primary physical and legal custody of
> my son who is 4. In 2003, the fathers visitation
> was every weekend. He has been 'ordered' to
> pay $80 a week (which sometimes I got, and
> sometimes not). His father did not provide
> more than 50% of my son's financial support.
> When I went to file my return, I found out that
> his father already claimed our son as a
> dependant. When I asked him why he had
> done it...he stated "he just needed the
> money". Isn't this tax fraud?


Short answer: Consult your attorney.

Long answer: The terms of the divorce settlement can
*sometimes* grant the right to claim dependency to one
parent, even though the person doesn't have physical or
legal custody. This is a legal question first, and only
once that is clarified, does it possibly become a tax
question.

Assuming there was no dependency order in the decree, it
certainly seems to be tax fraud. However, your attorney
should be consulted in any event, because you are going to
be setting off a major disruption in your ex's life -- and
that could threaten your own and your child's lives.

Best case: He gets rousted by the IRS, has to pay back the
amount of the refund he received fraudulently, and is mad at
the IRS but comes to realize he better never do that again.
And of course, along with that, you get to claim your son,
receive the $1,000 Child Tax Credit, and any oher
tax-related benefits you have coming (including perhaps
Earned Income Credits).

Worst case: You know the man. Can he be violent? You have
stated he's already undependable when it comes to meeting
the court-ordered support payment schedule. What will
happen to his ability to pay after you report him? How
likely will he be to meet his obligations if he learns his
troubles stem from your reporting him?

Now, IMHO, the ex should get the book thrown at him and be
put in the stocks in the public square. Of course, that's
just a measure of my own reaction to the kind of person who
acts as you've described.

But you have to live with his child, and you deserve
thoughtful advice and guidance from someone who knows all
the facts. That's a situation you *shouldn't* and probably
*cannot* establish on the internet.

Good luck. Seek help. Hopefully, your ex can be persuaded
that prompt, regular payment and no more tax fraud is a good
plan. And even more hopefully, he can follow that plan.

Bill

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A.G. Kalman
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      03-02-2004, 06:07 AM
evacollette3 wrote:

> I have primary physical and legal custody of my son who is
> 4. In 2003, the fathers visitation was every weekend. He has
> been 'ordered' to pay $80 a week (which sometimes I got, and
> sometimes not). His father did not provide more than 50% of
> my son's financial support. When I went to file my return, I
> found out that his father already claimed our son as a
> dependant. When I asked him why he had done it...he stated
> "he just needed the money". Isn't this tax fraud?


Don't concern your self with the issue of tax fraud. You
will have to file a paper return claiming your child as a
dependent and as a qualifying person for the head of
household filing status (assumes you haven't remarried). I
would attach a letter of explanation and a copy of that part
of the court decree that makes you the custodial parent. It
doesn't matter how much he paid or didn't pay for child
support.

The above assumes that you have never provided to him an IRS
Form 8332 stating that he is entitled to the dependency
exemption for 2003.

--
Alan
http://taxtopics.net

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Herb Smith
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      03-02-2004, 06:27 AM
(E-Mail Removed) (evacollette3) wrote:

> I have primary physical and legal custody of my son who is
> 4. In 2003, the fathers visitation was every weekend. He has
> been 'ordered' to pay $80 a week (which sometimes I got, and
> sometimes not). His father did not provide more than 50% of
> my son's financial support. When I went to file my return, I
> found out that his father already claimed our son as a
> dependant. When I asked him why he had done it...he stated
> "he just needed the money". Isn't this tax fraud?


File your return (on paper, not e-file), claiming your
legitimate exemption for your son. The IRS will note the
discrepancy and ask EACH of you to prove your claims. If you
are correct, they will disallow his claim and bill him for
the additional tax (and penalty). If you don't file, he may
just get away with it.

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Paul
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      03-02-2004, 06:46 AM
"evacollette3" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote

> I have primary physical and legal custody of my son who is
> 4. In 2003, the fathers visitation was every weekend. He has
> been 'ordered' to pay $80 a week (which sometimes I got, and
> sometimes not). His father did not provide more than 50% of
> my son's financial support. When I went to file my return, I
> found out that his father already claimed our son as a
> dependant. When I asked him why he had done it...he stated
> "he just needed the money". Isn't this tax fraud?


Well, it doesn't rise to the level of "fraud", but it is tax
cheating. File your return on paper, claiming your son, and
await the resulting audit of both returns. You'll
eventually get your money, and your ex will have to pay all
he got and then some.

--
Paul A. Thomas, CPA
taxman at negia.net

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D. Stussy
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      03-03-2004, 01:52 AM
evacollette3 wrote:

> I have primary physical and legal custody of my son who is
> 4. In 2003, the fathers visitation was every weekend. He has
> been 'ordered' to pay $80 a week (which sometimes I got, and
> sometimes not). His father did not provide more than 50% of
> my son's financial support. When I went to file my return, I
> found out that his father already claimed our son as a
> dependant. When I asked him why he had done it...he stated
> "he just needed the money". Isn't this tax fraud?


Yes, it can be (but civil, not criminal). It would be more
obvious if he had claimed a pet as a dependent (which I
actually saw once 15 years ago).

However, it can be a "messy" situation since the child is
from a divorce and therefore he MIGHT have a claim. If you
report him (or get audited yourself), you will still have to
prove your claim to the child to show that he had no basis
in fact to believe that he should.

Lastly, the IRS won't even consider [civil] fraud unless the
tax exceeds $500.

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Harlan Lunsford
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      03-04-2004, 01:16 AM
A.G. Kalman wrote:
> evacollette3 wrote:


>> I have primary physical and legal custody of my son who is
>> 4. In 2003, the fathers visitation was every weekend. He has
>> been 'ordered' to pay $80 a week (which sometimes I got, and
>> sometimes not). His father did not provide more than 50% of
>> my son's financial support. When I went to file my return, I
>> found out that his father already claimed our son as a
>> dependant. When I asked him why he had done it...he stated
>> "he just needed the money". Isn't this tax fraud?


> Don't concern your self with the issue of tax fraud. You
> will have to file a paper return claiming your child as a
> dependent and as a qualifying person for the head of
> household filing status (assumes you haven't remarried). I
> would attach a letter of explanation and a copy of that part
> of the court decree that makes you the custodial parent. It
> doesn't matter how much he paid or didn't pay for child
> support.
>
> The above assumes that you have never provided to him an IRS
> Form 8332 stating that he is entitled to the dependency
> exemption for 2003.


Others have also advocated going ahead and claiming the
dependent with a paper return, but I want to reinforce what
Alan just said. Be sure to attach an explanation to the
return outlining why taxpayer is clearly entitled to the
exemption. And if she wants to actually quote what the
father said.........! that might be interesting.

Cheer$,
Harlan Lunsford, EA n LA

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CLJ1219
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      03-04-2004, 01:55 AM
> It would be more
> obvious if he had claimed a pet as a dependent (which I
> actually saw once 15 years ago).


Funny you mention this, but today as I was sorting through
some receipts from a client I saw vet bills in with the
medical bills. <G>

Carol
What can one expect of a day that begins with getting out of bed.

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