What happens if two people claim the same dependent on a tax return?

Asked 8 months ago - Barre, VT

What would happen if I claimed my daughter on my VT tax return and then my daughter's grandmother on her mothers side claimed her as well.

My address is the primary address, through a court order.
I have shared physical and legal custody of my daughter with her mother, but her mother does not work.
I work full time.

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Myra Chack Fleischer


    Contributor Level 12


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Two returns cannot claim the same person. The IRS only cares about physical custody. Whoever has custody more than 50.01 % of the time is entitled to claim the deduction. One of you will need to amend the return.

    The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an... more
  2. Anastatia Quirk Ellis

    Contributor Level 13


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Typically, the first return to claim the dependent is assumed to be correct, and anyone else is not allowed to claim the dependent, regardless of the situation. This happens a lot with parents who share custody. Of course, you should only claim a dependent that you have the right to claim for that year.

  3. Paul Rutledge Durr III

    Contributor Level 14


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . FIrst to file generally gets the exemption, although the rightful claimant will eventually prevail. I have seen the IRS disallow both and force the parents to prove entitlement too.

  4. Tara Sturhahn Rosenblum

    Contributor Level 10

    Answered . If two people claim the same dependent, sometimes legally, the IRS will use "tiebreaker rules" to determine who gets to claim the dependent. These rules only apply when more than one person claims a dependent. For example, if two parents have a child more than 50.1 percent of the year (let's say they separate in August), and they both claim the child, then the parent with the highest AGI will be able to claim the child under the tiebreaker rule.

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask a Lawyer

Get free answers from experienced attorneys.


Ask now

26,986 answers this week

2,954 attorneys answering

Ask a Lawyer

Get answers from top-rated lawyers.

  • It's FREE
  • It's easy
  • It's anonymous

26,986 answers this week

2,954 attorneys answering

Legal Dictionary

Don't speak legalese? We define thousands of terms in plain English.

Browse our legal dictionary