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New Rules for Children of Divorced or Separated Parents

New Rules for Children of Divorced or Separated Parents

Revocation of release of claim to an exemption. For tax years beginning after July 2, 2008 (the 2009 calendar year for most taxpayers), new rules apply to allow the custodial parent to revoke a release of claim to exemption that was previously released to the noncustodial parent on Form 8332, Release/Revocation of Release of Claim to Exemption for Child by Custodial Parent, or similar statement. The revocation is effective no earlier than the tax year following the year in which the custodial parent provides, or makes reasonable efforts to provide, the noncustodial parent with written notice of the revocation. Therefore, if the custodial parent provides notice of revocation to the noncustodial parent in 2009, the earliest tax year the revocation can be effective is the tax year beginning in 2010. You can use Part III of Form 8332 for this purpose. You must attach a copy of the revocation to your return for each tax year you claim the child as a dependent as a result of the revocation.

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.

Post-2008 divorce decree or separation agreement. Beginning with 2009 tax returns, the noncustodial parent can no longer attach pages from the decree or agreement instead of Form 8332 if the decree or agreement went into effect after 2008. The noncustodial parent will have to attach Form 8332 or similar statement signed by the custodial parent and whose only purpose is to release a claim to exemption. The noncustodial parent must attach the required information even if it was filed with a return in an earlier year.

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