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Tax Court agrees with IRS and rules that Father could not claim as a dependant one of his children.

Posted by attorney Anthony Azemika

A U.S. Tax Court has ruled that Father may not claim dependency exemption and child tax credit for his son because Mother refused to sign a release of exemption, stipulation and divorce judgment failed to conform to I.R.S. Form 8332, and Father failed to attach the release to his tax return. In the case of Konrad v. Commissioner, New York residents Mother and Father became parents of four children during their marriage. After they separated and began divorce proceedings, Mother and Father reached "Open Court Stipulation," which, among other things, awarded sole custody of the children to Mother, with visitation rights to Father, and provided that if Mother got a full-time job, she and Father would "split the deductions," with Father taking the first and third children, while Mother would take the second and fourth children. Apparently, Father was to claim all dependency exemptions if Mother failed to work full-time. Mother and Father did not sign stipulation (court reporter signed it), but stipulation was incorporated into their divorce judgment that was issued on November 13, 2000, and signed by Trial Court. When Father filed his federal income tax return for tax year 2007, he claimed the dependency exemptions and child tax credits for the third and fourth children (but not the first and second children) because he believed that Mother worked "only 2 or 3 days a week." Father did not attach I.R.S. Form 8332 [release of exemption] or its equivalent to his tax return. The I.R.S. then sent Father a deficiency notice, assessing a tax deficiency of $3,300. After discussions, I.R.S. conceded that Father was entitled to claim the dependency exemption and child tax credit for the third child and reduced the deficiency to $1,850, but disallowed the deductions for the fourth child because they had been claimed by another taxpayer and "there is no stipulation specifying in what circumstances . . . [Father] would be able to claim" the fourth child. Father petitioned the U.S. Tax Court for relief, but the Tax Court has now ruled for I.R.S. Tax Court has found that (1) Father cannot claim the fourth child as a qualifying child because that child did not live with Father for more than half of taxable year; (2) Father cannot claim that child as a qualifying relative because Father failed to show that he provided more than half of the fourth child's support or that fourth child was not a qualifying child of another taxpayer; (3) Father cannot claim the exemption for the fourth child under the special rules for divorced or separated parents because he failed to attach I.R.S. Form 8332 or its equivalent to his tax return (divorce stipulation and judgment were not signed by Mother and she refused to execute the I.R.S. Form 8332); and (4) Father cannot claim the child tax credit for the fourth child because that child is not Father's qualifying child.

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