Other Tax Filing Moms

Updated on February 12, 2008
W.O. asks from Portland, OR
30 answers

Hi,
I have a simple question that my (soon to be) husband and I are having a disagreement over. It is simple, but we can't find an answer for it.
Our daughter was born in July of 07, so this is the first time we have had to claim a depended on our taxes. Since we are not married, so we are filing independently, we are wondering who should claim her, or if it even matters. He worked full time all year, where as I worked part-time until about June and was a full time student. He thinks it would be better for me to claim her, but I think since he paid most of the taxes he would get back more if he claimed her.
Does it matter who claims her? Does he have to since she has his last name? I don't know how to do my taxes with a child!! Obviously she is our first!
Any help would be appreciated (I told you it was a simple question)
Thanks!

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So What Happened?

Thank you so much for everyones help! I am glad to report I just did my taxes and we are getting a nice chunk of change back!! Thank you so much again!

Featured Answers

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J.S.

answers from Eugene on

I'm assuming you are living together? If not, the one she lived with the most is the only one who can legally claim her. If you lived together, either one can claim her. I agree with previous posters that you should run it both ways and see how you come out the best. Just because he made the most money does not mean that he will benefit the most by claiming her. There is a thing called EIC (Earned Income Credit) that gives a huge tax break to working parents and you can actually get back more taxes than you paid if you happen to hit the peak. So you, having worked less, might actually benefit more from claiming her. Run it both ways.

1 mom found this helpful
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D.C.

answers from Seattle on

i think it would be better if you claimed her bacause then you will definatily quallify for the earned in come credit. We were 1 thousand over this year and the earned income credit from the year before was 3000. so you made less you should claim her this time becasue you will qualify for it. and the money will help out so much with everyhting plus now i think you can also file head of household and get another credit

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A.D.

answers from Portland on

Do it both ways and see which is better. I would think it would be about the same because I think it is a set amount. If it is a percentage the definately his.

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C.E.

answers from Seattle on

the best thing to do is go to hr block and you both sit down and see who it benifits the most to claim her they can do both of your taxes at the same time and then figure out what is the best way for you and see what is the most money you can get to your advanage

1 mom found this helpful
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G.M.

answers from Seattle on

Take the time to do the taxes both ways, once with you claiming her and then with her father claiming her. Then see how you can most benefit. In my world the money is pooled so this works for us.

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H.G.

answers from Portland on

I suggest you both work it out on paper to see who gets more back. Get the forms off the internet at irs.gov and check if you claim her if, he claims he, if you don't claim, her if he doesn't claim her. This is the only true way I know how to find out, do the actual math.

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C.G.

answers from Seattle on

Hello there. I have been in the same position and here is how I have figured it. My soon-to-be husband and I have a 17 month old. I do our taxes on Turbo Tax. I put our son with my wages and then with his. Whom ever gets the child tax credit/earned income credit wins. When you make more money you have a better chance of getting the child tax credit and that will help with how much you pay or in some cases it can afford you a return. Nothing is set in stone for taxes until it is signed and sent to the IRS. Work with the numbers this year and see how it comes out. Keep in mind it could change next year. The other thing is as long as the child has lived with both of you for 12 months it doesn't matter who claims her. I also know for fact that the last name doesn't matter. Both of my sons have their dads names. On the tax form it will ask for your daughters SS# and your relation to her, that will work out any question of who she belongs to. I hope this helps you.
C. G.

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J.L.

answers from Anchorage on

If you are a student and getting grants for going to school, you'll get more if you are single with a dependent, which means you save what you now don't have to spend on school, or 'free money' because it's not taxed and you don't have to pay it back. If it's student loans or you are paying out of pocket, then the person with the most income since it can reduce their tax bracket so they pay less. However, be aware that you COULD be setting a precendent should your relationship dissolve as old-fashioned courts have been known to assume the person taking the deduction is the person considered to be the "full-time" caretaker. So if no grants for school and having a dependent on your taxes doesn't qualify you for any other sort of assistance, do the taxes for each with and without the deduction for the child dependent and see which way saves more money for you. Make an agreement on how that money will be jointly spent to benefit you both. Also be aware should something major happen in the future your last filed taxes will be viewed to determine if you qualify for assistance for most major 'things' and if you don't have the child on there as your dependent, it can prevent you from qualifying. Also be aware that if the name of the parent claiming the child isn't on the birth certificate as mother or father or if the child hasn't been legally adopted by the non-birth parent(s) you'll have to qualify under the federal and state rules for 'relationship' with some sort of proof of the relationship.

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B.M.

answers from Seattle on

W.-

If you want the most benefit from claiming your daughter, try going to TurboTax.com. You can "run" your taxes both ways, and see which way will get the most. The neat thing about TurboTax is it has a nifty little tax return calculator in the corner that will let you know how much you'll be getting.

Best of luck to you! And Congrats on your little bundle of joy!

-B.-

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T.L.

answers from Seattle on

Hi. Taxes can be very confusing huh? I am a stay at home mom, but I have my BS in accounting. It really will make a difference who claims her, but it doesn't matter what her last name is. It just matters that the person claiming her provided more than half of her support in 2007, which sounds like is probably true for either one of you. My first thought is that your partner should claim her becuase he pays more taxes he would get more of a benefit. This is especially true if he can file as head of household and also, if he is eligible for the Earned income credit, that would make it quite a bit more by having a dependent, and the more income the bigger the EIC (but too much can make it so he wouldnt get it at all). It also would depend if he is eligible for the additional child tax credit or can claim daycare expenses. From what you've said it sounds like it would be best for him to, but really I would need more details like income level for each of you (because if he is not eligible for the earned income credit and cant file head of household and you can, it might be better for you to, but it also depends on how much taxes he owes because he can earn quite a bit more tax free if claims her). Really it sounds like it would be easiest to do it both ways and then see what works out better. Are you going to get your taxes done somewhere or are you trying to do them yourself? If you're doing them on your own, there are free online filing systems that you can use that are just as good as having someone else do it for you. And if you are doing them yourself, I'd love to help out, just send me more details. My email is [email protected]____.com, if you are having someone else do them, they will be able to tell you what is best when they have all of your information in front of them. Hope you get this confusing thing worked out.

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C.S.

answers from Spokane on

whoever claims the baby should file as head of household.

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A.H.

answers from Seattle on

Hello,
Either of you can claim her if you want to. The way my ex an I have it arranged is, the person who works the most hours during that year gets to claim her. It would make sense for you guys to get the biggest refund possible. But either of you can claim her.

A.

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D.S.

answers from Seattle on

Whoever can get the most back by claiming her, should claim her. File out both sets of forms and play with the numbers. TurboTax.com is an excellent site to go thru the steps and see where the most benefit can be found. This is a very simple process to use. It asks all the questions and puts the numbers in the right spots for you. Good luck. D.

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D.S.

answers from Seattle on

HI!

My recommendation if you do your own taxes would be to do each of your taxes with and without her then you could see right on paper which would have the most benefit.

Of course if you have a tax preparer do your taxes they should be able to answer that for you.

Good luck!

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H.H.

answers from Eugene on

Really your best bet at this point is to pencil both out. It may seem tedious but if you pencil out all the options together then you file the way that is in your best interest. After you get married you will be more tied to doing it one way. Have you looked at having him file as head of household?

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C.B.

answers from Portland on

You have gotten great responses. The major rule that tax professionals follow is according to IRS, the person who contributes more than 50% of cost of keeping the home for the child is the one that usually claims the deduction. This is mostly in cases of split homes for a child. If you need more info on this feel free to email me. I file taxes for many different circumstances and would be happy to talk to you about this. [email protected]____.com

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A.D.

answers from Seattle on

I hate to say this, but the best way to do it is to prepare four tax returns. One set with him claiming her, one set with you claiming her, file with the set that works out best. If you both claim her, the IRS will apply tie-breaker rules, but it's legal for you to decide between you who's going to claim her.

What you're going to be balancing against is earned income credit vs. child tax credit vs. exemption (and possibly daycare). So if he's in a really high tax bracket he'll get more for the exemption. If one of you has a really low income, your child tax credit might be limited. EIC peaks at somewhere around 15k, so you can't just say if you make more or less, because it phases out on both sides. If you made 15k and he made 50k definitely, you claim her. If he made 15k and you made 4k, he should definitely claim her. But without knowing the numbers you'll have to go through the forms to figure it out.

It used to be you could split it but now only divorced or separated parents can split it. (ie if divorce paperwork says he claims kids every other year, but they live with mom, she gets EIC, he gets child tax credit and exemption).

Also, if you made less than the exemption ($3400) in your part-time work, he can claim you and the baby as dependents if you lived together all year long last year. And actually that would also prevent you from claiming the baby because you can't claim a dependent if you are or could be someone else's dependent.

Since you're a student you may want to also play with financial aid calculators or talk to someone at your school to see if it affects that, but that's out of my area of expertise. Other than I know you can find the calculators on www.collegeboard.com.

This is the first time in four years I haven't professionally prepared returns, so my knowledge is outdated by 1yr, but there aren't any huge shake ups that I've heard about.

Oh, and don't forget about child care expenses if you had any, it counts if you're using childcare to go to school too, not just work. And as a student, don't forget about your education credits!

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L.W.

answers from Portland on

W.,

I'm not sure what either of you made for 2007, but I know if either of you made less than $32,000 then you qualify for EIC (earned income credit) which is like a $2,000 deduction. You also will qualify for the working family care credit. Also make sure you/him (whomever claims the child) file as Head of Household and not just Single. You can also write of any childcare expenses. I made to much this year to do the above and it was a huge difference on my return, for the last (I am single w/1 child) 10 years I usually get anywhere between $2,900 - $4,700. This year with the loss of the two xtra write offs I owe to state and only got $1,700 from federal so that is a HUGE difference. Hope this helps a little. You could also call H&R Block for advice. I also filed my taxes on a site that I found as a link through the IRS site. It's much less expensive than turbo tax and the others. $9.95 each for Federal and State it's called FREE TAX USA.COM It's super easy only took 20 min. Try it both ways before finalizing it and see which comes out to your advantage. :)

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D.L.

answers from Seattle on

W.,
Easy question, easy answer. I dont know. But a tax preparer can easily compare and tell you if it is more profitable for you or your (soon to be) husband to claim your daughter, or if he claims everyone. If you are eligible there is a deduction/tax credit you could get with or with out your dependant claim. If you earn less than 12,590 single or 33,something with one child, you could get up to 4,700. The deduction he would get is only 1000 if he earned more than that. But speak with a tax preparer any way.
You dont need to know alot, just alot of people.

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L.L.

answers from Seattle on

My suggestion would be for you both to do up your taxes having "claimed" her to see who really will get the better benefit from it (just make sure to not send them both in that way). It does not matter which one of you claims her as long as you both agree on it. The IRS could care less as long as she is related to whomever claims her and she only gets claimed by one person. In a lot of divorced situations (mine included) the person who makes the most money is allowed to claim the child for tax benefits, but since you are living together, you should do your taxes and see who will benefit the most. I am assuming that you do your own taxes and do not have someone else do them for you...if you are having someone else do them, you should be able to just take them in and explain the situation..and get an easy answer. I have always done my own taxes and if I were in that situation, I would have to do both ways to see who really would benefit the most. Things change so much from year to year it's difficult to tell sometimes. Good luck!

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T.V.

answers from Seattle on

Did you have any daycare costs? He made the most money so he would file head of household right? You would file single. I have found it most beneficial to do it both ways to see who would benefit most. Are you using Turbo Tax? If you are try doing it both ways. I have found it most beneficial in the past for the person filing head of household to claim the child BUT it depends on how much you made and if you qualify for the Earned Income Credit. I would definately try doing your taxes both ways to see where you reap the most benefit. Turbo Tax is easy it guides you through. If you have any other questions that I can help with I think you can message me through mammasource right? Good Luck

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T.B.

answers from Seattle on

Hi W.,
This is a pretty complicated question. I think that your husband should claim your daughter, because like you said he paid more taxes.
Take care,
T.

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S.B.

answers from Seattle on

i agree. run both of your taxes with the dependent claimed to see who benefits the most. either can claim her despite any marriage or last names etc... just as long as only one claim her. i'd stab a guess that it would benefit the one who made the most money the most. yuck to doing taxes, eh?

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J.E.

answers from Portland on

You should claim her as state laws state that any single woman making less than about $15,000.00 will be available for three different tax credits equaling up to over $10,000.00. If he claims her making more than the fifteen thousand dollars he will only get the standard one credit that is usually around two thousand dollars (depending what state you live in).

I would ask an accountant but you can call the 800 IRS number and ask about federal and state child credits that can apply to your income base before filing.

J. Delker
###-###-####

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D.J.

answers from Spokane on

Are you planning on filing jointly next year? Would it affect your school funding to do so now? If you stick with seperates he should claim her you will get morereturns that way.

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C.H.

answers from Richland on

W. O,
I would have to agree with you on your husband claiming her.. but I dont see the difference in who no matter what last name she has. Just call your H and R..and find out who would better benifit from it. They are always willing to help!
C. H

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J.M.

answers from Portland on

If you are not married, you should claim her.

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M.S.

answers from Seattle on

You should for sure claim her, because you only worked part time and will get more taxes back. Just be sure to file as head of household and you should be able to get either the EIC or Child tax credit. H&R Block has an inexpensive, easy and quick online service. Good Luck!

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K.G.

answers from Seattle on

Figure out each of your taxes with the deduction and without and see who gets more. Don't forget you will probably get the child tax credit as well as the standard deduction. Also to claim her she has to have a social security number.
As far as does it matter, you have to meet the crieria for claiming a child to be able to claim one. So not being married if you don't live together, don't provide more then 50 percent support, etc that can affect it.

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T.H.

answers from Seattle on

I personally would call someone like H&R Block (I've used them for years). They can probably tell you over the phone at no charge.If I remember correctly (this was quite a few years ago)this is what I did with the same situation.I claimed our daughter. I was also able to claim head of household,EIC and took all tax credits for her (plus I had 2 other daughters from a previous marriage so that helped). IRS also has a toll free help line at no charge. The problem w/that is sometimes there is a long hold time. You can also go to their web site at irs.gov.

Hope this was helpful!!

T.

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