TAXES..claiming Dependents

Updated on January 14, 2011
W.W. asks from Huntington, IN
11 answers

My boyfriend and I live together. We have a 13 mo old, my 11yr old from a previous relationship and I'm a stay-at-home Mom. My 11yr old's father cannot claim her because he's way behind on child support. My question is: can my boyfriend claim all 3 of us as dependents on his taxes even if we're not married? We do all live together all year round.

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So What Happened?

Called the IRS and turns that you have to go through a series of questions to determine whether you you are a qualifying relative. If so he can in fact claim one or both as dependents..

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answers from Toledo on

He can claim you and both children if he provided more than half of the support for you and the children. You must have also lived in the same household for at least half the year. For more info go to

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answers from Chicago on

Hi W.,

The fact that your husband is behind on child support is NOT why he can't claim her. The two have NOTHING to do with each other. Dependency is claimed by who the child lives with more days OR is specified in the custodial document.

I believe in order to claim children who are not biologically yours, you (well, in this case your boyfriend) will have to file as "head of household". However, not everyone who wants to claim this can.... so he needs to check with a tax attorney (or someone like H&R block - or just call the IRS directly and ask).

Here is the link that will give you info on 'qualifying dependent'.,,id=218779,00.html

The bottom line is that this is not a cut and dry issue - so I would get some advice from a qualified tax professional - the laws changed in 2004 - so don't rely on someone else's info that may get you audited, have to pay fines & penalty or worse... get in trouble for fraudulent claims on your tax returns.

Good Luck!

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answers from Houston on one other poster wrote there is a time test and I believe that he can file as head of household and claim you all as dependents so long as he provided at least 50% percent of your living expenses/support. This would be worth a consultation with a CPA to ensure you have all the information and proof that is needed.

You don't have to be related or married to be claimed as a dependent.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

No, his is not legally the head of the household. You can claim your own biological children but he cannot claim unrelated children.

By the way, your ex can file taxes, he just won't get a refund, you'll get every penny of it. If he is married his spouse can file injured spouse and be able to keep the portion she paid in but he will not get anything as far as a refund goes.

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answers from Indianapolis on

Yes, he can claim you and both children as head of household if he provided at least half of support needed to live in that house and your ex isn't claiming your older daughter. I'm guessing the agreement with your ex is the same as mine and if he is even a $1 behind as of December 31st, then I get to claim my son (he gets our son every year and I get our daughter every year). If you take turns claiming your daughter, then the years you claim her, he can take

If somone lives with you for more than half the year and you provide their support, you may claim them on your taxes as long as no other eligible person claims them. It doesn't matter who the person is, they could be the man on the moon and if you could claim them as long as nobody else is eligible to. If someone else is also able to claim them, you just have to agree who claims that person that year.

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answers from New York on

How do you know the 11yo's father can not claim his daughter. Child support has absolutely nothing to do with claiming a dependent.

No, your boyfriend can not claim you and your child as a dependent. He can, however, file as Head of Household. See the instructions for form 1040.

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answers from La Crosse on

I believe your child would have to be biologically related, married, legal guardian or adopted for him to claim your child and yourself. Only you or bio daddy can claim your daughter until you legally take action. The only person he can claim is your child together.



answers from Houston on

The rules for dependents are below. If you and your 11 year-old made less than $3650.00 each and he provided more than 50% of the money to support you for at least 6 months and 1 day he can claim all of you.

In order to qualify as your dependent, a person must be your qualifying child or qualifying relative. In order to meet the qualifying child test, the child must be your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, sister, brother, half-brother, half-sister or a descendant of one of these persons; under the age of 19 at the end of the tax year (or 24 if a full-time student); must have lived with you for six months plus one day; must not have provided more than half her own support; and must not be filing a joint return. In order to meet the qualifying relative test, a person must not be your qualifying child but must live with you, have earned less than $3,650 during the tax year and have provided less than half his own support.

Read more: IRS Dependent Information |



answers from Cleveland on

i think if he supports them and all three of you have lived together year round he can but im not 100% sure. i know my boyfriend is claiming me and our daughter because we have lived together for the past year full time and i am a sahm. i know he can claim you and your child together thought but im not sure about your son


answers from Jacksonville on

Regarding your boyfriend claiming your 11 yr old...
what do your support/custody documents say on this issue? If they say Dad can claim her, then whether or not he is behind on his support is irrelevant. The only thing relevant is the court order saying who gets to claim her. Some orders say that the parents alternate years... what does YOURS say?

If you do not feel like he SHOULD be able to claim her for this past year, you can always file a motion to modify that provision of your court order. But until you do (assuming the court order gives the 'right to claim the child as a dependent for tax purposes' to bio dad), if boyfriend claims her, and he gets audited... he is committing fraud.


answers from Modesto on

You cannot claim a person as a dependent unless that person is your qualifying child or qualifying relative.
He can claim his child but that's it.

oops.. found this, so maybe he can: (b) must live with you all year as a member of your household .Since you are not related to your boyfriend you must have lived with him the entire year.
Just make sure you have proof that you have lived with him the entire year in case you get audited.