If you have a child and are divorced, separated or simply not living with the other parent, deciding who gets to claim the child as a dependent in Oklahoma can be rather tricky. Only one of you is entitled to claim the dependent exemption for a child each year and the IRS keeps a close eye on Social Security numbers to keep both of you from getting the exemption.
As a general rule, you need to provide at least 50 percent of a child’s support during a given year if you want to claim them as a dependent on your taxes for that year. Couples often decide between themselves who will claim the child as dependent. If however, you cannot come to an agreement, the court will make the decision for you based on criteria applicable to the following three scenarios:
1. If you are legally divorced, separated, did not live together for the last 6 months of the year, or possess a maintenance agreement, and more than half of the support for the child during the year came from one or both of the parents, and both parents had custody of the child for sometime during the year, the custodial parent or parent who had custody the longest during the year, is entitled to claim the child as dependent.
However, if the custodial parent waives his or her right to claim the dependent exemption in a divorce decree or separation agreement, etc., the non-custodial parent can claim the child and receive the exemption. Alternately, the custodial parent can waive the right to the exemption by using IRS Form 8332, which then the non-custodial parent must attach to his or her tax return to receive the exemption. You may relinquish your right to the exemption for one or more years, but when you do relinquish your right to receive the exemption, you also forfeit the Child Tax Credit for that year.
2. If you are not married, lived together for the last 6 months of the year, or you do not have a written agreement concerning child support or child custody, whomever provides more than 50 percent support for the child during the year, is entitled to claim the dependent exemption for that year.
3. If the parents share custody and provide for the child on a 50/50 basis, the rules become much more complicated and it can be difficult to determine who is entitled to the exemption. Typically in this situation, the courts will make the decision based on what is in the overall best interest of the child. Should you want to know about what criteria is used in this scenario, you can consult IRS Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information, or employ an experienced attorney to help you clarify the rules.
So in general, the parent who provides the greater part of support for the child (more then 50 percent), whom the IRS always assumes is the custodial parent or parent who has custody the longest, gets to claim the child as a dependent in Oklahoma. The IRS will however approve of agreements made to the contrary, if they are stated in a divorce decree, separation agreement etc., or if the custodial parent relinquishes the exemption on IRS Form 8332.
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Tulsa Oklahoma Divorce Attorney
To find out more about divorce and tax issues in Oklahoma, contact the Tulsa divorce attorney at Divorce Law Office of Tulsa: 918-924-5526. We offer free, no obligation consultations. If you prefer you may send your question using the “Ask the Lawyer” form on the right side of this page.