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How Do We Determine Who Can Claim Our Children on Our Taxes?

man doing his taxes

How to Determine Who Can Claim Their Children on Their Taxes

With tax season approaching, you may be preparing your W2, 1099, and other tax documents for filing. But as a divorced parent with joint legal custody of your children, you may be unsure of how exactly to file your taxes and your eligibility to claim the child tax credit.

Our Waukesha County child custody and support attorneys at The Law Offices of Mark S. Knutson, S.C. explain what you should know about claiming your children on your taxes following your divorce.

What Is the Child Tax Credit?

The child tax credit (CTC) is a federal tax credit that parents can claim for their dependent children. Parents can claim up to $3,600 per child under the age of 6 and $3,000 per child aged 6 to 17 on their federal income taxes.

For the parent to claim the CTC, their child must be classified as a dependent child by the IRS. To claim the full CTC, single parents must make less than $112,500 each tax year.

If the parent makes more than the maximum allowable income to claim the full child tax credit, the CTC will be lowered by $60 for every $1,000 the parent makes over $112,500. If the filing parent makes $200,000 or more, they can claim up to $2,000 per child.

Which Parent Can Claim the CTC?

According to the IRS, both parents cannot claim the CTC if they file their taxes separately. However, it ultimately depends on the child’s placement schedule with each parent to determine who exactly can claim the CTC.

If the child spends more than half of the year with one parent, that parent can claim the CTC for their children. However, that parent does have the ability to waive the CTC and allow the IRS to award the other parent the CTC by signing IRS Form 8332 and the other parent includes this signed form in their tax documents when filing.

If you are the parent who is eligible to claim the CTC and wish to waive it, call your child’s other parent to discuss your decision and explain they can claim the CTC on their taxes. Together, you can sign IRS Form 8332 and provide the child’s other parent with the form to submit with their taxes.

As an option in our Waukesha County child custody and support law firm, in the terms of the Judgement of Divorce, the parties can agree to allocate the CTC differently than the law provides.

In the case of a mid-year divorce, the child may spend more than half of the year with both parents. Both parents would be eligible to claim the child on their tax returns, however, the IRS will only award the CTC to the parent with whom the child spent the most amount of time in the calendar year.

How Do I Determine Who Spent More Time with Our Children?

When determining which parent is eligible for claiming the CTC, you may need to review your child custody plan and placement schedule. When reviewing your custody agreement, count the days included in the placement schedule. Your agreement might have the allotted days with each parent listed for your convenience.

If you are having trouble determining which parent spent the majority of the year with your child, consult a child custody attorney to guide you through this process. The attorney can help you better understand your placement schedule complexities and review your eligibility for claiming the CTC when filing your taxes this year.

The Law Offices of Mark S. Knutson, S.C. Child Custody and Support Attorneys

Making sure that your taxes are correct can be stressful, especially as a divorced parent. At The Law Offices of Mark S. Knutson, S.C., our attorneys are prepared to guide you through the complexities of child custody and support.

Call our child custody and support attorneys at The Law Offices of Mark S. Knutson, S.C. at (262) 205-0705 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation with our team.