Many divorced and separated parents in Kansas save a lot of tax money by claiming their children as dependents. In some cases, however, both parents feel the right to claim a child. It might come down to the primary caregiver doing battle with the primary financial provider.
The IRS doesn’t normally get involved in custody disputes or issues related to child support. In most cases, the agency will accept the dependent claim of the first person to file a return. If both parties attempt to claim the child for the same tax year, the IRS will reject the later filed return. The right to claim a child can be challenged with the IRS or through the courts.
However, the IRS does have rules in cases of disputes. First, if the child resides with one parent predominantly, that parent is given preference. In shared custody situations where parenting time is relatively equal, the IRS grants the claim to the person with the higher adjusted gross income. Normally, in situations where the child has resided with third parties for a portion of the year, biological parents are given preference.
In Kansas, tax considerations can be looked at by the court to raise or lower child support obligations. In order to avoid this issue, it is best to have an agreement worked out before taxes are filed. With help from a lawyer or mediator, parties can agree to alternate years of claiming the child or split dependents if there are multiple children. The IRS 8332 form can be used for this purpose.