Federal Tax Question

When I divorced in 1992 I signed a 8332 form giving my ex the ability to claim our son as his dependent and I claimed our daughter.

My son turned 18 on 9/9/2006. He was living with me, he has always lived with me, and he was working but he did not make enough money to be obligated to file his own taxes.

As such I listed him on my taxes as a dependent.

I just received a letter from the IRS yesterday stating that someone else had also listed him as a dependent.

So at this point I can assume his father listed him on the sole reason he had the 8332 form.

I assumed the 8332 form became void once our son turned 18 and at that point he should be listed under normal dependent status which I assumed gave me the right to list him as he had lived with me during the entire 2006 tax year.

Was I at fault to claim him? or was his father at fault?

I wanted to ad that he was not in school as of 18 and I stopped child support about a week after he turned 18.

What does it matter whose fault it was? What really matters is who is entitled to the exemption, no?

The first is a moral question - the second is a legal question.

As far as the moral question goes, I would ask you the following questions: Which tax years are specified in the form 8332 you signed? Does your divorce decree say anything about the issue?

I was not asking so I could point fingers, I thought it was a fair question. If I am at fault, then so be it but I don’t think I am.

I was under the impression that once a child turns 18, is no longer in school and the child support has ceased then the 8332 form would no longer be valid. I think that my son fell under the normal tax dependency rules and not the rules laid out in the divorce.

Since he lived with me for the entire 2006 year then I think I should get the exemption.

I would have to look back but there was no tax year as I remember and all child support and tax stuff was to stop when he became 18 years of age and he was not a student.

I seem to recall that under IRS regulations, a full-time student can be claimed as a dependent through age 25. But don’t rely on my word (or that of any other poster) on legal matters, check the relevant publication at the IRS web site (as well as the divorce agreement and your original 8332).

I don’t know what the answer to your question is, but my money is on whatever you agreed to, which is almost certainly in writing. I say this because courts usually enforce the written settlement agreements of parties to a dispute.

I do not believe that the rules of the IRS differentiate with regard to dependents on the basis of age. Turning 18 doesn’t automatically end the ability of the non-custodial parent to be entitled to the exemption of the dependent child. Read the [url=http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8332.pdfinstructions found on Form 8332 (pdf file).

The question then becomes what the divorce decree’s terms are. The decree’s determination of who gets to claim the exemption will not end at 18 automatically, absent a statement to that effect. From a practical standpoint, if the non-custodial parent is no longer obligated to pay support, then it is probably not intended that the non-custodial parent obtain the exemption. If this needs clarification by the court, you may have to ask the court for an amended order. Of course, you can always simply refuse to provide the 8332, and point out to the IRS that your ex-spouse isn’t filing a valid 8332 with the exemption claim, but I generally recommend settling this sort of thing by communicating. :slight_smile: