Children are Automatically Dependents –FALSE

Having dependents on your tax return is one of the best tax benefits available to taxpayers. Nevertheless, like all things associated with taxes, there are several protocols and regulations everyone must follow – especially when it comes to claiming children as dependent.

Initial Requirements

Whether you are attempting to claim a child or a relative as a dependent, they must successfully pass these requirements.

  • They must be a citizen or resident. The person in question must be a U.S. citizen or a U.S. national, U.S. resident, or a resident of Canada or Mexico.

  • There can only be one dependent claimant. What this means is that you can’t claim someone who, themselves, claims another dependent on their tax form.

  • The dependent cannot file a joint return. You cannot claim someone who is married and files a joint tax return – even if your child is a married teenager or young adult.

Qualifying Your Child  

So, your child has passed the above requirements, but they must meet the child-specific qualifications. Then, you can claim them as a dependent on your tax return.

  • Relationship: The child must be related to you by blood; son, daughter, brother, sister, etc. The child can be related to you by law; stepchild, a foster child, adopted child, or any manner of half-brother or half-sister. The child could also be an offspring of any of these aforementioned relations.

  • Age: The child must be 19 and younger. If they are a full-time student, they can be 24 and younger. Should they be disabled, there is no age restriction.

  • Place of Residence: The child must live with you for more than half the year – there are some exceptions.

  • Work: The child’s job, if they have one, cannot provide for more than half of their support.

  • Multiple Claimants: If more than one person is claiming the child in question as a dependent, then there must be a resolution. TaxRise commonly sees this exact problem causing people to misfile their taxes and incur penalties, especially with children of divorced parents. Refer to the IRS “tie-breaker rules.”

Tax Debt Related to Claiming a Dependent  

If you are currently dealing with tax debt as a result of tax misfiling due to inaccurately claiming a dependent, please call us at 833-419-RISE(7473), and we’ll connect you with one of our tax experts.   

Any new or systemic Liens and/or Levies will also be suspended for the time being.

For taxpayers who are considered “seriously delinquent”, the IRS will suspend any new certifications for the remaining period. Any taxpayer who falls into this category in reminded and encouraged to enter into an Installment Agreement or apply for an Offer In Compromise.

The IRS will not forward any new delinquent accounts to private collection agencies at this time.

Taxpayers have until July 15, 2020 to verify to the IRS they are qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit or to confirm their income. If the taxpayer is unable to verify their credentials or provide appropriate documents for this credit, they are encouraged to notify the IRS before the deadline. No cases will be denied this credit for failure to provide requested information until July 15.

Case workers will continue business as usual. However, most case work will be conducted remotely (video/over the phone conferences). Any requests for documentation sent by the Office of Appeals should be responded to in a timely manner to ensure a smooth process.

The IRS will continue to take the appropriate measures to stay compliant and protect the applicable statutes of limitations. In situations where certain statutes may be compromised, taxpayers are encouraged to extend such statutes. Otherwise, Notices of Deficiency will be issued by the IRS and similar actions will be pursued to protect the interests of the government in preserving such statutes. Where a statutory period is not set to expire during 2020, the IRS is unlikely to pursue the foregoing actions until at least July 15, 2020.

Practitioners are reminded that PPS wait times may be significantly longer, depending on staffing levels and allocations going forward. The IRS will continue to monitor this as situations develop.

“The IRS will continue to review and, where appropriate, modify or expand the People First Initiative as we continue reviewing our programs and receive feedback from others,” Rettig said. “We are committed to helping people get through this period, and our employees will remain focused on these and other helpful efforts in the days and weeks ahead. I ask for your personal support, your understanding – and your patience – as we navigate our way forward together. Stay safe and take care of your families, friends and others.”

Learn how easy it is to qualify for tax savings.

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