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OK, I am a single dad with custody of my son 50% of the time. My ex claims my son as a dependent. I am trying to find out if I can use the child care tax credit for my child care expenses even though he is not a dependent on my taxes.

 

My google-fu is not so strong and I have not found anything addressing this. Any ideas?

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Child care tax credit is what you'd pay for having something else attend to your son -- daycare, babysitters, that sort of thing.

http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=106189,00.html

 

As for who gets to claim your son as a dependant, it gets murky if he's a 50-50 split. The parent with the higher AGI is generally the one to be able to claim him. You'll want to read through Publication 504 which the IRS has preparred to address the complexities of divorces, child custody and so forth.

http://www.irs.gov/publications/p504/index.html

 

You can't split the tax benefits of children between parents. The parent that has your son as a qualifying dependant gets the dependant deduction, earned income credit and the ability to file as head of household.

 

If you both claim the child as a dependant, the IRS will come down on both of you. Don't do that.

 

If you're paying child support that is required by a divorse decree or a parenting agreement, that may be tax free.

 

You might want to look into a professional preparer or a low income taxpayer clinic to get your spefics addressed.

http://www.irs.gov/advocate/article/0,,id=106991,00.html

 

I am neither lawyer nor CPA. Consult a professional.

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Thanks for the information. I know custody, head of household etc, it is just the child care tax credit. It is the first year with significant child care costs. When I tried filing electronically my return was rejected due to his SS number having already been on my wife's claim. I specifically filed him under non dependent child care to make sure I was keeping everything straight. I think I just need to file manually, but am looking for something in writing to make sure I am not misunderstanding the tax code. I forgot one of my friends dad is an accountant and I shot him an email yesterday for clarification. I will post the answer here when I am done

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Also be careful with reporting child care costs.

 

If you are reporting babysitters, you will need their social security number. They will have to claim your payment as income. For us, it's not worth it to give the kids we hire that headache.

 

Day care, iirc, you need their Tax ID number. Pre-school unfortunately doesn't count.

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