Tax Tips for Single Moms (or Single Dads)

January 5, 2011 by
Filed under: Tax Preparation, Uncategorized 

Welcome to the world of parenthood. Raising kids is hard enough with help but it’s even harder when you’re alone. Here are some tips to help you navigate the changes that will happen to your tax return, because you deserve a little help once in awhile.

Claiming your baby as a dependent: If you are earning income (over $3650), then you’re going to want to file a tax return and claim your baby as a dependent. I sometimes hear women say they didn’t claim their children because the child was born in December and they read the child is supposed to live with you for 7 months. In the year of birth, you claim the child even if he was born on December 31st. Let’s be honest, if you’ve just gone through a pregnancy, that child has been living with you for more than 7 months anyway. Claim your baby! We’ll talk a little more about possibly letting someone else claim the baby, but unless there are special circumstances, plan on it being you.

Changing your filing status: If you’re on your own and supporting yourself, then once your baby is born you will change your filing status from Single to Head of household. It gets a little more complicated if you are living with your parents, the baby’s father, or someone else. The issue becomes, who is providing most of the support for the child? If you’re using computer software, there are all sorts of questions you can ask to determine how much support is provided to the baby and by whom, but here’s a quick and easy technique that’s pretty helpful. If you prepare the tax return with Head of Household status, and then switch it to Single status and the refund amount is exactly the same, then claim Single as your filing status. If your income is so low that your refund won’t change, then you really don’t need Head of Household status. The IRS will audit returns claiming HH status when the income is too low, they never audit Single for the income being low. Why not just avoid a headache that you don’t need. The Earned Income Credit amount is the same for single as Head of Household filers.

What about letting someone else claim the baby? If you are living with the baby’s father and it would benefit you to have the child on his tax return instead of yours, then that’s fine. If you are living with your parents and they are supporting you and the baby, you can let your parents claim the child. Your parents would have to make more money than you do to be able to do this.

Letting anyone outside of you, the father, or a grandparent claim your child on a tax return has the potential to get you into trouble and even land you in jail for tax fraud. There are a few situations where it can be done, but for that you should go see a professional. The rules regarding dependents change often. Things that were allowed a few years ago aren’t allowed now. Sometimes well meaning friends and relatives can give you bad advice which could get you into big trouble. Protect yourself.

The Earned Income Credit: Many single moms, especially when they’re just starting out, qualify for the Earned Income Credit. It’s a refundable credit, that means you get the money even if you didn’t pay any tax into the system. EIC is a big deal and can make a huge difference on your refund. That’s why people may want to try and claim your baby for you. There’s between $13 to $14 billion dollars a year of EIC fraud. It’s also why you need to be careful, the IRS is very aggressive about pursuing EIC fraud—that’s why you don’t let anyone else claim your child.

Also, you need to protect your child’s social security card like it was gold—it’s that valuable. Infant identity theft happens all the time. You won’t know it’s happened until you file your tax return and it get’s rejected because someone else has claimed your child. Do not carry the card around in your purse. If you have a safe deposit box, put it there. Store it someplace safe.


Note:  We try to answer all the questions that come to us but please be patient.  It’s our busy season right now.  We may not get to your post until the weekend.  When you make a post and use the capcha code, it won’t immediately show up.  You see, for every normal person like you that posts, there’s about three advertisements for things your mother wouldn’t approve of.  (We try to keep this a G rated website.)   We have to edit those out.  If you need an answer right away, here are some links that might help:

EIC questions of any kind:–Use-the-EITC-Assistant-to-Find-Out-if-You-Should-Claim-it.

How to find free tax preparers:

How to find your local IRS office:

If you want to hire us, please call (314) 275-9160 or email us.  We do prepare returns for people all over the country (and a few foreign countries as well.)  We are sorry but we cannot prepare an EIC return for someone outside of the St. Louis area because of the due diligence requirements.


405 Comments on Tax Tips for Single Moms (or Single Dads)

  1. Jan Roberg on Thu, 6th Jan 2011 2:09 am
  2. I posted this blog this morning and this afternoon I spoke with a woman whose child had been illegally claimed by someone else. If this happens to you, you can fight back. If your e-filed return gets rejected because someone else has claimed your child, what you need to do is keep your child as a dependent on your return and mail it to the IRS. It forces an audit on whoever claimed your child. (You’ll have to answer the same audit questions, but it’s your child, you’ll know the answers. You win!)

  3. Sam on Fri, 4th Feb 2011 12:50 am
  4. hi there, I was curious to know what expenses(with regards to my self and children) or donations i’ve made I can get a refund/percentage back from when I file taxes as a single mom/head of household?

  5. Jan Roberg on Fri, 4th Feb 2011 5:27 pm
  6. Hi Sam, Thanks for asking.

    Generally, a single mom (or single parent) qualifies for all of the same deductions for donations and stuff like that, that any other person might qualify for. The two biggies of course are the Earned Income Credit and the Child Tax credit. After that comes the child care credit-if you have to pay for child care while you’re at work. If your child is older, there are the education tax credits-the best one is worth $2500.

    If you file a Schedule A – the form where you itemize your deductions, there are some things that are pretty much “parent type” donations as well. For example, if you are your child’s scout leader, then you can deduct your mileage and your expenses related to being a scout leader. Same goes for being the class mom at school You can’t deduct for the value of your time (don’t I wish though) but you can deduct your expenses that are directly related to the organization.

    Don’t forget to claim the resale value of the items you donate to the Good Will. Cribs, baby clothes, maternity clothes. You can’t claim what you paid for them as your donation but you can claim what Good Will would sell them for.

    I hope that answers your question.

  7. Heather on Sun, 1st Jan 2012 6:16 pm
  8. Hello I was wondering who would benefit more from claiming our child, me or his dad? We live together, both work and both pay bills. Just wondering who would get more back. Thank you!!

  9. Heather on Sun, 1st Jan 2012 6:17 pm
  10. Sorry forgot to add that we are not married,,,

  11. Jan Roberg on Sun, 1st Jan 2012 6:43 pm
  12. Hi Heather,
    that’s probably the number one question everybody needs to ask. The answer is: “It depends.” You and the Dad are not married, and I’m assuming that he is the biological father. You’re both custodial parents, you’re raising your child together so either one of you can claim your child legally. So–who get’s the better deal? It’s all going to depend upon how much each of you make. If you were fighting–the IRS tie breaker rules always go to the parent that makes more money. But you’re not fighting, you’re in this together so you can chose. I would run both of your tax returns both ways and see what works out the best for you as a family.
    I have one warning: You could potentially run into an issue with “head of household” status. Technically, the person with the higher income is providing more than half of the support. If your incomes are close together, I don’t worry about that very much–there’s a whole worksheet on figuring support and it can be manipulated a little bit in one person’s favor. If one of you makes a lot more than the other one, where clearly one of you is providing the support for the household, but the other one would be able to claim more on an Earned Income Credit, the lower income person could claim the child for EIC but claim single as the filing status.
    Like I said, if your incomes are close–I wouldn’t worry about it and just do what works out best for your family. If your incomes are far apart–and the whole head of household thing freaks you out, go together to a tax professional and have her work out the best strategy for you as a family.

  13. Francheska on Sat, 14th Jan 2012 11:08 pm
  14. Hello, I have been wondering this for the longest time. I have a 10 months old little boy. The father and I are not together. However, we do get along and the father gets my son every other weekend. His income was a lot more higher then mine this year, but I worked for a total of about 4 months getting minimum wage. The question is which one of us would get more back for the little one. The father is willing to share whatever he gets back with me since I provide the most for my little one. But I’m not going to let him claim him if I would get more back. Someone please help me. Would I be eligible for Earned Income Credit??


  15. Admin Roberg on Sun, 15th Jan 2012 4:00 pm
  16. Hi Francheska,
    Since you and your boy’s father are not together, and the child is living with you, your ex cannot claim the chld for EIC, but you probably can. To figure out how much EIC you can get, here’s a link to the IRS website. It’s a calculator that will tell you how much EIC you’ll get based upon your income:;jsessionid=qJxLPS2f0QKy9c6hLhB0WtQVhTJBx2knhXPM2lVwNDF4PqphG8FK!396704386!724040490

    Now, you may be able to split your exemption with the father, you claim EIC and head of household status (if you qualify) and the father claims the exemption and the child tax credit. Here’s a link about doing that: If you did that, you would need to sign a form 8332 to allow him to do that.

    You might want to get a professional to help you if you wind up splitting the exemption, you want to make sure that it’s done right. (Otherwise someones return will get rejected and it’s a pain in the backside.) Good luck.

  17. Gena on Mon, 16th Jan 2012 9:04 pm
  18. Hello, i have a 3 year old and the father and i are not together. My son and I have lived with my boyfriend for about 6 months in his house. When we do our taxes does my boyfriend file HH since he owns it or since we arent married does his stuff not have anything to do with mine? We split the bills but since he makes more than me he pays most of them. So my question would be since technically im “single” should i file Single or HH?

  19. Jan Roberg on Mon, 16th Jan 2012 10:08 pm
  20. Hi Gena,
    You’re kind of on the borderline for the Single vs Head of Household filing status. Your boyfriend would definitely file as single. Here’s my quick and dirty test to see if you should claim single or head of household–prepare your tax return using the head of household filing status-claiming your son, EIC, child tax credit, etc. See what your refund is. Got it? Okay, now change your filing status to single. Does it change your refund? If the answer is no–then you probably should not claim head of household status because your income is so low. If it does change your refund–then you probably should be claiming head of household status.
    I realize that this doesn’t exactly jive with the IRS worksheet, but I’ve found it to be pretty reliable and much easier than the head of household worksheet the IRS provides. Especially in your case because you only lived with your boyfriend for 6 months–so you’ve got another 6 months where he wasn’t providing support.
    Bottom line, since you and your boyfriend are not married, basically his stuff has nothing to do with your taxes.

  21. Jamie Kaeding on Wed, 18th Jan 2012 4:49 am
  22. I am a single mom but I am living with my 4 months old father. We are wondering which one of us should claim her. I made about $12,000 last year where he made closer to $50,000…. We don’t understand all of the rules and where it would benefit us more.

  23. Admin Roberg on Thu, 19th Jan 2012 2:34 am
  24. Hi Jamie,
    So I’m thinking that you and the Dad are a happy couple and you’re “together” and trying to make a family that works, right? So I’m giving my advice based on you three being a family unit, okay?
    Your best bet is to go online and set up your tax returns. Both of you. You can even do it from here–click on the do it yourself link.
    Because you are both the parents and you live together, you both have a legal right to claim your baby. So, you need to figure your best overall solution. You have two scenarios:
    1. You-file single, claim baby, EIC, child tax credit
    Daddy–file single, no baby, no nothing

    2. You-file single, no dependent, but you might qualify for some EIC because of your income
    Daddy-file head of household, claim baby, child tax credit

    See which scenario gives you the best refund.

  25. monica on Fri, 20th Jan 2012 7:32 pm
  26. Hi i have a friend who has 2 children she has been in college and supporting herself and children by using student loans and recieveing state assistance. please Tell me how she can file taxes. is she able to use the unearned income credit? what other options does she have? Also she worked as a student apprentice at a salon for i month and earned only tips. please help. Thank YoU!

  27. Admin Roberg on Sat, 21st Jan 2012 3:14 am
  28. Hi Monica,
    Student loans and state assistance don’t count as earned income so that won’t help her with her taxes. But those tips may help a little. It won’t count for much but it’s better than nothing.
    But here’s a question for your friend–how’s she getting by? Does she have a roommate? Is she living with a parent? If she’s living with a parent, her parent might be able to claim the kids on their tax return. A roommate might also be able to, but the rules are really strict and they wouldn’t qualify for EIC or a child tax credit so it’s not a real good option. Sorry.

  29. melinda on Sat, 21st Jan 2012 4:00 pm
  30. I live in a different state than my daughter who resided with her father. He put her out on the streets in May. My parents took her in. With her residing with my parents for more than 6 months they claimed her on their taxes. IRS rejected the taxes because her father claimed her. How should my parents proceed? I have documents from her school showing when she was absent from school due to him kicking her out. Would that suffice?

  31. Admin Roberg on Sat, 21st Jan 2012 5:52 pm
  32. Hi Melinda,
    I’m attaching a link to a page that may be more helpful to you:
    Even though your parents are not the ex, they still will follow the same procedures.
    Bottom line, they’ll take their tax return and mail it in instead of e-filing. That will get the ball rolling. Good luck.

  33. Kevin on Sat, 21st Jan 2012 6:25 pm
  34. Hello, I live with my girlfriend and our 14 month old son. She has been a stay at home mom for the past year and has not earned any income. Am I allowed to file as head of household and claim them both as dependants? Since she has had no income whatsoever, I assume she would not qualify for any sort of tax credits. Thank you for your time.

  35. Admin Roberg on Sat, 21st Jan 2012 7:36 pm
  36. Hi Kevin,
    I’m assuming that you are providing for your girlfriend and your son and that they have both lived with you for over 6 months. So yes, you can. You can claim your son as your qualifying child and, since your girlfriend has no income–you can claim her as a dependent too.
    Now, if you’re both living with her parents or something like that, then you can’t claim your girlfriend, but as the biological father, you can still claim your son.

  37. sheena on Sun, 22nd Jan 2012 9:57 am
  38. I live with my 2 yr old and her father as well as with my parents, my fiance made about 25000 and im guessing i made about the same or less because of my hours decreasing…im also wondring who should claim my daughter….last yr i claimed her but not ubder head of house hold, i claimed single….what should i do..

  39. Admin Roberg on Sun, 22nd Jan 2012 2:42 pm
  40. Hi Sheena,
    Personally, I would sit down with the father of your two year old and work it out together to see what’s the best tax situation for the three of you. With an income of $25,000 each, I’m not feeling like your parents are supporting you. I’m guessing that you two are paying rent and stuff like that.
    As far as claiming head of household, assuming that your incomes truly are about the same, whoever claims the child will claim head of household.
    Okay–tax geeks reading this will gasp and go “Oh NO! Head of household has to provide more than 50% of the support! If he makes more, she can’t be head of household!” And that’s absolutely true–but–if you’re pretty close income wise, then you can make a very good argument that you do provide more than 50% of the support for the household. Because you’re paying the household expenses and the father is paying for entertainment expenses and things unrelated to the household. (Or at least you allocate it that way if there were ever an audit issue.)
    But at your income and the fact that no one will challenge you on claiming your 2 year old, I have not problem with you claiming head of household.
    So run the numbers both ways, see what works out best for you as a family, and take the difference between filing one way versus the other and put it into a savings account for your 2 year old. That gives you a win/win/win situation.

  41. AMBER on Sun, 22nd Jan 2012 11:59 pm
  42. i am 22 single mom and live at home with parents.My daughter is 3. i have lived here for the whole year. I have worked from oct 2011-present. wen to school partime nov 2010-sept 2011.

    Can i claim my daughter on my taxes as my dependent. My parents keep telling me they should be claiming her bcuz i love at home with them and they pay the morgage and heat water food bills.

    Also her father cannot claim her he is not in her life.

    So what i need to know is…..Should they be claiming her as there dependent or me.?

    Thank you

  43. AMBER on Mon, 23rd Jan 2012 12:00 am
  44. also….what should my filing status be?

  45. AMBER on Mon, 23rd Jan 2012 12:01 am
  46. And they do make more money than me : )

  47. AMBER on Mon, 23rd Jan 2012 12:02 am
  48. and i do have a car payment if that matters?sorry

  49. Jan Roberg on Mon, 23rd Jan 2012 1:36 am
  50. Hi Amber,
    What I like about your situation is that it sounds like you live in a loving family with loving parents that love you and your daughter. So this is a great situation. Now here’s what I think is going to be the best solution for you all as a family–
    1. I think that your parents should claim your daughter–exemption, child tax credit and anything else that goes with it.
    2. I also think that your parents should claim you–here’s why
    a. you’re only 22 and were still in college for most of 2011, that means you can qualify as their dependent
    b. not only will they get a deduction for you, there’s also a college tax credit for tuition that they paid (or you paid.)
    c. I’m guessing that your income was pretty low so you wouldn’t get nearly as much for claiming yourself (or your daughter) as your parents would.
    3. So you would file your return as single with zero exemptions.

    But I could also be way wrong here. Depending upon how the numbers play out. So although I think what I just told you is the best solution–you might want to mock up a fake return first to see if the numbers pan out the way I say they will. You can use the link, you don’t pay unless you actually file a return.

    Here’s what you’ll see–you’ll get a bigger refund if you claim your daughter instead of having your parents claim her–that’s going to be a no brainer. The issue is what’s the biggest refund when you combine your tax refund with your parents?

    You are legally entitled to claim your daughter on your return–no argument. But, do file as single and not head of household because they clearly support you. But because you are a united family unit–you have the right to choose not to claim your daughter on your tax return and allow your parents to claim her. This is not illegal and it’s quite possible that it may be the best solution all the way around.

    There’s potential for a win/win/win situation–money back for you, money back for your parents, and the extra money that comes because you planned it out will be money to put in your daughter’s savings account so that she’ll have money for college when the time comes.

    Talk it over with your parents, but I think working together with them is your best option. Good luck.

  51. shiny on Mon, 23rd Jan 2012 7:38 pm
  52. Hello I hope you can help me this year my sons dad gets to claim him, he has not seen are son in a year. In are big D paper work this is his year. Can I claim are son as head of household on my Taxs.

  53. Admin Roberg on Tue, 24th Jan 2012 1:21 am
  54. Hi Shiny,
    If you are divorced, and you have custody of your son, then you may claim him for head of household and for EIC (if you qualify.) You ex–because of your agreement, may claim the exemption and the child tax credit. Here’s a blog post that tells you more about it:

  55. Shea on Tue, 24th Jan 2012 12:59 pm
  56. Hi I have town children and the father and i are not together. I was letting his clam one and I clam the other but about two years ago he has not been supporting the children enough to clam. I ask his not to clam in 2010 tax and he did anyway. I didn’t fight it however, I did express for it not to happen again. He didn’t any of that money on the children and I didn’t see a dime of it. This year I efiled clam both my kids and my efile was rejected. I know he claim my son and I am so upset. What should I do?

  57. Admin Roberg on Tue, 24th Jan 2012 9:08 pm
  58. Hi Shea,
    You’re going to mail your tax return in to the IRS. Here’s a post that explains what will happen:

    The important issue is going to be: who do the kids live with? I’m thinking it’s you, therefore, you can file for them. Read the other post, it will tell you everything. Good luck.

  59. melissa on Sat, 28th Jan 2012 1:09 am
  60. hi i was woundering can i claim my child that will be born 2012 on my tax?

    also i made 6000 something last year because i had to stop working cause im pregnant do u kn how much will i get back

  61. Admin Roberg on Sat, 28th Jan 2012 11:10 pm
  62. Hi Melissa,
    You can’t claim your child until after it’s born. I have no idea how much you’ll get back because I don’t know all the facts. You can run the numbers yourself just by clicking on the “do your own 2011 taxes” link at the top. There’s no charge to run a practice return and if you only need a 1040EZ, then it’s free.

  63. Cassie on Tue, 31st Jan 2012 12:10 am
  64. Hi My boyfriend and I have a one year old together. I stay at home with our son while he works full time. I dont work. He also has a 9 year old daughter which stays with us weekly but her main residence is with her mom. He has had his current job for the exactly a year now, but the 2 years before that he had problems with keeping a steady job and fell about $ 6,000behind in child support. I think because I didnt work, I cannot file a tax return correct? So he would claim our son. But would the return he would get be confiscated by the state and used to pay off his child support debt? And if they would keep his return is there any way i can file and claim our son? which is the best way to go here? I know he needs to pay up his debt but not using the money we would get for our son. We barely make it as it is. Thank you!

  65. Jan Roberg on Tue, 31st Jan 2012 3:00 am
  66. Hey Cassie,
    If you had no income you wouldn’t get any refund back so it wouldn’t do you any good. This might be a good way to help your boyfriend clear up his debt. I know, you hate for money for your child to go to someone else–but since you would get nothing–at least you are helping your boyfriend solve his problem.
    Sorry, I know it’s not the answer you wanted to hear.

  67. iris on Tue, 31st Jan 2012 7:39 am
  68. Hi, im 23 and I have a 5 month old baby and I live at home! My older brother pays for all my daughters expenses and would like to claim her. We do live with our parents but my father has identity theft so they always end up paying rather than recieving money back. Im confused on what to so especially since my mom needs to file from 2 years back as well. Also what can I deduct on my brothers income taxs? Will her crib and baby stuff be able to be added as a deduction???

  69. Jan Roberg on Tue, 31st Jan 2012 5:33 pm
  70. Hi Iris,
    It’s possible that your brother could claim your baby–but you could also be walking a slippery slope. First–what about you? Do you have any income? Second–what about your parents? Who provides the support for the household? And where is the father of the baby? There could be issues with him too.

    You can’t claim a deduction for baby stuff like a crib. Basically, you get an exemption and maybe a child tax credit–no baby deductions.

    It’s possible that your brother may be able to claim her–but there’s a whole bunch of unanswered questions that need addressing. I don’t think you should go this alone. Here’s where to find free tax help:

    Like I said, your brother might be able to claim your baby, but you’ll want to cover your behind because you’ve got other issues. I don’t want to just say yes or no, and have it be there’s information I’m missing. Good luck.

  71. iris on Tue, 31st Jan 2012 7:04 pm
  72. Her father wants nothing to do with her, no acknowledges he has a daughter. He has never seen or called for her, nor is on her birth certificate. I have never filed child support either. My brother is the sole provider for her. Im not working my family and i decided id be a stay at home mom till my daughter is 1. As for my parents they have 2 taxs from previous years that need to be taken care of as well. So im not sure they can even claim her or will have the money to do there taxs on time this year. The have to pay over 300to just to get their taxs done.

  73. Jan Roberg on Tue, 31st Jan 2012 9:01 pm
  74. Here Iris:
    That’s the link to the IRS website. It’s a questionaire that basically helps you determine if your brother can claim your child on his tax return.

    Be sure to answer all of the questions honestly and it will guide you to the correct answer. I’m guessing yes, but you’ve got other issues. This will go through all the questions that you need to answer. Better to be safe than sorry.

  75. chelsey on Tue, 31st Jan 2012 9:05 pm
  76. hi im still legally married to my husband who just withdrawn from the marine corp 3 months ago. Were currently going through a divorce, i just received the papers 4 weeks ago. We have been split up for over a year so while he was stationed in NC and living there, i lived in MI with my son who is 2. I have financially provided for him the past yr and i live on my own with my son. I work at a bar and get paid under the table. I go to school and while im in school my mom takes care of him. Would it be more beneficial to claim im seperated (goign through a divorce) and claim my child without him, or should we file jointly because were technically still married. Which would get the most money becaus eim debating whether or not to help him out and file jointly even though ive provided for my child on my own.

  77. Jan Roberg on Tue, 31st Jan 2012 10:10 pm
  78. @Chelsey,
    Legally you are allowed to file a head of household and claim your child because you lived apart for at least the last six months of last year. So that is an option for you.
    If you are trying to have an amicable divorce, and if he’s a decent guy and not some horrible person, I recommend filing jointly and splitting the refund. If you file as head of household, he’ll have to file Married filing separate and it will totally mess up this taxes.
    Then, if you can bear it, you two should sit down and talk about what the future holds for the three of you–child support, claiming taxes, and stuff like that. He’ll need to change his withholding so that he doesn’t get burned next year at tax time.
    One thing you two should consider–the difference between you filing together versus separate–use the extra money to put into a savings account for your child’s future. That’s a compromise you can both feel good about. Good luck.

  79. Mburks on Wed, 1st Feb 2012 12:24 am
  80. Hello Ms Roberg, I’m being reviewed by the IRS due to my daughter father, and I have both claim her in 2010, its 2012 and Im waiting on my tax refund because I claim her this year, she lived with him part of 2010 and I have custody of her now she lives with me. Do I have to pay back money to the IRS or do he because I lost my job 12/2011 and my bills are piling up. I also claimed my son who is not his child and I receive EIC, but I’m being reviewed and this is the first time this has ever happened to me. Do I receive a refund still.

  81. Jan Roberg on Wed, 1st Feb 2012 2:36 am
  82. @Mburks,
    Those reviews are pretty scary aren’t they? First things first–your daughter lived with your ex for part of 2010–but did she live with your more? You’ve gotten that letter and you’ll have to prove that you had her more than your ex did. If that’s true, then you should win your case. If he had her more, then he’ll win the case and you will have to pay back the money.
    So the first thing you want to do is settle that issue.
    Now–if you owe the IRS money, they will take it out of your refund for 2012–that’s not so good.
    The other issue is, you lost your job–if you do owe the IRS money, you need to contact them and explain that you lost your job. Ask to be put into “currently uncollectable status”. You’ll still owe the money and interest will accrue, but it will at least keep the IRS dogs at bay while you try to find a job and get yourself back on your feet. You should be able to do that without hiring a professional. Currently uncollectable is only for if you owe the money. If you are going to win your case–don’t bother with that–work on your case.
    Get all the information and supporting documents to show that your daughter lived with you during 2010.
    If you don’t owe the IRS money–you will get your refund, but it could be delayed until your case is resolved. Good luck.

  83. deneashia on Thu, 2nd Feb 2012 12:38 am
  84. hey i just filled my taxes and i put myself as head of house hold is there a way i can change it because my parents want to put head of house

  85. Jan Roberg on Thu, 2nd Feb 2012 1:38 am
  86. @Deneashia–
    Hey there. I think you might want to have someone help you with this, you’ve got a whole lot of issues that I bet you didn’t even realize. For example: your parents want to claim head of household? Are they married? Because that would make them married filing jointly which is better than head of household.
    Second–do you want them to claim your child? Does this make sense? Do you have income? See what I mean? Lots and lots of questions.
    You can get free tax help by typing in your zipcode and finding a location near you:
    And it’s probably all fine and good, you’ll just need to amend your tax return–but, you want to make sure that what you’re doing is right and won’t come back to haunt you later.

  87. Apap on Fri, 3rd Feb 2012 4:34 am
  88. Hi so Im a single mom who lives with my own mother. I dont work bc my little boy stays sick. So my mom claimed me and him and is suppis supposed to split what she gets back for me and my son. but what Im trying to figure out is what sshe will get back. She made between 15-20 grand last year. She also claimed my 25 yrold brother who doesnt work but gets SSI. I want 2 make sure I get whatever extra was given.

  89. Admin Roberg on Sat, 4th Feb 2012 2:14 am
  90. Hey Apap,
    You can log into the “do your own taxes” site and figure it out yourself. I can’t possibly tell you what your mom will get back on her return without all of the facts.
    Now, you can log into the “do it yourself” part of the website and figure out what you’d get if you filed your own return claiming your child as a dependent. That’s really all you could ask your mom for.
    But, if she’s truly supporting you and you have no income–well then she technically doesn’t have to give you anything.

  91. Sophie on Mon, 6th Feb 2012 4:20 am
  92. My daughter was born July 21st. I read somewhere that to qualify for EIC, your child has to live with you more than half the year. Is that true, and if so, will I not qualify?

  93. Admin Roberg on Tue, 7th Feb 2012 2:16 am
  94. Sophie sweetie,
    Trust me, that child’s been living with you for the full year! Sorry, but it’s true. And legally–you’re fine. Even if your child was born on Decebmer 31–your child would count as having lived with you for the full year.
    So even though your baby hasn’t been alive for over 6 months, you claim the full year on your tax return.
    Congratulations on your new baby!

  95. Vanessa on Wed, 8th Feb 2012 5:33 am
  96. hello!! I’m so glad i found your blog. I’m 22 year old single mom to a handsome to a 16 month old little boy. I’m also a part time college student. My parents claimed me and my son on their taxes last yr,and I received 2200 child tax credit. However i moved out my parents house on December of 2010 and have been supporting myself since. I clean houses, tutor and sometimes babysit to make ends meet. no W2 form. I get payed cash daily or weekly. Since this is my first year doing taxes on my own I had no idea on “self employment rules” I opened a bank account on July of 2011 so I only have a 6 month period of bank statement to proof my income. However, since i get payed cash, I’ll end up spending most of it on groceries, diapers, wipes, household items and food before i even make it to the bank… sometimes there is no money left to deposit. I usually pay my rent in cash, I know big mistake but i have receipts. I don’t have a steady job, I’ll work for different ppl all the time so my concern is will i get audited and if so how do i proof my income?? will I get EIC for my son or college? will i have to pay more that my refund? i make approx 400 a wk if that helps. Do i file as head of household? or single?
    Thank you very much for taking the time to read this, I appreciated in advance.

  97. sarah on Wed, 8th Feb 2012 4:44 pm
  98. Ive only worked for a few months this year. We live with my boyfriend of 6 yrs. I have a 9 yr old an his father will not be filing for him since hes always lived with me and i dont get child support. Can my boyfriend claim me us?

  99. Katie on Thu, 9th Feb 2012 12:22 am
  100. Hi hope you can help. I am a single mom going to college full time. I get grants, loans, and other financial aid. I also sell plasma for extra cash. I want to file to get the Child Tax Credit. I heard that low income individuals may be able to average previous years, pay the tax, and receive the refund. Is this true?

  101. Admin Roberg on Thu, 9th Feb 2012 3:48 am
  102. Hey Vanessa,
    Of course he’s a handsome boy. (No the IRS doesn’t care if your kids are cute or not, but I always like to hear from proud moms.)

    Okay, you’re going to need to work on proving your income. From now on–you go to office depot and get one of those receipt books and everybody who pays you gets a receipt. You get one of those books with the automatic copies in it so your book is your proof.

    You have a backwards problem: usually, I’m trying to help people try to lower their self employment income. You’re trying to show you have some. I’m guessing that you have no W2s either.

    So are you still in school? Are you under 23? If so, you might want to let your parents claim you again. They can prove their income, and as far as the IRS is concerned you’ve got no income. This isn’t good for your ego–but it might make the most sense for you. With no receipts, no bank statements, essentially nothing to prove your income–and claiming EIC–that’s an audit waiting to happen–an audit that you’ll lose.

    If you’re in college, even though you’ve got an apartment, you count as living at home. I know it’s not the answer you want to hear, but now you know and you’ll be prepared for next year.

  103. Admin Roberg on Thu, 9th Feb 2012 4:01 am
  104. Hey Sarah,
    If you made less than $3700 this year you could have your boyfriend claim you. You could also have him claim your child as a “qualifying relative” not a “qualifying child”–that means no EIC. Read this post:

    It’s important that you know what you can and cannot do.

  105. Amber on Thu, 9th Feb 2012 4:48 am
  106. Hello, I’ve got a question. I’m not a single mom, but I am a mom. (I got married after my daughter was born.) My question is actually about my 2010 taxes. My daughter was born in 2010, and that year we did our own taxes, married filing jointly. When we did then, we filed a paper return and got the check in the mail. After our refund got here (for the Earned Income Credit) we received another letter saying that we were eligible for the Additional Child Tax Credit. We had no clue what this was about, since we had already received our refund. Is there any way that we can go back and fix this now, and receive the $1000 for the Additional Child Tax Credit? We would have made the same mistake this year, save for the fact that our county opened its first VITA site this month and I was too confused with the Pell Grants we had received to even bother trying to do it myself. Thanks!

  107. Admin Roberg on Sat, 11th Feb 2012 1:13 am
  108. Hey Katie,
    Sorry but there is no income averaging for you. Here’s my question–how do you survive? I don’t mean that meanly–I mean, you obviously don’t make much money. Do your parents help you out? Are you living with your child’s father? Perhaps someone should be claiming you on their tax return, and your child too. If you’re a student and under 24 your parents could still claim you. If you make less than $3700, someone you’re living with could claim you as a dependent (no EIC, but an exemption.) Hope that gives you some options.

  109. Admin Roberg on Sat, 11th Feb 2012 1:33 am
  110. Hi Amber,
    Yes, you can go back and amend your 2010 tax return and claim the child tax credit. I bet your VITA office can help you with that too. It’s really not difficult at all.
    Let me give a shout out the the VITA workers, they really do provide a valuable service to people for free. (They’re also a good training ground for tax preparers–I just stole one to work in my office this year.)

  111. Lauren on Fri, 17th Feb 2012 9:51 pm
  112. Hello I am a 23 year old single mother. In 2011 I did not have a steady job but I did have a babysitting job, that payed under the table. I recieved state aid also this year. Even though I did not work on the books last year but should I file taxes or expect eic with my 2 year old?

  113. Admin Roberg on Sun, 19th Feb 2012 2:51 pm
  114. Lauren dear,
    Listen to what you are saying.
    1. I’m getting paid under the table–meaning I’ve got income but I’m not reporting it, I’m cheating the government.
    2. I’m also receiving state aid–but I’m not telling them about my income, because I’m cheating the government.
    3. So how can I cheat the government one more time and claim an Earned Income Credit by claiming the money that I’m not claiming for taxes on my taxes?

    But I know that’s not what you really mean. If I really thought you were trying to cheat the government, I’d just delete your post. I’m so positive that’s not what you’re thinking that I want to keep your post up because it’s important to make sure that people understand the language of taxes. Sometimes using the wrong words can get you into trouble.

    First and most importantly–you need to lose the language about “getting paid under the table.” You were babysitting you got paid in cash. That’s not a crime. Lots of people do that, we’re called “self employed” or sole proprietors. As a babysitter, you may might be able to claim that you were a “household employee”.

    If you received state aid, you may be entitled to work a little. All states are different, but as long as you follow the rules of your agency, you’re okay. It’s not crime to receive state aid as long as you’re not cheating them.

    So, now that we’ve established that you are a legitimately self employed child care giver, you’re asking about filing a tax return, reporting your income, and perhaps getting an Earned Income Credit when you claim your 2 year old child? Is that correct?

    So what you’ll have to do to claim EIC, is be able to prove your income from your babysitting business. How will you do that? Did you keep records? Did you give your customers receipts? Can you show your income from bank statements?

    Professional tax preparers are required to do “due diligence” on people claiming EIC. If we don’t verify how you earn your income, we can be fined $500 per instance for not checking things out. I don’t have that kind of money to spare, so if I were doing your return, I’d be asking you to provide some proof of your income.

    For 2012, now that you know all the rules, you can be better prepared and run your babysitting more like a real business and maintain a log book, give customers receipts, etc. Then you won’t be scrambling at this time of the year to pull together records.

    So, you’ve got your new language right? You’re a self-employed small business woman who’s trying to work her way off of state assistance. I think that’s a pretty fair and accurate way to describe you, don’t you?

  115. Ashley on Tue, 21st Feb 2012 2:46 pm
  116. Hi I am a single mom and new to the whole tax filing situation. I was told I could not claim my son with earned income tax credit if I did not work in 2011. I did work in 2010 and someone told me I could not file taxes for that job becuase I didn’t make enough money.I only worked there for like 2 months. Is that correct? And if it isnt can I file my 2010 taxes and use that to claim earned income tax credit? My son was born in 2011. Also if I can do that, how would I recieve my w2 from 2010 job?

    Thanks for taking time out of your day to respond, you seem to be helping a lot of people!

  117. Admin Roberg on Thu, 23rd Feb 2012 3:27 am
  118. Hey Ashley,
    You can’t get an Earned Income Credit with no income. And you can’t use last year’s income for this year’s tax return. So it’s probably not worth your filing a tax return. But just in case, you can always go look–maybe you don’t get EIC, but maybe you had some withholding and you’d get some money back for last year. Is there anything in the box 2? That would be federal withholding. If there is, you could probably get that back. A little money is better than none at all.
    Now if you didn’t work, who supported you? If you lived with your parents, maybe they could claim you and the baby for a refund. (Assuming they met all the rules, etc.) It’s worth checking into.
    And congratulations on the new baby!

  119. Nicole on Fri, 24th Feb 2012 3:55 pm
  120. Hello,

    I have a son with my Finace and we live together. Last year all my tax info went to my parent’s home address so I claimed my child and also qualified for the EIC, but my boyfriend did not claim our son, or HOH my son and I did live with him, but everything was addressed to my parents’ address. He claimed single. This year all my tax stuff is addressed to my Fiance’s address and we live there. We don’t pay rent because it is owned by his family who does not live there. He does pay all the utilities and expenses. The only thing he doesn’t pay for is our son’s health insurance, the state pays for that. My question is: should he claim HOH and our child as a dependent? Or, can he claim HOH and I claim our son has the dependent? I made about 6k and he made about 50k. Thank you.

  121. Admin Roberg on Sat, 25th Feb 2012 11:36 pm
  122. Hi Nicole,
    Here’s the situation: you and your fiance and your son are all living together as one happy family unit. Am I right? If so–then you want to work this out together as a family. You have two choices in how you file:

    1. You are single, claim son for everything and your fiance claims single.


    2. You are single, claim nobody. Fiance claims son’s exemption and head of household filing status.

    Run the numbers both ways and see what give you two together the best possible refund (or lowest tax debt.) You may choose whichever works out best for you both.

    If you were fighting–the IRS would choose for you and they would give HH to your fiance (because he has the higher income.) But because you are a team–you may choose which scenario is best for you.

  123. Sara on Wed, 29th Feb 2012 5:39 pm
  124. Good morning,
    My babyfather received $ 3,500 after having claimed our baby on his taxes.
    I am French but my son is American like his father. I left the United States two months ago and my baby lives with me in France, I do not think I can touch the taxes because I am French but I find unfair that my babyfather has touched $ 3500 while we don ‘t live together anymore and he does not pay me child support and does not help me financially. What can I do to him does not benefit of these $ 3500 which he has no need because he has a good financial situation and that I do not work? I know I could no claime my son but I would like that at least his father does not touch anything because he does not care about our baby and we have no news of him since my return in France.
    thank you

  125. Robin on Thu, 1st Mar 2012 4:49 pm
  126. Hi, my questions is can I claim HOH if my daughter earned approx $11,000 in income last year? She lived with me for more than half the year until she graduated high school and went off to college in mid summer. I paid for everything during the time she lived with me regardless of her income. I am still paying for everything for her except she is paying rent where she moved to. I am still paying for college, car, insurance etc. Thanks for your time.

  127. Admin Roberg on Fri, 2nd Mar 2012 2:39 am
  128. @Sara,
    Taxwise–a parent cannot claim a child that he doesn’t live with–unless there is some type of court order allowing him to do so. Because your child is a US citizen–it’s possible that your ex could keep claiming him. You may need to consult an attorney on this one. Sorry.

  129. Admin Roberg on Fri, 2nd Mar 2012 3:20 am
  130. @Robin–
    It gets tricky when they start making money doesn’t it? You’re still the mom, and since she’s a full time student she’s still a dependent. There’s no income limit for a full time student/dependent.
    There are some situations where you might not be able to claim her, but if she is single, has no children of her own, and you’re paying the tuition–she’s yours to claim.

  131. D-Che' on Sat, 10th Mar 2012 1:43 am
  132. Someone has carried one of my children on their taxes. What am I suppose to do now ?

  133. Admin Roberg on Sat, 10th Mar 2012 4:37 am
  134. Hi D-Che’,
    Check out the instructions on this blog post:

    That’s basically what you need to do. Good luck.

  135. Riley09 on Thu, 15th Mar 2012 3:03 pm
  136. Hi i have a question my son was born feb 20,2012 can i carry him on my 2011 taxes?

  137. Admin Roberg on Fri, 16th Mar 2012 1:27 am
  138. @Riley,
    Since your son wasn’t born until 2012, you can’t carry him on your 2011 taxes. Next year you can. Congratulations, by the way.

  139. Laura on Tue, 3rd Apr 2012 12:58 am
  140. I am a single mom with 3 children. My income is below the threshold for EITC but my investment income from dividends is $3600 (limit is $3,150.) But, I have net investment losses of $2000. Can those investment losses offset the income? Would that qualify me for EITC?

  141. Vette on Wed, 4th Apr 2012 12:20 am
  142. Yes I waned to know if some claims their child as a depended can someone else claim that child as head of household

  143. Admin Roberg on Thu, 5th Apr 2012 2:35 am
  144. Hi Vette,
    Yes they can, it’s called splitting an exemption. Here’s some more information about it:

  145. Admin Roberg on Sat, 7th Apr 2012 11:44 pm
  146. Hi Laura,
    Sorry but your stock losses won’t offset your divident income so you won’t get EIC.

  147. TRISH on Fri, 13th Apr 2012 10:30 pm

  149. Admin Roberg on Sat, 14th Apr 2012 2:09 am
  150. Hey Trish,
    You cannot split the exemption with your daughter. That option is only available to the parents of the child and they cannot be living together.

  151. Crystal Kountz on Sun, 15th Apr 2012 5:50 am
  152. Hi, there is so much info and it can be very overwhelming.
    I am a divorced mom of 1 child. I am allowed to claim our child every year per divorce agreement. I am unemployed, in college full time and have no income other than pell grant and student loans ($2500 per every 4 months) that’s it. And child support bi-weekly. So, shouldn’t I receive a refund? The child tax credit or something?

  153. Admin Roberg on Tue, 17th Apr 2012 2:04 am
  154. Hi Crystal,
    A pell grants, child support, and student loans do not count as taxable income so you get no tax refund. If you live with your parents, it may make sense to let them claim your child. Or, since you receive child support, you may wish to sign an 8332 form to allow your ex to claim the exemption and child tax credit. It does you no good and it will help him make those child support payments to you.

  155. Christy on Tue, 17th Apr 2012 8:38 pm
  156. Hi! My sons father has lived in my house for the past 7 months, (October ’11- April ’12) and has only recently got a job and started splitting bills with me about a month and a half ago. We aren’t in the best relationship, and he says he’s going up claim our son next year. The bills are all in my name, as the lease on the house, he has never taken him to a doctors appointment, or paid deposits on any bills. The side job he just got pays very well, and I’m worried his AGI could be higher than mine even though I’ve been employed the entire 20 months my son has been born, and he’s only worked a month and a half so far. I have supported both my son and him the entire time but now that he’s got a job, he ‘expects’ to claim our son instead of me. What can I do to ensure I can claim our son?

  157. Admin Roberg on Wed, 18th Apr 2012 4:20 pm
  158. @Christy–
    Kick him out? Sorry Christy, I’m not sure I can really help you with this one.

  159. cecilia on Thu, 19th Apr 2012 7:52 pm
  160. hi, my ex keeps claming my child every year and he doesnt even see them! he has treated me because i keep telling him he can do that. the kids are with me all year long he doent call or see them. he says that because he pays child suport he is in title to do so but i dont think its fair beacuse he make doddle the money that i make! he just wants to use ma child because he doent whant topay the IRS because he makes too much money! i need to know what can i do.

  161. Admin Roberg on Sat, 21st Apr 2012 3:26 pm
  162. Hey Cecilia,
    Go to this site: and follow the directions. That’s what you should do.

  163. Keri on Thu, 26th Apr 2012 9:18 pm
  164. Ok so my twins were born in jan. we lived with my parents & my 9yr old. Until when we moved in with the twins father at the end of july. So i was the sole provider for kids for the first 7 months. we both got income, His from work mine from child support. But I was still the main provider for the 3 kids as the dad hardly ever bought groceries or diapers or anything. I got alot of the baby necessities for my infant twins thru wic, as well. so out of my $333. a month plus whatever id make on the side doing babysitting or house cleaning maybe brought me another 100. or 2 & every penny of it went to food, & taking care of my kids & bf house. He I dont know what he did with his income but id never see a penny of it excepts when it was for the cable, pg&e, & rent the was only 900. & paid to the landlord aka “his dad”! which he rarley ever paid.
    Ok so when filing 2010 taxes my ex claim our twins & me. I thought he filed jointly cuz i never filed & i was on his tax papers, im pretty sure under partner or whatever. Basically he got money for me & $1600. for each one of the twins, & I never saw not a single cent of it! & now again on this years 2011 taxes he filed & used me on his taxes & we werent living together for most of the year.
    So my question is doesnt he legally have to give me my share of the return when hes getting set amount back for putting on his forms for this year. & for last years taxes at least half of what he got back in returns for my kids & myself that he basically never supported any of us for any amount of time that even comes close to to 7 months.
    Im in A position where Im needing to find out whether or not i have legal grounds to sue him for the money & turn his but over to the irs!
    Please can u help me?…
    Also can I file back taxes for last years & for the current taxes He has just used me on!

  165. Admin Roberg on Sat, 28th Apr 2012 9:27 pm
  166. Hi Keri,
    I’m reprinting you letter and inserting my comments inside it so you see where my answers are coming from. I’m hoping that makes things a little clearer. You’re K and I’m J, okay?

    K: Ok so my twins were born in jan. we lived with my parents & my 9yr old. Until when we moved in with the twins father at the end of july. So i was the sole provider for kids for the first 7 months. we both got income,

    J: I’m stopping here because it’s quite possible that your parents are the ones who should be claiming your kids. You never mentioned that, but if you lived with your parents for 7 months, they might be the ones to claim your kids. Okay, back to you…

    K: His from work mine from child support.

    J: Okay, I’m stopping here again because your income came from child support. Child support isn’t considered to be earned income–so you would get zero, zip, nilch, nada from the IRS if you filed a tax return.

    K: But I was still the main provider for the 3 kids as the dad hardly ever bought groceries or diapers or anything. I got alot of the baby necessities for my infant twins thru wic, as well. so out of my $333. a month plus whatever id make on the side doing babysitting or house cleaning maybe brought me another 100. or 2 & every penny of it went to food, & taking care of my kids & bf house. He I dont know what he did with his income but id never see a penny of it excepts when it was for the cable, pg&e, & rent the was only 900. & paid to the landlord aka “his dad”! which he rarley ever paid.

    J: Okay, I’m stopping here again because you’re talking about who pays for what. If your rent is $900 per month and you only made $333 a month–then you would have a hard time proving you provided more than 1/2 of your kids support. Now granted, you paid for food and diapers, etc–but the IRS is going to look at the roof over your head. Once again, you’re not providing it. I’m not saying this to be mean, but you need to know what the IRS is looking at. If your ex isn’t paying the rent, then it looks like his parents’ are–once again, the provider here is not you.

    K: Ok so when filing 2010 taxes my ex claim our twins & me. I thought he filed jointly cuz i never filed & i was on his tax papers, im pretty sure under partner or whatever.

    J: Okay–stopping you here because you aren’t married to the man so you can’t file jointly. There’s no such thing as “living with my baby-mama filing jointly” on the tax return. He probably claimed head of household and since you have no reportable income, claimed you as a dependent.

    K: Basically he got money for me & $1600. for each one of the twins, & I never saw not a single cent of it!

    J: You lived under his roof, you watched his cable TV so technically you benefitted from his tax refund. (I’m not sayin’ that his cable TV was worth it–but you have to see how this is looking. Bottom line–he put a roof over your head and your kids.)

    K: & now again on this years 2011 taxes he filed & used me on his taxes & we werent living together for most of the year.

    J: So you’re saying that you and the children did not live with him for at least 6 months of the year? You moved out before June 30th of 2011 then, right?

    K: So my question is doesnt he legally have to give me my share of the return when hes getting set amount back for putting on his forms for this year. & for last years taxes at least half of what he got back in returns for my kids & myself that he basically never supported any of us for any amount of time that even comes close to to 7 months.

    J: This is the most important part to read. Are you still listening Keri because this is really urgent for you to hear? Keri, if you don’t live with that guy and he claims you and the kids, and you allow it if he pays you (which is what it sounds like you’re asking) that’s federal income tax fraud and you’d be guilty of committing a crime.

    So Keri, is it fair to say the you had no idea that it was a crime? Of course, you’re not that kind of a person! But you need to know that it would be a crime. That’s why I broke out your letter and answered little parts so that you could see exactly where things go wrong.

    It’s crossing a line for him to claim the kids in 2010 but I can see it making sense and he could probably win that case with the IRS. I think your parents have the better claim, but he could make a decent argument. He really can’t claim you–but if you allow it–well you allowed it. (Once again, your parents have a legitimate claim to put you on their tax return.)

    Now, if you didn’t live together for 2011–then he really has no claim on you or the kids. But since you don’t have any real, reportable income–well you won’t get much money. But if you “cut a deal” with him–that’s not legal. You either file your return straight or you drop it.

    K: m in A position where Im needing to find out whether or not i have legal grounds to sue him for the money & turn his but over to the irs!
    Please can u help me?…

    J: I’m not a lawyer so I can’t give legal advice. It seems to me though–since filing a fraudulent tax return is illegal, and you’re asking him to split his ill gotten gains with you–if you sue, that would kind of be like going to a judge and saying “Fred robbed a liquor store and I didn’t snitch on him so he owes me half the money!” I know that my example sounds crazy, but I wanted you to see how the IRS would look at that.

    K: Also can I file back taxes for last years & for the current taxes He has just used me on!

    J: Yes, you can file back taxes and current taxes–but you should get help from someone who knows the law and will keep you legal. (Because I really think you need help with the staying legal part.) For 2010–your parents have the highest and best claim on your kids. For 2011–who took care of you? Certainly, you couldn’t support yourself and 3 children on $333 of child support a month. If you were earning money–how do you prove it? Do you have receipts? A bank account showing deposits? Don’t go this alone.

    You won’t get a huge EIC check like your ex did. If you’re setting the record straight just to set it straight–okay.

    One final word of caution: if you’re mad at your ex and you’re just trying to use the IRS to get even with him–think twice. When you file those back returns claiming your kids–be prepared to get audited. You had better have your ducks lined up neatly before you go this route. If you’re not absolutely positive you’re going to win–don’t waste the IRS’s time. They’re overworked and understaffed and these are not people you want to piss off. Sorry about the choice of language but I want to be very clear about that. Make 100% sure you’re in the right before you go ahead with this.

  167. Edie DeConcini on Tue, 8th May 2012 2:05 pm
  168. hello, I had a baby July 2011 and live with the father who does not work and is a stay at home dad.. i provide for them both. I am also preganant agian due in Sept 2012. I claimed them both on my taxes for 2011 as HH. I will make about 43,200 this year and currently claim single claiming 1. my question: what should i be claiming on my taxes this year? we are struggeling to make ends meet and wonder if i change my filing status to single claiming 2 would this help? the father may or may not work this year so i dont want to count on claiming him until tax time and i know for sure if he has made less than what is needed for me to claim him. but i do not want to owe the IRS!! i actaully am paying monthly installments of $200.00 for a previous tax debit i owe.. and hope to have it paid off this year. that is another reason i am not sure if i should change my filing status, if i stay single claiming 1 then i am sure i will knock out my debit with the IRS but like i said we are struggling in the mean time. thank you for your help and time!

  169. Edie DeConcini on Tue, 8th May 2012 2:05 pm
  170. sorry i forgot to mention we are not married..

  171. Admin Roberg on Wed, 9th May 2012 1:40 am
  172. Hi Edie,
    Generally you should be fine if you redo your W4 with your employer to claim Single with 2 exemptions. It will give you a little extra money in your paycheck and should cover all of your 2012 tax liability.
    Now–if your boyfriend later gets a job and he goes and claims your child–then there could be trouble, but claiming 2 should be fine. (Ignore me–I’ve been doing so much “filing with exes” work that I’m sounding all negative, sorry about that. You two are working together as a family–so if he does get a job you’d work together on what’s best for the family–it might be that as a family, the person with the lower income should claim the kids. It’s something to play with.

    Also, if you’re due in September, you’ll actually be claiming 2 dependents (which would give you three exemptions.) Something to think about. It might be a good idea not to claim the new baby now–because a nice refund would wipe out your IRS debt and that would be good for you too.

    If you want to get a pretty accurate reading of your withholding, go to the IRS website and check out their withholding calculator:,,id=14806,00.html

    You’ll need your latest check stub to answer the questions, but this will help you figure out exactly how many exemptions you should claim to put you at a close to zero refund. If you like to get a money back, just reduce the exemptions you claim so that you withhold more.

  173. Robin on Sun, 5th Aug 2012 12:11 am
  174. I am wondering how to file my taxes for the 2012 calendar year. My fiancé and I live together and have a daughter who was born in January 2012. I have a son from a previous marriage and in my divorce paperwork I am allowed to claim him every year. My fiancé makes around $45K and I have made $6500 so far this year. I quit my job last week to stay home with the children and will earn no other income this year. Would it benefit us from a tax standpoint to get married before the end of the year? And what is the best way for us to file as far as claiming dependents? Last year I filed as single and claimed my son and my fiancé filed as single.

  175. Admin Roberg on Sun, 5th Aug 2012 8:39 pm
  176. Hi Robin,
    First and foremost–never get married for the sake of your tax return. You get married because it’s the right thing to do for you and your family. (I just had to do my Mom thing first.)

    So, if you do get married, you’ll be filing a married filing jointly and you and your husband jointly claim both children as exemptions.

    If you don’t get married, you and your fiance’ will want to play with your tax returns to see what would give you the largest refund (or smallest amount due) combined.

    You will claim your child from the previous marriage on your tax return no matter what. The child that you and your fiance’ have together may go on either return. My gut reaction is that your fiance’ should claim the baby and file as head of household–I think it should give you a bigger band for your buck. At your income, you’ll only get about $300 extra in Earned Income Credit. But at your finace’s income, the extra exemption and the reduced tax rate will be much more than that.

  177. Samantha Lancaster on Sun, 12th Aug 2012 10:49 am
  178. I am not sure if you can help me, but i thought I would give it a try :) I am married, my husband moved out of our home in Feb. though. I have made approximatly 7,000 thus far this year. I will be claiming my 4 yr and 3 yd old daughter on my income taxes this year. One friend of mine says I will get back just guessing around 6,000…another friend strongly disagrees and concludes I will only get back 4,000 or less. I am curious as to your opinion on the matter…and if it helps I put 1 dependent on my w-2 and to date I have paid in 330.00 in federal income tax. Thank you and have a great day :)

  179. Admin Roberg on Mon, 13th Aug 2012 2:21 pm
  180. Hi Samantha,
    I don’t calculate people’s refunds online–there’s just too many ways for me to get into trouble that way. (Also, it is how I make a living.) That said, you can get a pretty good handle on it yourself by using the withhodling calculator at the IRS website. Here’s a link:,,id=96196,00.html
    You’ll want to have a copy of your last year’s tax return and your most recent pay stub.
    Or you might want to go see someone in person. Husband’s walking out in February can mean a lot of different things on a tax return. If you don’t divorce by December 31st, you could still file married filing jointly–which would make your numbers much different. (Your husband will be highly motivated to file jointly–just so you know.)
    Sorry for the lame answer.

  181. Jessica on Mon, 27th Aug 2012 9:23 am
  182. Just a quick question. like most of the others, I am a single parent. Work full time and have a 3 year old in daycare full time. I pay all my bills and buy all her food and clothes and medical bills and daycare bills. I live with my parents and give them $100 per month as “rent”. Do i file as single or head of house hold?

  183. Admin Roberg on Mon, 27th Aug 2012 7:25 pm
  184. Hi Jessica,
    You have asked probably the single most controversial tax question of all time. I once had an entire family sitting at my desk fighting over this issue. And it shouldn’t be a fight.
    Technically–for tax purposes–you should probably file as head of household. Now here’s a little trick that I like to use and you should try it. Do your tax return with you as head of household, and see what kind of refund you get. Then, change it to single–if the refund is the same–file as single, if you get a better refund as head of household, then file as head of household.
    Why that stupid trick? 2 reasons. 1. If your taxes don’t change, that means you income is pretty low and you probably are getting help from somewhere else. 2. You’re less likely to get audited if you file single than if you file head of household.

    So why do people fight over the head of household thing? It’s ego. You mentioned parents, which means you have a dad. Your dad, being the “Grampa” is also your “family patriarch”. (Your mom is probably the boss, but let’s him think he’s in charge to keep him happy.) But, there was a time when the “bread winner” which used to be the man of the house, was called the “head of the household”. I have seen more people fight over that than you can imagine.

    The thing is you live with your parents–plural. So they’re filing a married filing jointly return. It’s no problem if you file head of household while they file as married. On the other hand, if your parents aren’t married and one of them is claiming head of household (because the have another child they can claim) it could cause an audit–two head of households at one address. I say you’re still good because you have a special situation although some tax folks say no. (In so many cases it is no, they just don’t look at the whole picture–there are cases where it would be okay and I think you’re one of them.)

    Oops, this was supposed to be a quick question. I got carried away. Sorry.

    On the other hand–if your parents aren’t married, and one of them is claiming head of household (because they have another kid they can claim) you

  185. Gladys on Mon, 3rd Sep 2012 1:44 pm
  186. Hi, Im not married has two kids and we live with the father of my kids but we are living with my boyfriends parents. We’ve been together for 6yrs now and last year when filing for our tax for 2011 they made us do a joint tax. My boyfriend make about 50k a year and I Make about 20k .. The tax prepare persons told us that we need to file together because we are living together. And I really thought that wasnt right. So what is right? And from doing that I missed the child earning earning credit.

  187. Admin Roberg on Mon, 3rd Sep 2012 6:38 pm
  188. Hi Gladys,
    You’re right. If you are not married, you cannot file as married. You tax person was really off. I don’t know what she was thinking.

    Personally, if I were you I’d amend both you and your boyfriend’s returns. I’m thinking that the best way to file for you would be for each of you to claim single. He claims no kids, you claim both. But–it’s worth your while running it all ways just to see how it works out. I think the earned income credit will outweigh any tax benefits he gets, but you never know until you run the numbers. It might make sense to have him claim one child and head of household status (it puts him in a lower tax bracket so it might outweigh your claiming two kids for EIC.) He can’t be head of household if he doesn’t get to claim a child.

    If you went to one of those big box tax places, make sure you go back to their district office and tell them what happened and they should fix your return for free. They don’t want a bad preparer around any more than you do.

    If you went to one of those “fly by night” places where they say you did your own return–well, sorry. You might be able to get help from your local IRS office. Many of them will prepare your return for you for free. Good luck.

  189. Carter on Mon, 3rd Sep 2012 9:15 pm
  190. Hi my sister has a 6 year old son from another guy, and a current 2 year old baby with the current boyfriend. They never once claimed as common law and are deciding to do it now because its considered fraud and she honestly never knew. She did get some type of paper fron Ontario Child Benefits about an “Assesment” that she had to fill out in 30 days or they cut off the child benefits.. My two questions are this : (1) Does it seem hopeless to start as common law now and (2) does that assesment mean they know they are living together. The assesment has questions like (a) last 2 years of where she lived (b) report cards from the school and at the bottom a spot to add a common law partner. lol I know seems a mess but shes lost and doesnt know what to do and doesnt want to get caught in some kind of fraud.

  191. Carter on Mon, 3rd Sep 2012 9:18 pm
  192. Hi me again haha …. Do the government know they caused fraud ? or is they are just interested in knowing where she lived the last few years (because she also needs a letter from her lanlors and letters from the 6 year old’s school ) … should my sister add her boyfriends name on the bottom for common law now ?

  193. Admin Roberg on Tue, 4th Sep 2012 2:10 pm
  194. Hi Carter,
    I’m not qualified to answer your question because it involves Canadian tax law. While I may muddle through one or two Canadian returns in a year, when I say muddle through–I mean muddle through. Down here, the common law marriage rules vary by state too (in Missouri we don’t recognize common law marriage.)
    I’m sorry, but I don’t want to give you bad advice. Wish I could be more help.

  195. Elizabeth on Sat, 8th Sep 2012 12:31 am
  196. Hi there… So I have a two year old daughter me and her father are separated and have been for over a year. I claimed our daughter last year and my ex thinks it’s only fair that he claims her this year I have her a most of the time but not much more her father gets her Friday to Sunday and 8-5 Wednesday’s. He hasn’t worked all year and is barley getting a job this month. I have worked all year and have been at my job 3 years working full time should I claim her or should he? And he doesn’t pay me any child support if that matters hahah

  197. Admin Roberg on Sat, 8th Sep 2012 11:42 am
  198. Hi Elizabeth,
    The key thing for you is who is the child with most of the time–and that’s you. If you are being friendly with the ex, you could sign an 8332 and let him claim the exemption and child tax credit–but he can’t legally claim head of household and EIC, he just can’t. Sorry.

  199. britt on Thu, 13th Sep 2012 2:54 pm
  200. hi. last year my mom claimed my son. this year im living alone im going to claim him. can she get in trouble if she tries to claim him again? and howwould i prove that he is my son and no hers?

  201. Admin Roberg on Thu, 13th Sep 2012 3:43 pm
  202. Hi Britt,
    Here’s the big question, where does your son live? I ask because you say you are living alone. If your son is living with your mom, then she should claim him on her tax return. That’s the law.
    If your son lives with you, that’s another story. If a person claims a child that doesn’t live with them, they will have to pay back the refund money the IRS gives them for the child. If your son doesn’t live with you–then you’d be the one in trouble, not your mom.
    If he’s your son, then you have a birth certificate and the social security card. But it’s not just proving he’s yours, it’s proving that he lives with you. If he’s in school, you’d use the school records. If he’s too young, you’d use the doctor records and daycare papers. Anything that proves he lives with you, like did the landlord put him down as living with you on your lease? Things like that.
    Hope that answers your question.

  203. Annerose cataluna on Mon, 17th Sep 2012 8:39 pm
  204. Hi my boyfriend want to claime his 3 childrens age 3 and 2 and 8 months how much did I get per child?thank u:-)

  205. Admin Roberg on Mon, 17th Sep 2012 10:31 pm
  206. Hey Annerose,
    If your boyfriend claims his children, you get nothing. I’m not sure that’s the question you meant to ask.
    For what it’s worth though, I don’t do taxes in this blog. I answer questions, but if you want numbers, you have to hire me. I’ve got kids to feed too. Sorry.

  207. gilman on Sat, 29th Sep 2012 4:43 pm
  208. Dear Admin, here is my situation. am getting divorce and my soon to be ex husband wants to claim our daughter every other year. He only sees her on the weekends and pays around 7,000 of child support a year.I only make around 12,000 a year. there has been 7 months since he was ordered to pay child support and he already owes me 3 weeks. we have a trial to settle the matter. what do u think are my chances of winning? Thanks for all your valuable help.

  209. Admin Roberg on Sat, 29th Sep 2012 5:09 pm
  210. Hi Gilman, Sorry about your pending divorce.

    So if your ex-husband claims your daughter as a dependent–but he doesn’t live with her, he only gets the exemption and the child tax credit. You get to keep the head of household filing status and the Earned Income Tax Credit. If you only make around $12,000 a year–then all you’re really losing is the child tax credit. (Because your income is low enough that the exemption doesn’t help you.) Right now, the child tax credit is worth $1000, but it’s quite possible that Congress will reduce that in the future to $500 (what it used to be about 10 years ago.)

    So, if you allow him to claim her every other year, in exchange for $7000 in child support–well I think you’ve won.

    Now here’s the thing–because you’re getting divorced now–he can’t claim your daughter on his tax return unless you sign the 8332 form which allows him to do so. So…he doesn’t pay his child support, you don’t sign the form. I hate to be witchy like that, but sometimes you need to have an evil tax person to say things like that. (You sound like you’re nice so let me be the bad guy (girl actually.))

    Good luck with your court date. Oh–if you can swing it–try to get 2012 to be the year that you get to claim the exemption, that way you know that the child tax credit will be $1,000. Who knows what it will be after that, but I doubt that it will go up.

    Oh–by the way, that’s not legal advice, that’s tax advice. I’m not an attorney and I’m not allowed to give legal advice (covering my behind with the ethics committee.)

  211. gilman on Sat, 29th Sep 2012 6:12 pm
  212. Thank you so much for your helpful and prompt advice!

  213. Admin Roberg on Wed, 3rd Oct 2012 9:54 pm
  214. @the site–
    so is this Matt the mobile app guy? Hey, you don’t need to plug your work. I’m happy that we work on phones now.

  215. Leilani on Sat, 6th Oct 2012 2:38 am
  216. I am 23 years old and single. I just started working may of 2012 to recent. I am planning on doing my taxes this year. I have a 4 year old son. I live with my parents and pay rent of $500. My dad claimed my son the last couple of years. I take care of all my sons expenses. Should I claim my son or my father? Is it illegal for my father to claim my son since I am fully supporting him? I wanted to know since I do live with my parents, pay rent to them, and support my son.

  217. stephanie gagne on Thu, 25th Oct 2012 11:55 pm
  218. Hi.can u please help me.i had my baby august 21,2012.this income tax coming up i need help on what to a single mom.i live with my mother.this year i worked for like 2 months as a waitress.should i have my mom claim my baby since she makes alot more money or should i?and how much should i get for her?and should i claim single?please help me

  219. Admin Roberg on Wed, 31st Oct 2012 9:43 am
  220. Hi Stephanie,
    Congraulations on your new baby!

    So the big question is–how much did you make? Was it less than $3600? If so, then your mom can claim you and the baby, and that makes a lot of sense.

    But–this is what you want to do. There are so many questions, like how old are you? Are you in school? Stuff like that–they can all make a difference.

    Most likely, it makes sense for you Mom to claim the baby and probably you too. But it also sounds like you and your Mom have a close relationship and you’re working together like a good family. Do your taxes together and figure out what gives you (as a family) the best benefit.

    Remember, either you or your mom can claim the baby, but not both of you. Working together will make sure that you’re covered that way. I’m guessing that the baby’s father is out of the picture. If the baby’s father is in the picture, you’ll also have to see how he fits into the equation.

    Sorry–that wasn’t a very clear answer–but it’s because you do have options. You won’t know what’s best until you all sit down and do some number crunching together.

  221. Kris on Sun, 4th Nov 2012 10:08 pm
  222. Hello,
    I’m hoping that you can help me. My son was born in Mar 2011. His father and I lived together until November 2011. I moved out and back home with family. I worked for Jan and Feb. After giving birth I received short-term disability and FMLA until mid May. I ended up not going back to work and was a stay at home mom. My final pay-out of PTO wasn’t processed until the beginning of Sept. My ex supported my son and me while we were there. I paid my bills and most of the babies stuff from what I had in my saving.
    When I moved out in November I had no money. So when tax time rolled around I was qualified to claim my son. Well apparently this upset my ex. When I told him I claimed him, he decided to file claiming him as well without my knowledge. Now I have received a letter from the IRS stating someone else has used the same SSN for the dependent you claimed. I asked my ex if he claimed him and he said he was planning on claiming him because he supported him throughout the year. My ex now is telling me I’m breaking the law and better amend my taxes now. My tax prepared said I had the right to claim him because he lived with me longer. Would that be taken into consideration even though we lived with him for over 6 months? I went to the IRS website and read on what to do if both parent are qualified to claim the dependent. It went to the tie-breaking rule. Which talked about whomever the child lived with longer or whoever made more money? I feel like he lived with me longer even though 8 months was in my ex’s house while the remainder of the year he was with me but my ex makes more money. Honestly I’m freaking out and I’m at a loss on what to do. If I’m in the wrong I will fix it but I don’t know it what I did was wrong?

  223. jen on Mon, 5th Nov 2012 2:52 am
  224. I have been uneployed for over a year and ran out of unemployment. My boyfriend owes student loans and last year did not get a refund because of this if he claims our child will we get anything back? Or would they take his refund again due to being in defalt with the loans? We are trying to get them to let us make payments we can affors.

  225. Admin Roberg on Mon, 5th Nov 2012 5:31 pm
  226. Hi Jen,
    If your boyfriend owes on his student loans, then it’s most likely that his tax refund will be taken for the student loan payment because you are in default.

    That said, if you can make an arrangement with the student loan group so that you can make monthly payments–then you won’t be in default anymore. You will have to have made a certain number of payments before they release the lien. I worked with a client last year doing that. She made a payment agreement and had to make her payments for a couple of months before the let the lien go. We gave her an extension on her taxes and didn’t file them until we know the lien was off. It delayed her refund, but at least she got it. It’s worth asking about anyway.

    Good luck.

  227. Admin Roberg on Mon, 5th Nov 2012 5:47 pm
  228. Hi Kris,
    The bottom line is that your child lived with you longer so you win. Even though you both lived with your ex for 8 months–your child lived with you for 12 months. (Or I guess nine months since he was born in March.)
    But that’s the deciding factor. Where did your child live the longest? The whole bit about who makes the most money only comes into account if your child lived with both of you for the exact same amount of time.

    So–you win. Now–here’s something to think about. What’s it worth to you versus what’s it worth to your ex? Even though you two have split, you’re stuck with this guy (because he’s your child’s father) for the rest of your life. Right now, you’re in a position of power–because you win. But, financially, it may make more sense to let him claim your son.

    Is he a decent guy that you can deal with? If yes, you might want to consider some type of a deal. If he’s dangerous or untrustworthy–that’s a different story, you can’t deal with those types. But if he’s a good father, (you can be a bad boyfriend and still be a good father) then some negotiations might make sense.

    In the future, he won’t be able to claim EIC because it sounds like you have the child in your custody. This is his one shot. After that, you might allow him to claim the dependency exemption and child tax credit (but you keep the EIC). Right now, you’ve got some options. Use them wisely. Good luck.

  229. Aubree on Wed, 7th Nov 2012 12:19 am
  230. I have a question. My sons father whom I don’t live with wants to claim our son on his taxes this year. In our court papers it says he can claim him every other year if he is caught up on child support. I thought it was 100% caught up for him to be able to claim him. He is telling me that he’s allowed to claim him if he’s under 500 dollars in arrears. I don’t want him to claim him and I have custody of him. He lives with me and only goes to his dads every other weekend. Can you help me?

  231. Admin Roberg on Wed, 7th Nov 2012 8:42 pm
  232. Hi Aubree,
    I think you need this post:
    That’s going to give you the most information. Also look at:

    It sounds to me like your ex would need to pay up and you would also need to sign an 8332 form for him to claim your son. But do check out those posts t o make sure.

    Also, if he does claim your son, he only gets the exemption and child tax credit–you get to keep the head of household status and EIC.

  233. anna on Fri, 9th Nov 2012 7:06 pm
  234. hi, i live with my boyfriend and i have a little girl(she is legally not his) he has been supporting her the past year, i only worked for about 3 full months out of this year because i got pregnant an was unable to my question is im not sure if i should claim her or allow him to claim her. An also would he get more for her than i would since i only worked a few months an if i dont claim her than do i claim single. An if he claims her does he claim hh. And if you claim 3 children as dependants will you get something back for each child or just 2 an the third as a tax credit. Please help me

  235. Ashley on Fri, 9th Nov 2012 8:04 pm
  236. Hello there!

    My fiancé and I are confused about what to do for our 2012 taxes. We recently had a baby boy and we were wondering who would be the best person to claim him.

    Our situation:
    We are currently living with my mom while we look for a house. My address is listed as my mom’s whereas his address is still listed at his mom’s. My fiancé will probably have made 40k this year and I probably only made 7k because I quit my job when I was 6 months pregnant. I am also a college student. My fiancé supports both myself and our son.

    Our questions:
    I know that we will file separately so we are trying to figure out which way would benefit us more. Is it better for him to claim him or should I?

    Thank you!

  237. Admin Roberg on Sun, 11th Nov 2012 8:29 am
  238. Hi Anna,
    First and most importantly–do not have your boyfriend claim you child that is not his on his tax return. If he claims EIC on that child, it is illegal! You don’t want to go there. See this link:

    Did you make over $3700 this year? If not, and you lived with your boyfriend for the entire year–not February on but the whole 12 months, then he could claim you as a dependent and possibly your little girl as a dependent–but just not for EIC purposes and he won’t get a child tax credit for her either.

    If you made over $3700, you can’t do that at all. You will claim yourself and your daughter. You will file as single (because he is supporting you) but you can still claim EIC for your daughter. You boyfriend will be able to claim the two children that are legally his. He will be head of household, and he will claim the EIC and the child tax credit on those kids.

    Currently, there is EIC for up to threee children, but your boyfriend can’t claim all three. Even if he could, it might work out better for you to split the kids up anyway–it all depends upon the numbers but most likely you’re better off that way even if he could claim them all.

  239. Admin Roberg on Sun, 11th Nov 2012 8:46 am
  240. Hi Ashley,
    You and your fiance live with your Mom. You are a college student and your fiance makes $40,000 a year. You make $7,000. You left out something really important: your mom.

    You say that your fiance supports you, but you live with your Mom. Who is paying the tuition? Who is paying the mortgage? Is your fiance paying rent to your mom for you, him and the baby?

    The reason I ask that is because of the whole support issue. If there was a fight–does your fiance really support you?

    The other issue is how old are you? Because you’re a college student-if you qualify for the American Opportunity credit–your mom is going to want to claim you. She can if you’re under 24 and in college. That means, she can also claim your baby. You’re living under her roof and you are not married to your fiance.

    So–you’ve got a whole other dimension to your arrangement that you were ignoring.

    Here’s my advice: if you all like each other and are a working family unit (none of this dysfunctional stuff) you all go together and work out the tax returns together. Everybody files as single without the baby, then each person adds the baby to see where it makes the most sense. Your mom can try head of household status, and so can your boyfriend, but you can’t–you’re really not able to. But–you could still qualify for EIC, but your boyfriend probably can’t. So you see, you’re all looking at different tax credits.

    Since you’re all working together–see which scenario makes the most sense for everyone involved. The excess money goes into a 529 plan so that your baby has a college fund. It’s a 4-way win.

    Now, if you’re not all one big family trying to make it work for everyone together, you’ve got an issue. If you’re a college student under 24, your mom has a legal right to claim you as her dependent. She wins there. If your mom claims you–then you can’t claim your baby and you can’t get EIC. That means that you could let your fiance claim the baby (I’m making the assumption that the child is his) and he would win that because he is the father. (A parent wins over a grandparent.)

    I’m hoping that you’re a happy family and can work it all out together. If you won’t qualify for the American Opportunity credit or you are over 24, it’s probably best for you to claim the baby because of the earned income tax credit. But it still makes sense for you to run the numbers both ways.

  241. Brittney on Sun, 11th Nov 2012 5:52 pm
  242. Hi. I’m 25 and I have a 3 yo daughter and a seven month old son. I have had a “real” job at all this year, don’t get child support and don’t have much help. I do odd jobs for family and friends just to get by. Since I have not had a real job, do I still get money back for my kids?

  243. Admin Roberg on Sun, 11th Nov 2012 7:27 pm
  244. Hi Brittney,
    You say you haven’t had a “real” job. What’s a real job? That sounds like a smart aleck comment but I meant it seriously.
    You say you do odd jobs for family and friends–so they pay you right? Then you should be reporting the income. Either you have income or you don’t. If you don’t have income–how are you feeding the kids? Are you living with someone? Is that person feeding the kids? See where I’m going with that?
    So–no income–no tax refund, no EIC.

    Now, don’t go shacking up with some loser so that he can get the EIC–that’s illegal. I just thought I should spell that out for you.

    Your kids. If you want to claim a child tax credit or EIC, then you’re going to have to earn the income. If you’re self employed by doing odd jobs–then you’re self employed and earning income.

    If you’re on welfare and if earning income would get you kicked off welfare–well then you’d better not be trying to claim EIC. (I’m not saying you would do that, I’m just spelling things out for you.)

    So, your job is going to be able to prove you have income. I think this is the post for you to read:

    Good luck.

  245. Manda on Wed, 14th Nov 2012 9:10 pm
  246. Question regarding the future income tax returns:
    I’m 24, didn’t have a job this year, no income. My son and I live with my parents.
    His father doesn’t live with us, but see’s him often, and supports him, (diapers, clothes, the basics, etc).
    Could he claim our child, or should my parents claim him?
    (they already claim two dependents, my younger siblings)

    My parents make more money than the father does, if that makes a difference? I dont think it does….
    I know I cant because I haven’t had any kind of income what-so-ever.

    Thanks in advance!

  247. Admin Roberg on Sat, 17th Nov 2012 2:07 pm
  248. Hi Manda,
    You’ve got a good question. Your boyfriend does not live with your son so he can’t claim him for head of household or EIC–but he can claim the exemption and the child tax credit if you sign the 8332 form for him. Here’s a link to get one:

    You could still have your parents claim your son as the third child for EIC because your son lives with them. Since you have no income, they could also claim your as a dependent for a 4th exemption.

    If you have income over $3700, then your parents can’t claim you and your should be claiming your son for EIC instead. Don’t file as head of household–file as single, but claim your son for EIC and head of household, but not for the dependency exemption or the child tax credit. It’s called splitting the exemption, and here’s a link about that:

  249. Kari on Sun, 18th Nov 2012 10:49 pm
  250. I am a single 24 year old with a 4 year old daughter. I lost my job last month and I am in college. My boyfriend asked me if he could carry my daughter as a dependent when he was hired offshore recently so I said ok. Will I get in trouble if I carry my child on my tax return? I have always carried her on my taxes. He will not be carrying my child when he file his taxes.

  251. Admin Roberg on Wed, 21st Nov 2012 9:51 am
  252. Hi Kari,
    You’ve got a couple of issues here.
    1. You will not get in trouble with the IRS for claiming your own child on your taxes.
    2. It’s against the law for your boyfriend, who is not your daughter’s father, to claim your child on his taxes.
    3. When he asked you if he could carry your daughter as a dependent on his job–that’s for his withholding–so since he doesn’t get to claim her–and he can’t–it’s against the law–he’s going to owe taxes this April. Please, please tell him now so that he has time to change his withholding and not get burned too badly at tax time. Since the new job is recent, it probably won’t be too bad, but if you don’t tell him–if could hurt him. So tell him to change his withholding now.

  253. Jeannette Alvarez on Sun, 25th Nov 2012 10:31 am
  254. I hae a question my baby will be born in April 2013 can I claim Her in my 2013 tax return?

  255. Admin Roberg on Sun, 25th Nov 2012 1:06 pm
  256. Hi Jeannette,
    You will claim your baby on your 2013 tax return, but remember that the upcoming tax season will be the 2012 return and you can’t claim your baby on your 2012 tax return (which is the one you will be filing in April of 2013.)

  257. Faith on Mon, 26th Nov 2012 9:28 am
  258. Hello. I separated from my husband in mid July 2012. He stopped working in October 2010 and started back work April 2012. I received SSI from our 2 kids diagnosed with special needs and used his tax return to help with 2011 expenses up until about September of 2011. I’m a stay at home mom and from that point I have sold a few products online, received help from family members, and used credit cards to help pay bills. All of 2012, he really was of no help to me even when he started working in April. I had a baby in July and I moved with my other 2 children to a place of our own. He works minimum wage and part time job making under $800 a month and has given me $250 since July. He is going to file taxes next year and I wanted to know if he’s entitled to claim the children even though he really hasn’t provided much at all for them? And I know he wouldn’t give me much of anything from his return since he hasn’t made very much this year and feels he needs the help.
    Thanks for your help.

  259. Admin Roberg on Wed, 28th Nov 2012 9:29 pm
  260. Hi Faith,
    Okay you’ve got a sticky situation. Here’s the exact law–you are not divorced, so if you want to claim head of household you have to live apart for the full 6 months of 2012. You were together for part of July so you’re stuck with filing married filing separately instead of head of household.
    That said, if you two are at all still friends–it might make sense to file together. You can file together and have the refund split between your two bank accounts.

    Now of course, if he is a danger to you or your children, you won’t want to do that, But, if you can get along for this, it’s probably the best for both of you. For one thing–you really have no income so you wouldn’t get much of a refund. If he wants to claim the kids–he’ll need your cooperation. So together, you might get a rather nice refund. It would make sense for you two to go together to have your taxes done, explain that you’re divorcing (you might have to sign a conflict of interest agreement), but then split the refund between separate bank accounts. It could be your best choice. (Run your taxes both ways to make sure. But I’m pretty positive that will be your best bet.)

  261. Kim Gahn on Fri, 30th Nov 2012 10:33 am
  262. First off, this is a great source of information, thank you!

    For all intents and purposes, I am a single mom. I live overseas with my DOD civilian wife, but since we were married in Germany and our home states do not recognize any sort of same-sex union, I am considered single. My youngest daughter lived with me until mid-June, and my oldest is coming to live with me at the end of December. I have been unable to find employment since moving here, and have had no income since July 2011. I began college full-time in August 2012, and I am receiving GI Bill funds for a period of a year. I was not eligible for a Pell Grant due to my 2011 income, but my financial aid office said I should qualify in January since I have been without income.

    My question is, do I file a return in order to verify my income for applying for student aid? Do I claim my child, or is it pointless since I had no income? I feel I am in a bit of a gray area, and I appreciate all of your valuable advice!

  263. Renee on Fri, 30th Nov 2012 12:58 pm
  264. Hi, I am a single Mom, I have 2 sons who live w/ me, I recieve child support very irregularly; he is more than $15,000.00 behind. I have cleaned houses, done photo shoots & made jewelry. I recieve foodstamps. I have not reported my income to the DOC&F because it’s not been that much.. I do not have a boyfriend & my children’s Dad is Not in their life. So my friend asks me the other day about filing, I said I haven’t reported any of this pocket change I’ve made to the DOC&F because I’m barley keeping my nose above water; well she told me I NEED to file, but I haven’t kept records of what I’ve made & don’t know if I will get in trouble & lose the MUCH NEEDED $230 a month in food stamps. Do you have any advice for me? I can estimate the monies but can’t really PROVE anything except the ppls houses I’ve cleaned. What should I do? I REALLY need the money and have only been able to claim my sons once in 11 years & it sucks for me every year not to be able to get the EIC. Also one more question, in your artical above it says ” The Earned Income Credit: Many single moms, especially when they’re just starting out, qualify for the Earned Income Credit. It’s a refundable credit, that means you get the money even if you didn’t pay any tax into the system” . Please explain this, how can I get EIC w/ paying tax into the system. Thank You Much, Renee

  265. Faith on Fri, 30th Nov 2012 4:31 pm
  266. I really appreciate the advice. Thank you.

  267. Morgan on Fri, 30th Nov 2012 9:23 pm
  268. I am a question.I am 23 and i have 4 month and her dad doesnt pay child support. Cani get EIC on my 2013 tax fund?

  269. Ashley on Fri, 30th Nov 2012 11:00 pm
  270. Hey, first tbhis is great you take time doing this. Im a single mom of three amazing children. I live with my parents and have been for two years. I lost my job of december of 2011. Havent worked since. I was 8 months preg at the time too. So after being with my baby and other two children, when it was time to find work, just havent had luck. I pay rent to my parents through child support. I make and buy my own food with foidstamps. And pay for everything else with cash assistance. I know I sound like a bum but im really not. Bad things all happend at once. Now you know my life story, I was wondering what are my options. I figure I have none. Let my mom claim them and keep it all since I dont work. They are wonderful parents. I could use the extra money to get on my feet. But I really need a job. Its rough. Im 26 and live at home. Going back to school in the spring so im getting there. Thanks for listening.

  271. Admin Roberg on Sat, 1st Dec 2012 5:28 pm
  272. Hi Kim,
    Because your taxable income will be low enough, you will not have to file a tax return in order to apply for student aid. You will need to do the FAFSA application and supply them with all of your income information, but you can do that without filing a return.

    Now–you didn’t ask, but I’m going to give you some extra advice. Your wife may be able to claim you as a dependent on her tax return. As long as you have lived together for the full year–and your income is below $3600, she may claim you.

    Also, after your tax returns are filed, and all is settled, you may want to later file an amended tax return as married filing jointly with a “protective claim for refund”. I’m attaching a link with more information:

    Since you are legally married where you live, you would qualify for this if DOMA does get overturned.

  273. Admin Roberg on Sat, 1st Dec 2012 5:44 pm
  274. Hi Renee,
    Let me answer the easy question first. A refundable credit means that you get the money back even if you don’t have any tax to offset against it. For example: the child care credit–if you don’t owe any tax, well then you lose the child care credit–it’s not refundable. The EIC, even if you don’t owe any taxes, and didn’t pay anything into the system, still get back, that’s why they call it refundable. (I don’t really think that’s the best word but that’s what it means.)

    Now, if I were you, I’d call the food stamp people and find out exactly how much money you can earn and still get your food stamps. You might be able to have some income. Tell them, “I’m thinking about trying to get some work, how much can I earn before I lose my food stamps?” Each state has different rules, but if you don’t ask, you don’t know.

    Remember that anything that goes on your federal tax return does get reported to the state.

    Now, technically you are supposed to report all of your earned income, even if it’s from little jobs. But you’re going to have a problem, the IRS is going to demand documentation. I’m actually posting another blog about that later this week.

    Bottom line, you’ll need some sort of documentation to prove your it if you’re going to be claiming your income. Names, dates, addresses of where you worked, things like that. Signed reciepts from your clients, those are good. You can’t just walk into a tax office with a “good estimate”. The IRS will fine us tax preparers $500 for preparing a return without proper documentation so be ready to prove your income when you go to the tax office.

  275. Admin Roberg on Sat, 1st Dec 2012 5:46 pm
  276. Hi Morgan,
    there are lots of questions that go along with your question. Here’s the IRS website that tells you if you qualify for EIC or not:–It%E2%80%99s-easier-than-ever-to-find-out-if-you-qualify-for-EITC

  277. Admin Roberg on Sat, 1st Dec 2012 5:56 pm
  278. Hi Ashley,
    It sounds like your best option is to let your parents claim you and your children since you don’t have any income right now. You could sign a form 8332 and allow your ex to claim the kids as dependents (which would give him the dependency exemption and child tax credit, not EIC).
    It sounds to me like your parents deserve the deduction more than your ex does, but it’s an option. Your parents wouldn not need an 8332 form–they would be entitled to all rights associated with claiming your kids–dependency exemption, EIC, child tax credit.
    Good luck with school and your kids. Many years ago, I too was “laid off” when I was 8 months pregnant. (My employer didn’t like pregnant women–I’m not making that up. He laid off four of us over the course of a year.) The best revenge is doing well. And you will. I have confidence in you. (And my old boss filed for bankruptcy and well, I own my own tax company! :))

  279. Andrea on Sun, 2nd Dec 2012 7:56 pm
  280. I was wondering how much i could get back as a single mother of one after only haveing worked about 6-7 month out of this year and have only earned $1,933 i did an estimate and it is saying something ridiculous like $773?!!!!

    HELP :(

  281. Andrea on Sun, 2nd Dec 2012 7:57 pm
  282. pardon me, i meant having**** not haveing LOL

  283. Admin Roberg on Mon, 3rd Dec 2012 10:27 am
  284. Hi Andrea,
    The earned income tax credit is based upon earned income. So, you probably did calculate correctly. Because your income was so low, you lost out on the refundable child tax credit also. If you’re receiving child support from your child’s father, it might make sense to sign the 8332 form and allow him to claim the dependency exemption and the child tax credit since you certainly don’t need it. Sorry.

  285. Andrea on Mon, 3rd Dec 2012 6:55 pm
  286. Is there any other form i could sign to somehow try and get extra money?? i am not receiving child support.

  287. Admin Roberg on Tue, 4th Dec 2012 2:34 pm
  288. @Andrea,
    I’m sorry I don’t know of anything else.

  289. Yurico on Thu, 6th Dec 2012 3:09 pm
  290. Hello, I have a 5yr old boy. I live with my dad, but I support my son, pay rent and bills. Should I file as HH or single? Is it possible that we can both file as HH?

  291. Admin Roberg on Fri, 7th Dec 2012 9:51 am
  292. Hi Yurico,
    Looks like a simple question, but it isn’t. While there are some situations where two people may both file as head of household, it’s pretty rare so my gut reaction is no, but that’s only because there’s so much information I’m missing.

    Here’s my quick and dirty simple test: prepare your tax return with the filing status of single, and with the filing status of head of household. If your refund is the same no matter which filing status you use, then I recommend using single. Head of household is more likely to get audited, so if it doesn’t change your refund, why bother with the headache?

    If using head of household does make a difference on your tax return, then you need to look at all the other parts of the equation.

    Here’s the IRS link on how to determine your filing status:

    And, for good measure, here’s the link about claiming EIC:–It%E2%80%99s-easier-than-ever-to-find-out-if-you-qualify-for-EITC

    These are really good tools that will help you figure out where you stand. Good luck.

  293. Todd on Sat, 8th Dec 2012 9:23 pm
  294. My step-daughter gave birth to twins in Nov. They had to remain in the hospital for being premature and won’t be going home to her house until Jan. Can she claim them for EIC?

  295. Admin Roberg on Sun, 9th Dec 2012 8:29 am
  296. Congratulations Grampa Todd!
    How exciting! I hope that everything turns out fine with the twins.
    When babies are born after June, they still count as having lived with the mother for over 6 months–which is one of the requirements for EIC. So the twins meet that criterion.
    The second issue you have is that the babies are in the hospital and won’t be home until January. They still count as living with your step-daughter though. Situations like kids in the hospital, or kids at school, still count as if they are living with the parent.
    Assuming that she qualifies under all the other rules, your step-daughter will still be able to claim her children for EIC on her tax return for 2012.

  297. tiffanie mendoza on Wed, 12th Dec 2012 5:55 pm
  298. hello i have an 8 month old and i have been back and forth living with my mom and her grandmother. my mom and her grandmother both took care of me while i was pregnant but once my daughter was born only my mom and i took care of her, and now my mother in law is telling me shes claiming her because she deserves to claim along with me. ive been working for a 3 months now and im trying to move out and i really dont want her taking the money my daughter and i rightfully deserve. how i can i make her stop from trying. she keeps proclaiming this is her legal right i need help before something goes wrong

  299. Be De on Thu, 13th Dec 2012 10:33 am
  300. I am a single mom going through a long divorce. My son is 2 years old and we live with my parents. Other than moral support they do not provide anything for my son or myself. Currently I only file “Single”. What should I file?

  301. Be De on Thu, 13th Dec 2012 10:36 am
  302. Oh I forgot to add my ex husband, the father of my 2 year old, does NOT provide anything for my son either. I am his sole provider.

  303. Lisa on Thu, 13th Dec 2012 11:30 pm
  304. Hello, I’m 24 and I have a 15 month old daughter and I’ve been a stay at home mom with her since she was born. Her father and I aren’t together. I moved out when she was 7 months old and I now live with my brother and his girlfriend and they have been supporting me. I just recently filed for child support but her father has been giving me around $200 a month if he has it. My daughter lives with me and her father never keeps her or makes time to see her..the only times he really ever sees her is if his parents babysit or he’s dropping off money. So, I was wondering if 1.) He would be allowed to claim her on his taxes? 2.) If my brother or his girlfriend could claim her on their taxes since they been helping support her since she was around 7 months?

  305. Michael Siebert on Fri, 14th Dec 2012 2:47 pm
  306. Tiffanie,

    We are here to help.

    Sometimes, a child meets the tests to be a qualifying child of more than one person. There are tiebreaker rules for this sort of issue. In your situation, the bottom line is that the parent gets to claim the child. Try to file as early as possible. Also, if she does file before you, continue to file yours timely. Both of your returns will be flagged but the IRS will disallow your stepmother’s claim. Your wait time for the refund will be considerably long, around 75 days, so advise her on the long wait time if she chooses to interfere.

  307. Michael Siebert on Fri, 14th Dec 2012 3:06 pm
  308. Be De,

    Great question!

    You can file head of household, which is a more beneficial status than single, if you are:
    -Unmarried or “considered unmarried” on the last day of the year
    -You paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home for the year, and
    -A qualifying person lived with you in the home for more than half the year.

    It looks like the main issue for you to file Head of Household is if you paid more than half the cost of your parent’s house.

    However, do the return using filing statuses – single and head of household – to see if the head of household status results in a higher refund. Depending on the taxpayer’s income, a lot of the times the refund amount will be the same. In this case, file single because there is a lower chance of audit than with filing head of household.

  309. Michael Siebert on Fri, 14th Dec 2012 4:00 pm
  310. Lisa,

    This is a common question and we would love to help you out.

    1.) In short, no—he would not be able to claim her on his taxes. The IRS will treat the child as the qualifying child of the parent with whom the child lived for the longer period of time during the year.

    2.) Your brother would be able to claim her because his income is higher than yours.

  311. Admin Roberg on Sat, 15th Dec 2012 4:52 pm
  312. @ Lisa,
    I just want to add my two cents to this: don’t let your brother’s girlfriend claim your child though, that would be illegal. Your brother is fine because he’s the child’s uncle–the girl friend is no relation.

  313. Isabel on Mon, 17th Dec 2012 8:43 pm
  314. Hello, I am a single mom to a 3 year old. I am an independent contractor and will be making about $7,500 this year. I do not get Medicare/SS taken out etc.. So I understand I will be paying taxes because I am self employed. My daughters father DOES pay child support. My question is- will I be able to claim my daughter and perhaps even out? Like not pay as much? Or even though I claim my daughter I wouldnt even out or get any money back because im self employed? I’ve been researching and can not find an answer. Hopefully you can help! (Not sure if this matters- my daughter and I have our own place, apartment, pay rent, bills etc. )

    Thanks in advance

  315. Michael Siebert on Tue, 18th Dec 2012 1:32 pm
  316. Good afternoon Isabel,


    The current self-employment tax rate for self-employment income earned is 13.3% (10.4% for Social Security and 2.9% for Medicare). Even though you will have $0 in taxable income, you still have to pay the self employment tax.


    However, claiming your daughter should result in a sizeable refund because of the Earned Income Tax Credit and Additional Child Tax Credit.

  317. robin on Wed, 19th Dec 2012 8:37 am
  318. good morning!
    i was wondering … when i filed in 2011 i was in a bad finacial situation and didnt wait on a w2 to come in.. so was never filed. my question is can i file the left over w2 this year with my 2012 taxes?

  319. Michael Siebert on Wed, 19th Dec 2012 4:30 pm
  320. Great question Robin.


    American individual taxpayers use a “cash basis” accounting method. What this means is we have to recognize income and expenses when they occur. When you receive paychecks during 2011, that income must be recognized in 2011.


    The IRS won’t let that income made in a prior year be recognized in a later year—that prior year income can falsely increase your tax credits because it inflates your adjusted gross income.


    Also, there are interest penalties on the taxes due. Putting the 2011 income on 2012 would negate these interest penalties.


    What you need to do is file an amended 2011 return with the additional income. Tax and late penalties will be assessed but it’s the right way to do it.


    Again, great question!

  321. Paul on Thu, 27th Dec 2012 3:17 am
  322. I am 50 yrs of age and single, plus employed. I have a 22 y.o. daughter who is a single mom and has a 2 y.o. daughter (father not in the picture). My daughter is employed and resides in her own apartment. Given her work & college schedule it requires for my granddaughter to live with me for 4 days (24hr days) out of the week to which I provide her all of her needs; i.e., food, shelter and yes even clothing at times. My question is this: Can I file HOH, but allow my daughter to claim her own daughter (my granddaughter) as a dependent when filing her Federal return along with claiming EIC? She makes approximately $15k gross for the year?

  323. Michael Siebert on Thu, 27th Dec 2012 2:47 pm
  324. This is directly from Pub 17 (The tax bible for preparers)


    “Sometimes, a child meets the relationship, age, residency, support, and joint return tests to be a qualifying child of more than one person. Although the child is a qualifying child of each of these persons, only one person can actually treat the child as a qualifying child to take all of the following tax benefits (provided the person is eligible for each benefit).


    1. The exemption for the child.
    2. The child tax credit.
    3. Head of household filing status.
    4. The credit for child and dependent care expenses.
    5. The exclusion from income for dependent care benefits.
    6. The earned income credit.”


    So in a nutshell, you cannot.

  325. Anna on Thu, 27th Dec 2012 6:45 pm
  326. I am a single mom of three boys and i live with my boyfriend (kids are not his) is that situation going to affect my EIC? Can i file head of household and can he file single?

  327. Adam on Fri, 28th Dec 2012 10:08 am
  328. The mother of our 7mo old daughter and myself live together but are unmarried. It has been off and on for a while but we are doing fine now. She is getting WIC. I make a lot less than she does so we were thinking about me claiming our daughter. But we don’t want to cause problems with the IRS and WIC. Please advise.

  329. Michael Siebert on Fri, 28th Dec 2012 11:13 am
  330. Adam,

    Would love to help.


    If unmarried parents live together with their child the entire year and are filing separate returns, either parent can claim her.


    Do your returns both ways to see who gets the highest refund – First, have her claim the child and you do not, then have you claim the child and she does not.


    The IRS considers The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) public assistance benefits to be non-taxable because they are based upon the recipient’s needs.


    Thanks for bringing up WIC. If you need assistance or want to read up on WIC, please visit

  331. Michael Siebert on Fri, 28th Dec 2012 11:38 am
  332. Anna,

    This should not affect your Earned Income Credit.


    You can file HoH if you meet these three tests:


    1. You are unmarried or “considered unmarried” on the last day of the year.
    2. You paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home for the year.
    3. A “qualifying person” lived with you in the home for more than half the year
    The support test is not a test that has to be met when claiming EIC for a qualifying child.
    He can file single.

  333. Taylor on Sun, 30th Dec 2012 11:04 pm
  334. my boyfriend [baby’s father] live together, he is working and i am not. i havent worked since the middle of June 2012. who should claim our son? also, my boyfriend doesnt get any federal taken out of his paychecks, will this effect our tax returns? will we owe? i’m such a dummy when it comes to this stuff. any advice would help! thanks so much@

  335. liz on Sun, 30th Dec 2012 11:07 pm
  336. Hi thank u first of all for ur great help and information. I am 24yr old single mother of 1. I am self employed do i qualify to claim EIC please help thank u and god bless

  337. Michael Siebert on Mon, 31st Dec 2012 10:16 am
  338. Liz,
    You qualify for EIC if you meet the general EIC rules such as having a valid social security number, your filing status cannot be married filing separate, you must be a US Citizen, and among others. If you have a child, the child must meet the relationship, age, residency, and joint return test and among others. These rules are here if you need them – – But given the context of the question, I am thinking you want to know more about self employment income.
    To claim EIC, your earned income must not exceed the earned income credit maximums. For 2012 with one child in your case, the income range is $0 – $36,920 for singles. Self employment is earned income which counts towards the earned income credit. It is important to keep adequate records because preparers are facing many new due diligence guidelines to ensure taxpayers are rightfully claiming the earned income tax credit. If you get audited, the IRS will request this information as well. More information on record keeping can be found here:

  339. Michael Siebert on Mon, 31st Dec 2012 11:12 am
  340. Taylor,

    You’re not a dummy. Tax law is confusing and it’s tough to know where to find the right information.

    If you and your boyfriend are on good terms, the person who should claim your son is the person who will receive the highest refund. Do the return both ways, with you claiming him, then with your boyfriend claiming him, and see which way results in the highest refund.

    Because your boyfriend doesn’t get any Federal tax taken from his paychecks, he is most likely going to have a tax liability. The amount of tax depends on his earnings.

    It probably makes more sense for your boyfriend to claim the son because he will also get to file Head of Household as well. If he let you claim the child, he would not longer get to use HoH.

  341. maggie on Mon, 31st Dec 2012 7:43 pm
  342. I have a 2 month old me and the father live together split rent and bills. But I buy most her stuff. He makes more than me. If I claim her and dont give him any of it can he take me to court or can I get in trouble? Or what if I claim her and he tries to claim her to? What happens?

  343. Adam N. on Tue, 1st Jan 2013 8:43 pm
  344. I hoping you can answer this. I have custody of two kids and my ex only sees them mostly every other weekend. She did not work last year so should not be filing taxes, however our parenting plan states she get to claim one of them. Due to her not working at all last year so not filing taxes can she let her boyfriend claim our son. He lives with and is supported by me, not her.

  345. brandon on Wed, 2nd Jan 2013 12:03 pm
  346. Yes, i”m a full time college student and my daughter has been living with me for the past year and a half. I was wondering if i could qualify for some kind of tax return considering that i

  347. Admin Roberg on Wed, 2nd Jan 2013 2:08 pm
  348. This is for Paul,
    I realize that Mike already answered I just wanted to add my 2 cents worth. Mike’s right that you can’t claim your granddaughter for Head of Household while letting your daughter claim her for EIC. That’s never allowed under any circumstances.
    Sometimes parents may “split” a child–where one claims the exemption and child tax credit while the other claims Head of Household and EIC–but that privilege is reserved only for the child’s parents so you wouldn’t qualify for that either. Sorry.

  349. Todd on Wed, 2nd Jan 2013 5:04 pm
  350. Can I claim HOH for year 2012 even though my son was born on July 26th of 2012? Also can I claim my son as a dependent exemption and then my baby’s mom claim him for the EIC since she made a lot less money than me in 2012?

  351. Michael Siebert on Wed, 2nd Jan 2013 5:16 pm
  352. Adam,

    The issue here is whether or not the child is a “qualifying child” (IRS lingo) of your ex’s boyfriend. The boyfriend does not satisfy the relationship test because it is not his son. Also, he doesn’t satisfy the member of household test because the child didn’t live with the boyfriend for more than half of 2012. Of course, if he could claim the child, he would be entitled to the exemption for the child, the child tax credit, earned income credit, etc. Don’t risk EIC fraud. See –

    The child cannot be claimed by your ex’s boyfriend as a “qualifying relative” because he did not provide over half the child’s support. Qualifying relatives for taxpayers do not qualify the taxpayer for the Earned Income Credit or Child Tax Credit.

  353. Michael Siebert on Wed, 2nd Jan 2013 5:40 pm
  354. Todd,

    You can claim HoH because even if the child was born in December, the IRS says that you can claim the child for the year. You should be able to show proof that you were housing him.

    If you do a Form 8332, you get to keep the head of household status, the dependent care credit, and EIC on your return. You would be giving the exemption and child tax credit to her.

  355. Georgia on Sat, 5th Jan 2013 6:28 am
  356. Question for you, my daughter was born in September of 2012 and I am a single mother with an income of less than $15,000. Am I still eligible for EIC? It says must live with you for more than half of that year? I was pregnant with her, does that count or no? Thanks for your help!

  357. Admin Roberg on Sat, 5th Jan 2013 3:17 pm
  358. Hi Brandon,
    You’re a full time college student and you have a daughter who lives with you. You want to know if you qualify for something on your tax return.
    Here’s my question for you. Do you have any income? If yes, then possibly. If no, then who’s supporting you? Your parents? Then perhaps they will be claiming you and your daughter.
    My guess is that you’re probably supporting yourself somehow and that’s likely to qualify you some type of tax credit. Here’s a link to the IRS website to determine if you have “Earned Income” which could qualify you for an Earned Income Tax Credit.

    Now, usually full time students do not qualify for EIC–but being a parent trumps that so if you’re worried about not qualifying for EIC because you’re a student–that’s not a problem for you. That’s for full time students who do not have children.

  359. Admin Roberg on Sun, 6th Jan 2013 5:12 pm
  360. Hi Georgia,
    You are entitled to EIC for your daughter. Even though she was born in September, she still counts as having been with you for the whole year. Hey, you’re her mother, you know she’s been with you for the whole year!
    Congratulations on your new daughter!

  361. ashley on Sun, 6th Jan 2013 5:35 pm
  362. Hi my ex made about $24000 this year well i only made $2500. I really don’t want him claiming them because I’m afraid he wont give the money to me like he said he would. Everywhere I look I’m gonna get barely anything back if I claim them. What should I do?

  363. Admin Roberg on Sun, 6th Jan 2013 9:26 pm
  364. Ashley,
    It’s important that you do what’s right, not cheat on your taxes. Now, I don’t think you mean to cheat on your taxes, but the way your question reads sounds really suspicious. So—-what I want you to do is read the IRS website about if you qualify for EIC or not. Here’s the link:––Use-the-EITC-Assistant-to-Find-Out-if-You-Should-Claim-it.

    Be careful of saying things like: “I don’t know if he’ll give me the money.” Even if it’s not fraud–it sounds like it. And you don’t want to go there.

    Go to the IRS website and answer the questions honestly. That’s how you’ll determine how you’ll claim your children.

  365. Admin Roberg on Sun, 6th Jan 2013 9:48 pm
  366. I Maggie,
    I’m sorry I missed your question earlier. Here’s my question to you. Why are you living with a guy that is the father of your child and trying to hide money from him? I’m sorry, that’s kind of a rude question, but really. If you and the father are a “family” you should be working together for what’s best for your baby.
    Now, if you two are not on the ups, you have tie-breaker issues to deal with. Who is the parent–since you both are, you go to the next issue. The second being–who lived with the child the longest? Since you’re together, that’s a tie. Now if it goes to the third issue, it’s which parent makes the most money? That’s your boyfriend. So if it comes down to a fight, you lose.

  367. Brittney on Mon, 7th Jan 2013 11:31 am
  368. Hi. Ok, I have two children, one which was born last April. I an a single mother with no help. Last year, I did odd jobs for family, like cleaning houses, mowing gras, anything to get by. Since it was family, I have no forms of any kind, but know I, made around $4600. I desperately need the money now for bills, but since I have no forms I was wondering how would I file and what is the possibility I could get something back for my children?

  369. Jen on Mon, 7th Jan 2013 2:46 pm
  370. Hello, ok
    Here’s my question.
    I’m a hairstylist who will be filing a 1099 for the first time this year. It’s my first year working in my own chair. Last year I was on a payroll working for my uncles company so I recieved a pretty large return for my son. However, since I’ll be doing the 1099 this year I was wondering if now my boyfriend who is our my so a father an lives with me should Folsom him this year I stead. He makes a lot more money than me. But how would it work also if I still claimed him? Would I still get a return? I’m so lost in all this. From what I’m reading its probably best to let him claim our son so we can actually get a return. Correct?

  371. Casey Harris on Mon, 7th Jan 2013 3:00 pm
  372. I have a scrolled through and tryed to find an answer to my question by past posts but everyone is so different! I am a single mom, who gets child support, lives with my parents and has not worked this year. I have recieved some state aid, W-2 program and foodshare. When is comes to filing taxes should I file taxes and claim my daughter as a single parent or should i allow my parents to claim both her and I?

  373. Catherine on Mon, 7th Jan 2013 4:43 pm
  374. Hi I have two children, 15 and 14. I claimed 1 for most of the year and made about 18,000. To get the maximum back for my return should I have claimed 0.

  375. rosy on Mon, 7th Jan 2013 8:06 pm
  376. Hi I live with my boyfriend father of my one year old and my son of 3months would he be able to claim our one year old even thou he dint sing her birthcent or his last name

  377. Admin Roberg on Mon, 7th Jan 2013 9:02 pm
  378. Hi Brittney,
    You should read this post, it might help:
    Good luck.

  379. Admin Roberg on Mon, 7th Jan 2013 9:17 pm
  380. Hi Jen,
    Okay, your boyfriend is also your son’s father, right? So he can probably claim him, but it might not be the best thing. You should work together to see what works best.
    Now that you’re self employed–you’ve got to pay self employment taxes. You can still qualify for EIC being self employed. You might really REALLY want to claim your son because of the self employment tax. So you should look at the big picture. Go together, look at what is best for both of you, and go from there.

  381. Admin Roberg on Mon, 7th Jan 2013 9:21 pm
  382. Hi Casey,
    If you made less than $3800 for the year then your parents can claim both you and your child as dependents. That’s going to be the best thing to do.

  383. Admin Roberg on Mon, 7th Jan 2013 9:24 pm
  384. Hi Catherine,
    Yes you’d get more money back if you claimed 0 exemptions instead of one–on the other hand, you got more money back with each paycheck to spend throughout the year. Seems to me like you got the best of both situations. :)

  385. Admin Roberg on Mon, 7th Jan 2013 9:49 pm
  386. Hi Rosy,
    So here’s your problem–if your boyfriend is not on the birth certificate and your child doesn’t have his last name–how do you prove that he’s the father? So, that’s you job to figure out before you file.

  387. sarah may on Wed, 9th Jan 2013 9:41 pm
  388. hi i am the mother of a two year old baby me and my boyfriend are splitting up in march we live together and work he often payed for most of our expenses he takes our daughter to daycare while i pick her up there were times when i didnt have enough money and he took care of me except for my car bill i was wondering would he be elligable to claim our child on his taxes if i claim her now he is saying that he deserves that tax return because he would have no money all the time. how would this work and does he have justice

  389. sarah may on Wed, 9th Jan 2013 9:43 pm
  390. and if i made less than 30000 would he be able to claim me? just a scary thought from what i have been reading

  391. Racheal on Thu, 10th Jan 2013 2:36 am
  392. Hi,I need some advice please. My 15 month old son and fiancé (son’s father) have been living with my mom this past year until I graduate in may. I am a full time nursing student and do not work .My fiancé works and makes 800 a month. we pay for our son with my school grants and remainder of his money after bills are paid but mostly live off of my school loans. My mom does not charge us rent but we do pay the 200 electric bill each month and other little bills. we completely pay for ours and our childs food and clothing…everything except for rent. I realize that I will not file taxes because I have no income but there is a bit of disagreement between my mother and childs father of who should rightfully claim my son. Is my fiancé allowed to claim him even though he is claimed under my financial aid because I don’t want to mess up my school assistance. I guess because we pay for everything except for rent we are not sure how my mom should file and how my fiancé should file. please help. taxes in general are very confusing to me. Thank you so much for your time. : )

  393. sandra on Thu, 10th Jan 2013 5:05 pm
  394. Hello. My son was born in febuary 2012. Unfortunatly he passed away in may. My question is do i claim him as a dependent this year. He was alive for three months. I just dont wanna get into trouble for not claiming him. Thanks so much for the advice. Your doing a great thing!

  395. Janet g on Thu, 10th Jan 2013 6:57 pm
  396. Does it affect me if I was reciving cash aid over 7 months then stopped and dicided to claim my daughter in my taxes?

  397. Admin Roberg on Thu, 10th Jan 2013 9:03 pm
  398. Hi Sarah,
    Here’s a link to the IRS website with the EITC assistant. It’s a series of questionaires about EIC and what you can and can’t claim. It should help you figure out what you should do.

  399. Admin Roberg on Thu, 10th Jan 2013 9:06 pm
  400. @Sarah,
    did you mean $3,000? You wrote $30,000. If you made less than $3700 and lived with him for the entire year, well then he might be able to claim you. But if your income is closer to $30,000, then he certainly couldn’t.

  401. Admin Roberg on Thu, 10th Jan 2013 9:15 pm
  402. Hi Racheal,
    Here’s the thing. If there’s a fight over who claims the child–your fiance will win because he is the parent. But, you should really try to work things out with your Mom. The only way she can claim your son is if she makes more money than your fiance–which I’m guessing that she does.
    You might want to work together to see which way your son is claimed is best for everyone.

  403. Admin Roberg on Thu, 10th Jan 2013 9:40 pm
  404. Hi Sandra,
    I’m so sorry for your loss. You may claim an exemption for a child that was born and died during the same year. Here is a link for more information:

    Once again, I’m so sorry.

  405. Admin Roberg on Thu, 10th Jan 2013 9:47 pm
  406. Hi Janet,
    When you file a federal tax return, the IRS does share that information with the state.

  407. Maple on Fri, 11th Jan 2013 6:04 pm
  408. Hi im a single mom of a 4 month old boy and I stay with my dad. I was wondering if I will have to give the farther of my child half of what I get back for him because some people keep telling me I dont have to and some people say I do

  409. Michael Siebert on Fri, 11th Jan 2013 7:31 pm
  410. Maple,

    You will not half to give the father half of what you get back. You are the custodial parent – The parent with whom the child resided with for the greater number of nights during the calendar year.

    If you are living with your parents and they are supporting you and the baby, you can let your parents claim the child. Your parents would have to make more money than you do to be able to do this.

  411. Katie on Fri, 11th Jan 2013 10:08 pm
  412. Hi. I have an 8 yr old son. His dad gets him every other weekend. We were never married & we agreed to him going over there every other weekend when I filed for child support but nothing says that he can claim my son for taxes. He keeps arguing with me saying that he has the right to claim him but from what I heard he can’t because my son lives with me. I was just wondering do I have to let him claim him if we never had anything filed about that? I also was wondering, my son & I were living with my parents up til Dec. so what would I file? Head of house hold? Single? I don’t know anything about this so I really need some help understanding all this. Thanks!!

  413. Admin Roberg on Sat, 12th Jan 2013 9:43 am
  414. Katie,
    So it sounds to me like your ex has no grounds for claiming your son.

    Now, on the other hand, your parents might. If you and your son lived with them all year, or even for over 6 months, it might make sense for them to claim him?

    But there’s a lot of unanswered questions here. First, here’s a link to the IRS website about how to figure your filing status:

    But here’s my “quick and dirty” way to figure–prepare you taxes as head of household–look at the refund amount. Then, change the filing status to single. If the refund doesn’t change, then file as single.

    The IRS calculator is a better calculator, but if filing as single doesn’t change your refund, I guarantee that you should file as single.

  415. Amber on Sat, 12th Jan 2013 9:17 pm
  416. I am a full time student and new mother. I do not work, I focus on school and baby. My SO, and father to my child, works full time and supports our family. He has a daughter from a previous relationship that he pays child support on, this includes his entire tax refund. If he claims our child, will the refund pertaining to our new baby go to his ex as well? If that is the case, I would rather our child go unclaimed, as his ex is unemployed, she quit her job to be a SAHM when her new baby was born and is not receiving/seeking child support for that kid. So, basically, she is supporting herself and another kid with the money that is for my SO’s child; and I don’t want her taking away from my child to do that.

  417. Admin Roberg on Sat, 12th Jan 2013 10:14 pm
  418. Hi Amber,
    If you were married, you could file an injured spouse claim and that would keep the tax money for your child away from the ex. But since you’re not married, then you don’t have that option.

    But here’s a question for you–are you saying that your SO is behind on his child support? If he owes child support, you might want him to claim your child even if he’s going to lose the money–it will help bring down some of that debt that he owes.

    If he is not behind in his child support, (or some other debt) then the IRS wouldn’t take his refund.

  419. carla on Sun, 13th Jan 2013 7:09 pm
  420. hi my is net i babysit my daughter baby.she pay me,and i support my brother he just got out of jail been support him since he been there 2001,n still is support him ..could i file tax

  421. carla on Sun, 13th Jan 2013 7:17 pm

  423. Admin Roberg on Sun, 13th Jan 2013 7:29 pm
  424. Hi Carla (or Net),
    If your brother just got out of jail then you really can’t claim him on your taxes. He hasn’t lived with you, he was in prison. Even though you sent him money while he was in prison, it’s not going to count as more than half of his support. The state paid for his meals and room and board while he was in jail.
    You can’t claim your grandchild either, you are the babysitter, not the parent. Sorry.

  425. christina mcguire on Mon, 14th Jan 2013 5:06 pm
  426. Hi Im christina I ended up losing my job in march of last year. Moved to NY and was working for only a month out there. Both jobs are waitressing jobs.
    I am a single mom as well. Will i be able to still file income this year. Oh and I am back at the job I lost in march of last year. I started last month.

  427. Courtney on Mon, 14th Jan 2013 5:08 pm
  428. I just found out that I have an offset on my taxes due to unemployment overpayment….is there anything that I can do to get it off so that they can’t take more than half of my taxes

  429. Admin Roberg on Mon, 14th Jan 2013 9:25 pm
  430. Hi Christina,
    If you were working you should file a tax return. Congratulations on getting your job back.

  431. Admin Roberg on Mon, 14th Jan 2013 9:28 pm
  432. Hi Courtney,
    If you’ve got an offset coming because of your unemployment, the best way to take it off is to pay it back. If you can’t do that, you’re probably going to lose your refund.
    You’re posting this in the single moms post, so I’m guessing that you’re single. If you were married, you might have a shot with an innocent spouse claim.

  433. Claudia on Tue, 15th Jan 2013 5:34 pm
  434. Hi there. I have a question. So, my first baby was born on August of 2012. The father, who is my fiance, we live together, but not married yet. I am so new at this, I don’t know if I should file as single. I was also wondering, since I’m a first time mother, would I get more in return if I were to go to someone or file online.

  435. Michael Siebert on Tue, 15th Jan 2013 6:05 pm
  436. Claudia,

    Great question! You have come to the right place.

    To start with your latter question, you would “technically” get the same in return if you were to go to someone or file online. And by same in return, I mean refund amount and I’m assuming that a tax preparer’s knowledge and your knowledge are exactly equal. If you were to go someone, there will be a tax preparation fee but you also get access to their knowledge, printers, helpful resources, etc. If you do them yourself, you may want to purchase tax software or if you are a trooper, download the forms manually and input information manually—this can be a very tedious proposition.

    If you have no clue what you’re doing, it would make more sense to go to a paid preparer. I mean, I can’t do any work on my own car so that’s why I bring it in to auto mechanic shops. Sure I could learn it, but I don’t want to invest the time and energy into it because I have too much other stuff I have to know and learn.

    Now for your first question. You could be able to file as Head of Household provided that you paid more than half the cost of keeping up the home.

    Do your tax return both ways: First, with you claiming the child, and second with your fiancé claiming the child to see which way maximizes your refunds between you both.

    If you don’t really understand any of this, use a paid preparer. Great question!

  437. Stephen on Tue, 15th Jan 2013 10:28 pm
  438. Hi,
    I own my house and have my gf, my 6 month old daughter, My sister and her 8 month old son living with me.
    1. My gf makes significantly less money then me, i made about 25000 this past year, would the return be larger if she calimed our daughter rather than me?
    2. My sister doesnt pay me rent persay, she does help a little with gas since we work at the same company and we carpool, but i pay all the house expenses. I think she made more money then I since i had less hours worked. We have talked about letting me claim her son as a payment for them living here, but i want to make sure that i do it right and that i wont get in trouble for anything. also she isnt the most responsible person when it comes to financial situations, and she has been paying the irs back for past tax years and still owes, would that cause and issue with me claiming him?

  439. m5299 on Wed, 16th Jan 2013 2:30 pm
  440. Hi, I’m a single mom I have a one yr old little boy. I work under the table I guess u would call it but really I just clean houses I make about 7200.. should I file taxes and will I have to pay in since I have my son as a dependent? I also live on my own.

  441. Admin Roberg on Wed, 16th Jan 2013 8:42 pm
  442. Hi Stephen,
    First question, should you or your son’s mother claim the child on your taxes? Because you are both working together, and you are working as a family, and you both live together with your child–then it doesn’t matter who claims your son. I would prepare both of your returns and see what works out the best for the three of you as a family.

    Now, about claiming your sister’s son. I personally wouldn’t do it. Even though you might be able to–you said some things that made me go “world of hurt.” Here’s an issue for you though–if you go through the questionairre, it will ask about the parent. It’s a red flag when the parent does not claim the child.

    Now here’s the thing most people don’t know. If you claim a child that the parent doesn’t claim–your Adjusted Gross Income has to be higher than the AGI of either parent that could claim the child. You say your sister makes more than you do so you can’t claim your nephew.

  443. Admin Roberg on Wed, 16th Jan 2013 9:33 pm
  444. Hi M5299–

    Okay I see a couple of issues–not necessarily a problem, but things that make me go “hmmmm.” Meaning, you need to know the answers to these potential questions.

    1. You make $7500 a year cleaning houses. How are you going to prove that you made that income? Do you have receipts, or bank statements, or what?

    2. You live on your own. How? At $7500 a year, how do you pay for diapers? How do you eat?

    So, you have two issues–proving the income and proving you’re taking care of the child. Now let me say one thing–it’s not illegal to have help raising your child. But just admit it up front if you’re getting help. Don’t claim head of household, claim single it won’t change your taxes.

    Now are you getting government help? If you’re getting welfare, do they know you’re working under the table? The IRS reports tax information to the states, so be aware of that.

    Everybody wants that EIC–I get it. But is there going to be a price to pay if you go after it? Only you know the answers to these questions. Don’t answer them online, I just want you to know the answers before you get your taxes done.

  445. Amanda on Thu, 17th Jan 2013 10:13 pm
  446. Ok so I have beautiful twin boys, and me and their father are still happily together and not married. We both make about the same he grossed 39k I grossed 41k we pay everything together all money goes to one account. I have always claimed both kids, HOH and daycare because I carry the health insurance for them. We are looking to buy a house together this year and are using all our return money for our down payment so we really want to maximize our tax returns. So I am wondering if it makes sense for each to claim one child, split the daycare exspense and I will claim HOH. Do you think that is smart or should I continue to claim both kids or let him claim both kids? Thanks for any help or advise!

  447. Jan Roberg on Sat, 19th Jan 2013 7:17 pm
  448. Hi Amanda,
    The best thing for someone in your situation to do is to sit down together and run the numbers all the different ways to see what works out best.
    Because of your incomes, it probably won’t make much of a difference–but it’s still worth your while to go both ways. You may save a little more money if the father claims the kids and HOH as he makes a little more than you do–but you really can’t tell until you hash it all out.

  449. Emi on Sun, 20th Jan 2013 12:52 pm
  450. Ive read every post and havent found an answer to my questions. I hope you can help!

    I am a single mother/sole provider, father is not in picture at all. I will receive a1099 for commission received (approx $3k for year), as well I am also a “girl friday” which I will need to pay taxes on monies made (approx $12k). I do not have a bank account (judgements) – its been a rough couple of years! What form/s will I need to fill out to prove cash income? As well, I assume I need to file HOH and claim my child as a dependent. Correct?

    If I don’t owe any taxes and am entitled to a refund – will the “judgements” collect my refund?

    One last thing. 2 years ago my childs father claimed our child and I. We were not married, although living together at the time, his accountant filed married. As well, I am not sure if my W2s were accounted for – they were included with the return, I just dont see where they were “added in”. Should I have this corrected? If so, how do I go about doing so?

    Thank you in advance for any help/information you can provide.


  451. Amy on Sun, 20th Jan 2013 2:46 pm
  452. I do not own a home or anything I am a single parent I make minumum wage my daughter is 15. HOw do I get more money back by claiming 0 or 1.

  453. Jan Roberg on Sun, 20th Jan 2013 8:23 pm
  454. Hi Emi,
    Well the 1099MISC wil help prove the $3000 anyway. Ideally, the employer who you were a girl Friday for should also issue you a 1099. But if he doesn’t, here’s a post that might help a bit:

    Yes, you’ll need to pay the self employment taxes, but the EIC should take care of that and hopefully get you a little refund as well. Yes, claim HH and claim your chld as a dependent.

    I don’t know if the judgements will take your refund or not. Usually, your refund can be taken by state or federal taxes, student loans, and child support. You can call the IRS and see if there are any judgements that would intercept your refund though. 1 800 829-1040 — yes, you’ll be on hold forever, but eventually you’ll be directed to someone who can tell you where you stand.

    About the old return–you should fix it. You weren’t married. It could be a royal pain for you to fix this, but it sounds to me like you’re trying to “fix” things in your life so you may as well tackle this one too. Sometimes doing the right thing isn’t always easy and fixing the old tax return might be harder than you think. But, it’s especially important to fix if your ex is “a problem”. You’re filing as head of household now–well the IRS doesn’t know you’re not married so if he does get into trouble–they might come after you–so do fix it, even though it’s not going to be pretty.
    Good luck.

  455. Jan Roberg on Sun, 20th Jan 2013 8:36 pm
  456. Hi Amy,
    The question is, do you want more money back in a refund or do you want more money in your paycheck?
    If you want a bigger refund, claim 0 exemptions. If you want a bigger paycheck, claim 1 exemption. If you want an even bigger take home check, claim 2 exemptions.
    If you’re only making minimum wage, and you have a dependent to claim, you should get all of your withholding back with the EIC and the child tax credit. So getting as much take home pay during the rest of the year is a good idea for you. It helps pay for things like food. (I kind of like food! Paying the rent is good too. So’s gas money. You get the picture.)

    Also, if you withhold more, and then say you lose your job–well you can’t touch that money until next tax season. You’re better off trying to stuff some cash in a savings account (or under your mattress.) That way if something bad happens, you’ve got something saved for a rainy day. (I just officially turned into my mother when I said “saving for a rainy day.”) Although I don’t want to be my mom–in this case, my Mom was right. You’re better off getting more money in your paycheck and saving it than using the IRS for a savings account. You should be getting a nice refund anyway with the EIC and child tax credit anyway.

  457. Amanda on Mon, 21st Jan 2013 2:20 pm
  458. Hi, i had a question, me and my boyfriend are trying to figure out who should claim our 10 month old baby to get the maxim return, i made 24,000 and he made 70,000 and also has a house only in his name. and we live together . so was just wondering which way would benefit us more.

  459. Veronica on Mon, 21st Jan 2013 8:12 pm
  460. Im a single mothere with 3kids and i made about 18000 can i get at least 5000 back if i claim self employment

  461. Jan Roberg on Mon, 21st Jan 2013 8:21 pm
  462. Hi Amanda,
    Thanks for posting. I’m sorry but I’m not going to answer your question though. My job is to prepare people’s taxes, that’s how I make my living. I know that I answer a lot of questions here, but I don’t figure out refunds for folks.
    You can run the numbers for you and your boyfriend in the “do your own taxes” tab. Sorry, but I’ve got kids to feed. I hope you understand.

  463. Jan Roberg on Mon, 21st Jan 2013 8:38 pm
  464. Hi Veronica,
    I don’t prepare tax returns in the blog posts. That’s how I make my living. I answer questions for free, but I can’t afford to calculate taxes for free.
    But, I think you’ve got another issue here–what do you mean by claiming self employment? Are you self employed? Because if you are, then you are. If you’re not, then you can’ t claim self employment.
    It doesn’t matter what the refund is–you have to claim what you really made. I think this is the post that you really need to see:

  465. Angelica on Tue, 22nd Jan 2013 10:44 am
  466. Hi,

    I would like some help figuring out who can add my 4 month old baby as dependent. I live with my boyfriend who is the biological father, and he makes most of the household income, and pays for everything household related i make about less then half what he makes. We are not married, can he file my son and myself as dependants while i file my own taxes separate or is that not doable? how should we go about this

  467. Erika on Tue, 22nd Jan 2013 11:45 am
  468. Hi my name is Erika,
    I was wondering if How can i claim my daughter on the next following year …. Back in 2003 we went to court n got arrange tax returns of only odds but back then I didn’t had a job n now that I do he Won’t let me file my daughter every year , he gets paids twice about the amount I do , my daughter lives with me n visits dad only 2days n pays me $600 mo. do u think I would have to go to court again since he doesn’t wanna share tax return. With me or how can I file her on my tax returns

  469. Michael Siebert on Tue, 22nd Jan 2013 2:24 pm
  470. Erika,

    You are the custodial parent – the parent with whom the child lived with the longest during the calendar year. You are entitled to claim your daughter.

    You should file your return claiming your daughter. If you both claim her, both of your returns will be flagged. An audit is likely to happen but since you are the custodial parent, you should win that battle with the IRS. Only bad thing is that it will take about two and a half months for the refund to process.

    Also read

  471. Michael Siebert on Tue, 22nd Jan 2013 4:21 pm
  472. Angelica,

    If unmarried parents live together with their child the entire year and are filing separate returns, either parent can claim her.

    Your boyfriend can claim the child but odds are that he cannot claim you. If he could, you would be considered a “qualifying relative” and you would have to make less than $3,800 for tax year 2012. Of course, a qualifying relative would not boost the earned income credit or child tax credit as that is only for qualifying children.

    In my opinion, I would have the return done two ways—the first way with you claiming the child and the second way with him claiming the child—to see who gets the highest refund.

  473. Michael Siebert on Tue, 22nd Jan 2013 11:30 pm
  474. Veronica,

    The income range for maximum earned income credit for singles with children is $13,090 to $17,090. This will yield a maximum earned income credit of $5,891. Since your income is a little above $17,090, the earned income credit will be reduced slightly.

    Use caution when self employment income falls close within the earned income credit “sweet spot”. These returns are audited frequently so make sure you dot your i’s and cross your t’s-Make sure you can substantiate income and can prove expenses, via bank statements, receipts, etc. Proper record keeping is a must.

  475. Joe Cespedes on Wed, 23rd Jan 2013 12:58 pm
  476. Good afternoon

    My wife and her ex are debating who gets to claim her daughter on taxes since she is over 18 now and the divorce decree doesnt cover her. Child support from the father has ended, however, my wife and her ex both give support to the daughter while in college. The daughter was living in out house for 5 months of the year and then started renting an apartment before she started college. Who gets to claim her on taxes?

    thank you in advance!

  477. April on Wed, 23rd Jan 2013 3:34 pm
  478. Hello, My children and I live with my boyfriend, they aren’t his biological children, I did not work any in 2012 I am attending college part time. I have been receiving food stamps for my children and I (DFS knows I am living with BF) and began getting TANIF due to the fact my ex-husband stopped paying child support. I know because I haven’t had any earned income I will not be able to file taxes for EIC (I can claim all 3 children every year via divorce decree). My BF has provided housing, clothing, and daily essentials for more than half the year. What my question is, will my BF be able to claim me and my children as dependents and if so, how is that beneficial to him? I would say he probably earned $50,000-$60,000.

  479. Fatmata on Wed, 23rd Jan 2013 10:43 pm
  480. Hi,
    I am a full time student. I turned 18yrs last year (5/6/12). I was living on my own but my uncle was the one supporting me.
    I got a Part-Time job in July, 2012 and also enrolled at a community college as a full-time student.
    I happen to make between $2000-2800 the whole of last year. And i got married to my baby daddy in 12/26/12 but was unemployed for the rest of 2012.

    My question here is:
    1. Can i able to claim my daughter while am filling my tax? Can i able to benefit more by claiming her considering my last year income?
    2. Can my parent able to claimed me for the months of Jan-June 2012 because i was still under them and i was still under 18yrs old?
    3. If they do able to claim me can i able to fill tax and claimed my daughter?
    4. Can i able to claim myself and my daughter?


  481. Michael Siebert on Thu, 24th Jan 2013 10:39 am
  482. Did your daughter work? It may be most beneficial to have no one claim her and let her have her possible refund. That’s for you guys to decide.

    Wife would be entitled to claim the daughter because she lived with you for “more than half the year.” Even though she wasn’t technically in your house for half the year, being a student is a qualified exception to time lived with the taxpayer if the child was enrolled as a full-time student at a school during any part of five calendar months. Wife is the custodial parent defined as the parent with whom the child resides for the greater number of nights during the calendar year.

    Consider splitting the exemption. Read

  483. Michael Siebert on Thu, 24th Jan 2013 11:15 am
  484. April,

    The boyfriend would get to claim all four of you as qualifying relatives JUST for the dependent exemption (assuming none of you worked). The exemption amount for 2012 is $3,800.

    Let’s say he earned $55,000. Subtract the standard deduction of $5,950 and his 5 exemptions, $19,000, and he’s left with a taxable income of $30,050. This puts him in the 15% tax bracket and generates a $4,076 tax. If he doesn’t claim anyone it will generate a tax of about $7,349. It will benefit him for about $3,000 bucks.

  485. amanda dolar on Fri, 25th Jan 2013 11:15 am
  486. I am now a single mother of 6 month old.I haven’t worked in a year and me and the father have been living together until recently broke up. The father been supporting the child. But I am with the child 24/7. I think I should claim him. Would it be tax fraud if I already sent everything.

  487. Jan Roberg on Fri, 25th Jan 2013 9:57 pm
  488. Hi Fatmata,
    You are married–that changes everything. Most likely, you and your husband will file as married filing jointly with you both claiming your child together.

    Here’s a link to the IRS website about EIC–that’s what you’re really interested in is the Earned Income Tax Credit.

    A couple of things–if your parents claim you as a dependent, then you can’t claim EIC. But–for your parents to claim you, then you can’t file jointly with your husband unless it’s only to claim a refund–but this is really tricky–you can’t just get a refund, you can’t have any tax debt–you won’t, but I don’t know about your husband.

    If you and your husband are not filing jointly and claiming your child together–which is the normal way to claim–you should get some professional help with your taxes to make sure that you’re following all the rules.

  489. Sendy on Sat, 26th Jan 2013 2:13 am
  490. Hi,
    I’m a single mother my baby was just born December 10 2012. Everyone tells me I can’t claim him this year and will have to wait till next year is this correct or am I able to claim already.

  491. jim on Sat, 26th Jan 2013 1:30 pm
  492. I found this article via google, and although the advice is good, remember that wives aren’t the only ones whose spouses leave them to take care of the children alone. Some of us single dads need tax advice too. So ‘Tax Tips for Single Moms’ isn’t really accurate.

    Other than that: thanks for a useful article.

  493. Jan Roberg on Sun, 27th Jan 2013 9:52 am
  494. Amanda,
    You haven’t been working for a year. The father of your child has been supporting you the whole time. You say you’ve already sent everything and then you ask me if it’s tax fraud.

    Honey, it sounds to me like you’re mad at your ex and trying to get revenge–but you’re shooting yourself in the foot.

    For one thing–what are you filing if you haven’t worked? Of course you’re with your child 24/7–you’ve been a stay at home mom! Who’s paying the rent? Who’s buying the food? Somebody’s got to work.

    There’s no refund for people with no income–so–are you making stuff up?

    90% of EIC fraud is filed before February 1. You say you filed already so you’re looking kind of guilty.

    Forgive me for scolding you but you’ve gotta hear this from someone–Think about what you’re doing. What is the best thing for your child? Are you doing that? My gut reaction is no.

    If you expect the father of your child–who was supporting you and your child–to continue to provide any kind of support to your child–you should not steal what is rightfully his.

  495. Jan Roberg on Sun, 27th Jan 2013 11:54 am
  496. Hi Sendy,
    Congratulations on your new baby! The thing people are talking about is that the tax return requires that your child live with you for over 6 months–but newborn babies are an exception! Claim your baby for all the credits that you are entitled to. (Hey, you just had a baby, you know that child was with you for over 6 months!)

  497. rebekah on Sun, 27th Jan 2013 1:16 pm
  498. I have an 11 year old daughter who i always claim as a dependant. I also have a 1 year old son and last year i let my boyfriend (son’s father) claim head of household and out son because he made a lot more Monet than me. This year, i made roughly 5000 and he made roughly 6000. So, would we get more back if i claimed head of household with 2 kids or if i claimed single with 1 kid and he claimed HH with 1 kid??

  499. Jan Roberg on Sun, 27th Jan 2013 2:35 pm
  500. Hi Jim,
    You’re right. I changed the title.

  501. Jan Roberg on Sun, 27th Jan 2013 4:03 pm
  502. Hi Rebekah,
    I prepare taxes for a living. That’s how I put food on the table. I don’t answer questions like how much you can get back online. You can run the numbers yourself on the link above: do your own 2012 taxes. Sorry.

  503. Jessie on Mon, 28th Jan 2013 7:06 pm
  504. Hi! I recently e filed my taxes as HOH and claiming my 3 children as dependants. Now two weeks later, my boyfriends mother ( who is living with us at the moment) has come home to tell me she also has filed HOH and claimed her other two grown sons as her dependents. We do all of our billing separate and I buy my children’s food and my food separately. Will her filing HOH after I have already done so effect my return? Thanks

  505. Ellie on Tue, 29th Jan 2013 3:31 am
  506. Hi! I’m confused, and although I’ve read your blog(s), I still have a question. (And, btw, thank you for this page!)
    I am a single mother of a 5 year old little girl. Her dad and I split after 2 years, however we remain best friends. In 2012 I was a full time student for 10 months to finish my licensure. I only earned about $2900 in wages from a part time job. Our daughter was in school for free (kindergarten), and I only paid $1040 for daycare in the summer. I lived off of student loans and grants. My daughter’s dad made about $45K I think, but not exact. I have always claimed her as a dependent, filing head of household. I’m thinking this year he should claim her, although she doesn’t live with him full-time, only part of it (weekends, spiratic days, etc.). I know we’ve gotten more (which we split) when I worked and made more, but since I was only part time last year, I’m confused. What should we do? Can he claim her since he’s her parent, too? I don’t want to mess us up for the coming years. Thanks!

  507. Monica on Tue, 29th Jan 2013 8:00 am
  508. Hello! First off, thank you for taking the time to read and answer all these questions! I’m sure it takes a lot :)

    Here we go:

    My boyfriend and i live together with our 1 year old daughter. we have been since 2011 so all of 2012 was spent together. i claimed her for 2011 b.c I was working a server job making no money so it wasnt really an issue. however, by the grace of god, i landed a great job this year. i started in april, and made about 40,000 this year. my boyfriend, however, made about half. We are trying to figure out who would get more money back without doing anything illegal. in the end, i would get the money no matter who files, but i would like to get the most out of my deal. also, if i let him claim, would that put me at risk for having to actually PAY taxes? Thank you! Greatly appreciated :)

  509. steph hower on Tue, 29th Jan 2013 2:23 pm
  510. Hello I just recently did my tax return n filed head of household and notnsure if I shoulda done single w two kids. I live w the father w my kids..and I supporty kids and only thing he pays is one bill and I do the rest. So does that mean he just files single since I already put head of household…for when he does his taxes. .

  511. Raquel on Tue, 29th Jan 2013 4:11 pm
  512. Ok my sister claims my mother who doesn’t report any income because she doesn’t work, she only gets social security, now my mother babysits my daughter and I pay her monthly (i dont pay her much though), now if i put that information on my tax return will that affect my sisters refund and/or will my mother have to file taxes?

  513. Jan Roberg on Tue, 29th Jan 2013 7:58 pm
  514. Hi Jessie,
    First–the IRS hasn’t accepted any returns yet so the timing doesn’t matter. As far as the IRS is concerned, the returns were filed at the same time. But that doesn’t even really matter.

    Normally, you don’t want to have two head of households at the same residence, but I think in your situation, you’re probably okay. Here’s why: you do all of your shopping and billing separately. You provide for yours, and she provides for hers.

    Like I said, normally I wouldn’t recommend 2 people filing HOH at the same address–but if you do get a letter from the IRS–you both should be able to show that you’ve paid for your “share” of the household.

  515. Jan Roberg on Tue, 29th Jan 2013 8:30 pm
  516. Hi Ellie,
    I think I’ve got the perfect solution for you. You claim your daughter for Head of Household and EIC. Sign a form 8332 for your ex and let him claim the exemption and child tax credit. Here’s more information about that:

  517. Jan Roberg on Tue, 29th Jan 2013 8:57 pm
  518. Hi Monica,
    You’re a family working together as a family. You and your boyfriend should sit down together and run the numbers both ways. Do whichever thing works out the best for you as a family. You are both parents, you live together and you both care for your child.

  519. Jan Roberg on Tue, 29th Jan 2013 9:23 pm
  520. Hi Steph,
    Here’s the IRS interactive tax assistant to help you decide if you should be head of household or not. (My best guess though is that your boyfriend should file single.)

  521. DeShon Graddy on Tue, 29th Jan 2013 10:19 pm
  522. Hello Jan!

    I filed single last year instead of head of household. I currently have my son living with me and has been living with me every year. Is there a way I can get that credit back from last year? I have been told I can but do not know how to go about it. Thank you for your time!

  523. Miriam on Wed, 30th Jan 2013 3:40 am
  524. Hello I have a question. My fiancé and I live together own a home and have a child. Can I claim head of hous hold and the child and he claim single and the house? Or does he have to claim head of house hold to claim the house? We do everything as if we are married but we are not

  525. Ashley on Wed, 30th Jan 2013 4:45 pm
  526. Okay I am 22 and a single mom my son will be 6 months in feb i have completly paid for everything for him on my own and pay my own bills but i live with my parents and they are wanting to claim me on their taxes but if they claimed me wouldn’t they have to claim my son to? not to sure what to do…. I made about $16,302

  527. Katrina Rodriguez on Wed, 30th Jan 2013 6:49 pm
  528. Hi,
    I am a single mom that just turned 18, I worked for about three months and made only 2,865 in income. I have a 9 month old baby that i would like to claim. I go to school full time at a community college and would like to know what you would advise me to do.
    My ex- boyfriend’s mom wants to claim me since I live in their home. She also claims my ex boyfriend.
    Should I let my ex mother in law claim me? and could my childs dad claim him if he made more money than me even though his mom claims him and nobody claims me as a dependent

  529. Jan Roberg on Wed, 30th Jan 2013 8:27 pm
  530. Hi Raquel,
    This should answer some of your questions:

    If you claim what you pay your mom on your tax return for the child care credit then she must report it on her tax return. Which is really what she should do because you are supposed to report all of your income.

    Now your sister–in order to claim your mom, should provide more than half of her support. So if Mom gets $12,000 a year in social security–then sis should contribute over $12,000 a year in her support. Most kids really don’t qualify to claim their parents. (Just so you know.)

  531. momof2ok on Wed, 30th Jan 2013 8:53 pm
  532. I am married but have been seperated from my spouse for 2 yrs and also have a restraining order against him. I have 2 children and we are currently having to live with my parents. I do not pay rent, but I do pay for all of our own expenses and groceries etc. My ex took a bad path and wound up in jail and now owes restitution. He has not given me any child support since we parted and i haven’t had the finances to file for divorce. Am I allowed to file single or head of household in order to get the Eic for my 2 children? I’m afraid to file with him in fear of my return being offset and also the whole restraining order situation. Thanks.

  533. Jan Roberg on Wed, 30th Jan 2013 8:58 pm
  534. Hey DeShon,
    First, check to see if it would make a difference for you to claim head of household. For some folks, it doesn’t change your taxes so if that’s the case then don’t bother. (HH gets audited more often and Single so don’t use it unless it makes a difference on your taxes.)

    But, if you really should claim HH and it does make a difference, then you may amend your prior tax return.

  535. Jan Roberg on Wed, 30th Jan 2013 9:36 pm
  536. Hi Miriam,
    Technically, if he makes more than you, then he should claim head of household. But sit down together and work things out. You are a family so do what’s best for the family. Make a chart–you claim child he claims house. He claims child, you claim nothing, he claims child and house, etc.

    Then add things up. Which scenario gives you the best refund (or lowest tax due?) Do that, and use the extra money to start a savings account for your little one.

  537. Shirley on Thu, 31st Jan 2013 7:02 am
  538. Hey dear. 24 yrs old Im a single mother i live on my own with a 16 months old daughter and I don’t work basically I do everything on my own but my dad just asked me if he can claim me and my daughter on his tax and give me 500$ and I said yes but come to think about it he put me out at the age of 18 so I’m very confuse. I need you to pls your help……thanks

  539. Christy on Thu, 31st Jan 2013 8:41 am
  540. What is the difference between child living with me and student? My daughter is 18 and still in high school. My son is still in high school he is 16. Then I have a 19 year old who goes to college.

  541. Jan Roberg on Thu, 31st Jan 2013 9:09 pm
  542. Hi Ashley,
    I’m guessing that you were not a full time student in 2012. If that’s the case, then your parents can’t claim you as a dependent. You should file as single and claim your child. (I’m guessing that you’re parents provided most of the support so don’t claim head of household since you live at your parent’s house.)

    You could probably let your parents claim your child–but I think it would make more sense for you to claim your child and get the Earned Income Tax Credit. Bank the refund and use it to care for your child.

  543. Jan Roberg on Thu, 31st Jan 2013 9:19 pm
  544. Hi Katrina,
    If your boyfriend is claimed as a dependent–then he can’t claim your child. The grandmother can.
    If she claims you–she can only claim you as a “qualifying relative” and the only way you qualify there is if you lived there for the whole 12 months of the year. She wouldn’t get EIC or a child tax credit for you, only a dependency exemption.
    If she did claim you–it wouldn’t affect your refund as your income is so low.

  545. Jan Roberg on Thu, 31st Jan 2013 9:22 pm
  546. Hi Momof2ok,
    You have lived apart from your husband for 2 years. You may claim head of household filing status. Claim EIC and anything else you qualify for too. Good luck.

  547. Ben on Thu, 31st Jan 2013 9:43 pm
  548. I live with my girlfriend and our 7month old son. She has two more children from a previous relationship that live with us also. We are all living under the roof of my girlfriends father. My earnings were around 27k, her wages were around 4500 and 6500 in unemployment income. The father of the other children does not claim them on taxes. My girlfriend receives state assistance that provides for the child care expenses since she is now working. Should she claim 2 and I claim one? Should I claim 1, 2, or all three? We pay rent to her father. If I claim any, some, or all, does it jeopardize her child care assistance? We are not married. I am 21, she is 23.

  549. Jan Roberg on Thu, 31st Jan 2013 9:48 pm
  550. Hi Shirley,
    If you don’t live with your father, he can’t claim your child on his taxes. Having him pay you makes you complicit in the fraud. That’s not a good idea.

    So–how do you live with no income? Are you getting child support? If so, maybe you could give the exemption to your daughter’s father–that would get him an exemption and child tax credit. Only the parent living with a child can get EIC though.

    You want to do what’s best for your child–and getting some money is always helpful–but allowing your dad to commit fraud using your child–that’s not a good idea. You deserve better than that.

  551. Jan Roberg on Thu, 31st Jan 2013 9:53 pm
  552. Hi Christy,
    I always have trouble with that too. Really, an 8 year old is a student, right? But here they mean college student. The others are children living with you.

  553. Jan Roberg on Fri, 1st Feb 2013 10:15 pm
  554. Hi Ben,
    The only child you may claim in this situation is yours. The other two must be claimed either by your girlfriend, or her father. Her father may only claim the children if he makes more money than your girlfriend.

    I can’t tell you how it would affect her child care assistance. You would have to ask the state angency about that. Sorry.

  555. isabel on Sat, 2nd Feb 2013 10:48 am
  556. Hi, my boyfriend and i just recently split up a few weeks ago, our daughter is 2 years old. We lived together in an apartment, i am a stay at home mom so he took care of everything mostly, our daughter receives ssi so that helped some as well. I want to know if i am entitled to any of the tax return even if i didnt provide economically for our daughter, dad says money will be his but i just want to make sure because an aquaintances says i am since i am since i am who looks after her. I really hope you can help, and thanks in advance.

  557. isabel on Sat, 2nd Feb 2013 10:52 am
  558. Hi, my boyfriend and i just recently split up a few weeks ago, our daughter is 2 years old. We lived together in an apartment, i am a stay at home mom so he took care of everything mostly, our daughter receives ssi so that helped some as well. I want to know if i am entitled to any of the tax return even if i didnt provide economically for our daughter, dad says money will be his but i just want to make sure because an aquaintances says i am since i am since i am who looks after her. I really hope you can help, and thanks in advance

  559. Jan Roberg on Sat, 2nd Feb 2013 2:14 pm
  560. Hi Isabel,
    so you have no income. Your boyfriend worked and supported you and your chid for the entire year. As far as the law goes, he will be able to claim your daughter for everything. Even if you did try to claim her–what would you get? You had no income.

    Sorry but you’ve got nothing here. It would be nice if he used the money to help support your daughter, but you’ll get nothing from the IRS.

  561. sandi on Mon, 4th Feb 2013 4:37 pm
  562. Im a 33 single mom of 2 boys. I have legal custody of both. I have not worked for the past year and half. I clean houses and go to college part time. my great aunt and uncle watch my boys for me alot. we sometimes stay with them but i do have my own place. I dont own it. the home belongs to family so i can stay rent free. how should I file my taxes to get the child earned credit?? should i get my aunt and uncle to claim us? any advice will greatly be appreciated!

  563. Anne Malin on Mon, 4th Feb 2013 8:45 pm
  564. I was divorced at the end of May 2012. I have 2 daughters one who turned 23 in December 2012 and graduated from college in Sept 2012. The other is 21 and still in college, a Junior. I made $8000 and received about $10000 in alimony. The children’s legal residence is my home, and both lived with me when not away in school or when taking online classes. Can I claim both of them for the EIC? I am not sure about the 23 year old since she graduated and was a full time student for 6 months, part time for 3 months and then a graduate looking for work for 3 months still living at home.

    I am filling head of household since they only live with me (never even been in their fathers apartment), He does have them on his health insurance, but I pay what is not covered, plus car insurance, and manage the money set aside for their college, plus food, board etc.

    Thank you for any advice.

  565. Carol on Mon, 4th Feb 2013 10:57 pm
  566. Hi, My fiance and I live together 5 years now with my daughter from a previous marriage. Her father doesnt get to claim her period. Ididnt make very much money not even 3,000 he made 30,000. I didnt know if I made enough to file. Can I get EIC even tho i didnt make much they took federal out but we have a state income tax (GA) and we both work in TN So they dont take that tax out. I didnt know which would be better me claim her or if he claims us Would love to have that EIC since most of the money he gets back goes srtaight to the state. I trust him but i wanna know which way is best. If we would get more back by me claiming my daughter or him? thanks for your time!

  567. Sheena on Tue, 5th Feb 2013 9:19 am
  568. hey im a single mom with 1 child i work 2 jobs and go to tech school and i would like to know how to claim during the year so at the end of the year i would just break even if possible.

  569. Elicia on Tue, 5th Feb 2013 1:39 pm
  570. I have a 9 month old. I have not worked since the beginning of February of last year. My live in boyfriend is her father, and on the birth certificate. She isn medicade and my pregnancy was as well. We live in Indiana. Who should claim her? Or can he claim us both? Can he claim her if he wasnt on the medicade info? If so would he have to repay the medical bills or possibly her birth? I’m confused as to if he can claim her with out backlash, or if i could even claim her myself, when I only worked part time for one month last year.

  571. Elicia on Tue, 5th Feb 2013 2:02 pm
  572. My daughter is on medicade. Her father lives with me and is on her birth certificate. I only worked part time one month this year from pregnancy complications and bed rest. If her birth was paid for by the state and he claims her, will he be liable to pay back the state for what medicare covered? Or can I even claim her to begin with being I didn’t make enough $?

  573. Juliet on Tue, 5th Feb 2013 2:58 pm
  574. My husband and I have been separated for a year now. We have a 2 year old girl and that I know of, he has not used her as a dependent. He wants to but he also doesn’t want to give me a cent for whatever it is she receives. I’ve been providing for her since we separated. I’ve worked at a temp agency for a week back in 2012 and am now at a full time job for about 5-6 months now . A friend of mine helped me prepare my taxes and tells me I’ll be receiving an estimate of $180 on tax return. Does that sound right? A few people say that I should be receiving something for my daughter even if I’ve worked little. I have medical bills to pay and even if that does sound right, then that’s fine. I won’t stop working to provide for my daughter. I just want to double/triple check what I’m receiving is correct.

  575. Jan Roberg on Tue, 5th Feb 2013 8:20 pm
  576. Hi Sandi,
    Your aunt and uncle can’t claim EIC on your children, the kids don’t live with them.
    You have income, you should claim it. Here’s some information for you:

  577. Jan Roberg on Tue, 5th Feb 2013 8:40 pm
  578. Hi Anne,
    It sounds like you should be able to claim both daughters this year. Here’s some information that might be helpful: Good luck.

  579. Jan Roberg on Tue, 5th Feb 2013 9:11 pm
  580. Jan Roberg on Tue, 5th Feb 2013 9:40 pm
  581. Elicia,
    I don’t know what will happen with Medicaid. You’ll have to contact them to find out the consequences. Sorry.

  582. Nicole on Wed, 6th Feb 2013 12:17 am
  583. Single mom, dauggter is home 100% with me. My tax return is about $500 less this year and I made about $7000 more. (I use turbotax)Can you tell me why? Also, do I have to claim my (non taxable) workmans comp winnings?

  584. Gaby on Wed, 6th Feb 2013 8:37 am
  585. My ex claims my daughter taxes, he always had. He is a busboy so I believe he earns minimun wage and declares himself as a single parent although he has a girlfriend (with future baby on the way). He would not tell me how much he gets back for my daughter and gives me whatever he pleases (I take care of my daughter, not him) so I am a little stressed knowing that my mom (single parent) gets 1,500usd for my brother and he only gives me 900usd. I need some advise please help! If there’s a way to go about suing him I would do so. He doesn’t even pay child suppourt or anything so I’m pissed.

  586. Lili on Wed, 6th Feb 2013 3:42 pm
  587. Hi, I ‘ m 23 year old and I have a 8month old son . I live withe my son’s father. I went to tax office for my 2012 tax return. They file my status as head of household , but the father make more money and pay the bill. What should I do??

  588. Raymond Brown on Wed, 6th Feb 2013 6:49 pm
  589. Can a single mother raising four children and is still legaly married but seperated and didn’t work in 2012 still file to get the EIC. My friend is in this situation what should she do?

  590. Brittany on Thu, 7th Feb 2013 9:08 am
  591. Hi, I’m only 18, I have a 2 year old daughter and I was wondering what would be the best way to file my taxes. I would also be filing as single, I don’t live with my parents, I’m staying with a friend. I filed mines last year & for some reason only received approximately $300 back. My mom said they didn’t file me with earned income credit. I honestly have no idea what all this means. I’m not good with this at all. My dad & mom both said there is a way for me to get it back from last year. But Idk what to do. Can you help ? Thank you so much !

  592. Brittany on Thu, 7th Feb 2013 9:22 am
  593. Hi, I’m 18, and I have a 2 year old daughter. I filed my taxes last year & only received approximately $400 back. My mother said I should have reiceved much more being I worked last year and I filed as single . Well this year I planned on filing as single and claiming my daughter again. My father and mother both think I didn’t receive my earned income tax credit. They believe there is a way to receive it from last year. IDontKnow how to figure this out nor do Iknow which is the best way to file for my tax returns. I don’ with my parents. I live with a friend. How do I go about this ? Do I even qualify for earned income credit? Can you help? Thank you!

  594. Allie on Thu, 7th Feb 2013 11:54 am
  595. Hello! I am 19 years old and a full time student. I have a 6 month old daughter and live with my parents for the time being. My baby’s father and I are not married. I worked about 5 months of last year before my daughter an made roughly $2,400. I was going to file myself an claim my daughter but was told it might be better if I had my parents claim both myself and my daughter. I am wondering if that is really the best method. Also, I was told they “need” to claim me since I am on their insurance still. Please help!

  596. sandi on Thu, 7th Feb 2013 6:21 pm
  597. what is the least amount of income that you can claim to get the full EIC? I know what the max is. What is low income credit?? Is that the same as EIC? thanks

  598. Bai Yang on Fri, 8th Feb 2013 6:52 pm
  599. Thank you for the advice! It has helped clarified some things for me. =)

    I have a question that I have been very distraught with and was wondering if I could get some advice on it.

    I am a single mother, with a child born out of wedlock (at the end of 2012). However, I do not work but I am a student who received financial aid last year. How would I go about filing my income tax (or am I required to file it at all)?

    Thanks in advance!

  600. Michael on Fri, 8th Feb 2013 11:06 pm
  601. I think I posted this on the wrong form. Sorry please any help would be great.

    Hi Jan,
    My ex (never married) and I have a 7-year-old daughter who we have a join custody agreement. She hasn’t had a job in many years. I have claimed her most years but this year she wants her mother (who she is staying with) to claim her (She also has another child from another guy she is no longer with). We both have her a week on and a week off. I have always had a job, purchased a house last year and got married this year as well. I feel un till she gets a job I should claim her. Then we could do a every other year. Any advise is welcome. Thanks

  602. Jan Roberg on Sun, 10th Feb 2013 4:39 pm
  603. Hey Juliet,
    If you have custody of your daughter and you’ve worked for 5 or six months straight–then you might have more coming back than $180. My best guess is that your friend might have clicked on a wrong button on the EIC section of the return. If you don’t have custody, then you shouldn’t be expecting much of a refund. You might want to have a second set of eyes take a look.

  604. Jan Roberg on Sun, 10th Feb 2013 4:41 pm
  605. Hey Nicole,
    hard to say. It all depends upon where your dollars are. Best guess is your icome is putting you on the down sloping end of the EIC bell curve. That’s actually a good thing. You did make $7000 more this year. Seems like you’re on the winning end of that deal.

  606. Jan Roberg on Sun, 10th Feb 2013 4:47 pm
  607. Sandi,
    I understand your question but that’s one of those technical questions that I can get into trouble answering. It implies that I’m helping you cheat on your taxes. (I know that’s not your intention, but that’s what the IRS would perceive it as.)
    You can get that information in the IRS website–they can give that information out, but it’s considered bad form for me to do it.

  608. Jan Roberg on Sun, 10th Feb 2013 4:49 pm
  609. Hi Lili,
    technically, in your case, your boyfriend should claim head of household and claim the child–but if you two are agreeing about you claiming the child, it’s okay. Don’t worry about it.

  610. Jan Roberg on Sun, 10th Feb 2013 4:50 pm
  611. Hi Raymond,
    If there is no income, a person can’t claim EIC.

  612. Jan Roberg on Sun, 10th Feb 2013 4:52 pm
  613. Hi Brittany,
    If you are working and supporting your child then you probably should qualify for the earned income tax credit. Get some help with your taxes this year and see if you qualify. If you qualified last year, you can amend that tax return and claim it also.

  614. Jan Roberg on Sun, 10th Feb 2013 4:53 pm
  615. Hi Allie,
    since you live with your parents and your income is only $2400, it makes a whole lot of sense for your parents to claim you on their tax return and the baby too. It’s much better taxwise. Someone gave you good advice.

  616. Jan Roberg on Sun, 10th Feb 2013 4:55 pm
  617. Hi Bai,
    If you have no income, you are not required to file and it probably won’t do you any good to file. If you are still living with your parents, they should file and claim you as a dependent.

  618. Jan Roberg on Sun, 10th Feb 2013 4:59 pm
  619. Hi Michael,
    The bottom line is: where does the child live, not what does the agreement say. Do you have your daughter for over six months? If yes, then you claim her, if you are a Wednesday night and every other weekend dad, then it’s your ex who claims her. If she releases the exemption, then you get the exemption and child tax credit–no EIC–but you would need something in writing to be able to do that, like a signed 8332 form or a written court decree from before 2009 that gives you that power.

  620. Heather on Mon, 11th Feb 2013 4:54 am
  621. Hi. The father of my 3 older children (we are no longer together) is paying child support. I receive state aid and I “think” he did his taxes this year (its showing an income withholding of $.000) but since I am receiving state assistance for the 3 older children only, will the taxes they took out from him go to me or paid back to the state? An income withholding was sent to his employer Jan 10th and then from there, was sent to the F.O.C’s main office to be processed Jan 12th .It does not say that it’s been sent over to me yet.

  622. ashley on Tue, 12th Feb 2013 10:28 pm
  623. hey! i filed my taxes last year, my son was 4 months by then so i also got to claim him on my taxes. but i dont think i filed head of household. i should also mention that i didn’t earn that much income due to me going on maternity leave in august.
    i was wondering if i could go back and file head of house hold or just leave it alone? thank you in advance!!:)

  624. Jan Roberg on Wed, 13th Feb 2013 9:35 pm
  625. Heather,
    I’m not sure what you’re asking. If he had zero withholding that doesn’t mean he had taxes taken. Does your ex owe you back child support?

  626. Jan Roberg on Wed, 13th Feb 2013 9:38 pm
  627. Hi Ashley,
    It probably wouldn’t change your refund. If you didn’t make that much then claiming head of household wouldn’t help you.

  628. Penelope on Sat, 16th Feb 2013 12:33 pm
  629. Hi – I am a single mom. My daughter lives with me but her dad helps a little financially. Not even half of her expenses. Does he have a right to claim the money he sends me? It’s technically child support but it’s not written within the courts. He’s threatening me to either claim that or not pay child support for 2 months. Will that affect my taxes and do I claim what he sends me? Can he claim the money he send me on his taxes? And will that lower my taxe refund? Will I also have to claim that as extra income?

  630. shellley on Mon, 18th Feb 2013 9:36 pm
  631. i was wondering if a person moves in with boyfriend..they both have children. when they file taxes will they still qualify for EIC?

  632. Jan Roberg on Thu, 21st Feb 2013 8:46 pm
  633. Hey Penelope,
    He cannot deduct any child support he pays you. It’s his obligation to pay child support. That’s not alimony. You don’t pay tax on it and he can’t claim it as a deduction.

  634. Gaby on Sat, 23rd Feb 2013 8:28 am
  635. I haven’t gotten any response…

  636. christina on Sun, 24th Feb 2013 6:03 am
  637. My boyfriend and I have 2 children together and each claim one child on our returns. Are we supposed to list both children and only claim one? We were married and divorced in 2010 and there are options when filing to NOT claim but, still list all children. I didn’t run into this option last year and now I’m confused. He will be filing head of household and claiming one child but, does he need to list both? How do I file? And which children do I claim and list?

  638. john on Mon, 25th Feb 2013 7:10 pm
  639. hi i was wondering me and my fiance live together she lived with me off and on last year two but we have a baby that might and might not be mine i wasn’t there when he was burn so the other guy put his name on the birth certificate she and the baby live with me and the baby has never been to the others house and they are trying to file a tax return on him even thou i told them not to cause i was going to do it and we needed a paternity test so what im asking is can i get into trouble if i went ahead and filed for him if they triad to report me could i get into trouble or could i put them into trouble if they filed for him

  640. Jan Roberg on Tue, 26th Feb 2013 9:55 pm
  641. Hi Shelly,
    Two people can live together and they can both claim EIC. The catch is–you can only claim EIC on your own children. So you claim yours, he claims his. Generally, the person with the higher income should be head of household and the one with the lower income will claim single.

  642. Lisa on Fri, 1st Mar 2013 7:56 pm
  643. I have 2 beautiful children. I do not work but I am a full time student. The father of my boys doesn’t live with us but he does provide for my children he only made 4400 in 2012 can he still claim the kids ?

  644. Jan Roberg on Sun, 3rd Mar 2013 1:43 pm
  645. Hi Shelly,
    Two people who live together, and they each have their own children, should both be able to qualify for EIC. You’ll need to make sure you follow all the other rules, but just living together won’t keep you from qualifying.

  646. Jan Roberg on Sun, 3rd Mar 2013 1:47 pm
  647. Hi Christina,
    It sounds like you and your boyfriend are living together and each claiming one child. That’s perfectly fine. You will NOT list both kids on your return, only list the child you are claiming.
    I think you’re getting confused with splitting an exemption, but that’s not your situation.

  648. Jan Roberg on Sun, 3rd Mar 2013 4:34 pm
  649. Hi John,
    You have more problems than your taxes. You weren’t there when the baby was born, and you’re not on the birth certificate. She’s trying to file taxes with the other guy. What are you thinking? RUN! You’re free. Go.

    Unless you’re truly convinced that you are the father and you want to do right by the child and take care of it and all that good stuff. But if all you’re after is a tax deduction, I say skip the deduction and get out of that relationship. Save yourself.

  650. Carrie on Tue, 5th Mar 2013 8:32 pm
  651. I have a 3 year old. Her father and me split in July 2012. Her main residence is with me. He has paid $125 a week to me since we split. I made $24,000 and he made $60,000+. I claimed her already and want to know what is fair to give him.

    P.S. I got $5400 back from federal, he did his both ways and said his would be $1494 without claiming her and $5500 with.

  652. Jan Roberg on Sun, 10th Mar 2013 9:18 am
  653. Hi Lisa,
    You may sign a form 8332 to allow your children’s father to claim the dependency exemption and child tax credit. The dependency exemption won’t help him but the child tax credit will.

    But here’s a question for you–If you are a full time student with no income–and their father makes $4,400 a year, who’s feeding your kids? If you’re living with a boyfriend, he can’t claim them. But if you’re living with parents–they may be able to claim your children. Be sure to explore all of the options and do what’s best for your kids.

  654. Jan Roberg on Sun, 10th Mar 2013 4:32 pm
  655. Hi Carrie,
    First question, what makes you think you owe this guy any money? Not to be rude or disrespectful or anything but it’s his child, he should be paying child support.
    Now, you are the custodial parent, he’s not. If you had signed the 8332 form and he claimed the exemption and child tax credit–he would have gotten $1000 for the child tax credit and I’m guessing that he’s in the 25% tax bracket so he’d get $950 for that. So, using my numbers, he’d get $1950 for claiming your daughter. To get his numbers–he’s doing something wrong. He can’t be head of household for her–that’s you.
    If you do give him money–and I’m not suggesting that you do, but if you did–I wouldn’t give him a penny over $1950. And–if you did give him money–I’d have him sign a statement saying that it was for him to claim the exemption etc. I’d hate for him to come back at you and claim the exemption again.
    Better yet, amend your return, send the money back to the IRS for the exemption and child tax credit, and have him file with the exemption. That way he can’t come at you through the IRS. It will also cost you less because your tax bracket is 15% instead of 25%.

  656. Jan Roberg on Sun, 10th Mar 2013 7:26 pm
  657. Hi Gaby,
    I got a note that I haven’t responded to your note, but I can’t find your original message. Sorry.

  658. Allyson on Fri, 15th Mar 2013 3:17 pm
  659. Hello, I was under the expression that I can claim my boyfriend as a defendant I went to do my taxes and she told my I could not then later said I can but I would receive less of a refund if I claimed him even though he qualifies. Can any one please help? I don’t know who to call or what to do

    Thanks in advance.

  660. Jenn on Tue, 19th Mar 2013 6:03 pm
  661. I am a single mom of two and I live with my parents. I go to school full time and get federal work study, financial aid, and a scholarship. I also get child support and I receive EBT benefits and State insurance for my kids. I pay very little for rent and besides food & gas, my parents pay for other bills (electric, water, internet). Can they claim my children on their tax return even though I receive government assistance for them? Also, I have already filed my taxes not knowing they wanted to see if this was possible. Can I amend them?

  662. cici on Wed, 27th Mar 2013 2:27 pm
  663. Im 18 with my 6month old son. We have been living off and on and my sons father only buys diapers and baby wipes.. my parents on the other hand have bought my son all his baby clothes toysand all the other nececities. My sons father filed tax return for my son and told me he only recieved $400 dollars since he was born in october my mother called and was told it should be $1000 regardless his birthday. My sons father is no longer with me denys the amount and dosent want to share the money provided for my son because he says that money is his and i cant do anything about it.. is thid true?

  664. Jan Roberg on Sun, 21st Apr 2013 7:45 am
  665. Hi Allyson,
    It may be possible to claim your boyfriend as a dependent if his income is less than $3800 for the year AND he lived with you for the entire 12 months of the year AND you provided more than half of his support.
    But, it sounds like it wouldn’t do you any good to claim him even if you could. Most likely, your income is low enough that your deductions and other exemptions bring you down to zero taxable income–in which case it doesn’t do you any good anyway.
    I can’t think of how it would make your refund lower, but I can easily see how it wouldn’t do you any good to claim him. I’m guessing your tax person knew what she was talking about.

  666. Jan Roberg on Sun, 21st Apr 2013 7:50 am
  667. Hi Jenn,
    It sounds like you’ve got a really good case for your parents to claim your children on their tax return. They might even be able to claim you.
    Yes — you can amend your returns if it makes sense to do it.
    What I think you should do is sit down with your parents and do the math–running your returns both ways to see what gives you the best results. It sounds like you’ve got a good family and a good support group that you’re all working together to do what’s best for your family. With a situation like that, it’s always best to work it out together.

  668. Jan Roberg on Sun, 21st Apr 2013 7:59 am
  669. Hi Cici,
    Your son’s father is lying. Sorry. But there’s not special rule that reduces the amount of tax credit you get if your child is born in October. Your baby could have been born on December 31 and you still would receive the full tax credit as if your child had been born the previous January.
    So–what you do about it is up to you, but at least know what you’ve got there.
    So what can you do about it?

    Well, if you worked–then you can file your own tax return claiming your child–but make sure you’ll will first. If you and the baby were living with your ex from October through December–well then he would have a legal right to claim your baby–it is his child and he would have been supporting him.

    If on the other hand, you had already moved out and you were living with your parents–well then they could claim your child (or you could if you had income.)

    On the plus side, at least you know what your ex is really like.

  670. Jan Roberg on Mon, 29th Jul 2013 6:09 pm
  671. Confidential to Greg P.
    Here’s your letter that you posted:
    Hi there my girlfriend and I have a 6 month old son. She lives with me and goes to beauty school and works very parttime as a server. I work fulltime and make $38,500 a year.

    She receives WIC and foodstamps. All of her mail is still going to her parents house. As far as the government is concerned, she is single and lives with her parents.

    But we are trying to figure out what to do when it comes tax time in 2014. We want to maximize our tax returns and get the most money back. But, we do not want to cause any red flags to come up with the WIC office and the food stamp office.

    Also, we are about to start paying a daycare next week. Can that be claimed on my/her taxes as well?

    Can I file HOH, can i get the child exemption, child tax credit, EIC, ETC.?

    Please help!!


    I took your last name off for privacy reasons. I also deleted your post because I was a little worried about how it might sound to a government official on the off chance that anybody might actually look at this web site.
    I want to rephrase what you wrote so that you can see your question the way I think your state welfare department would see the question:
    “My girlfriend is lying about where she and the baby live to get WIC and food stamps. I want to claim the baby on my taxes to get the tax benefits too. Please help me cheat the government!”
    Now, I realize that isn’t what you’re saying. But I wanted you to see how your letter could be interpreted, and that’s why I took your original post out.
    So here’s the thing–you can file as head of household and claim your child, and the child tax credit. Your income is too high to receive EIC–but, if you do that, how are you going to prove that your child lives with you?
    In terms of “getting away with it” you probably would because no one else would claim the child (maybe). But, if there were any questions about your return, you’d have a problem.
    For example: since your girlfriend technically lives with her parents, and they must be low income. It seems to me that they might try to claim the child also. See where you could have a real problem?

    Also, states do get access to IRS taxes. Does your state cross reference their WIC program to tax returns? I don’t know.
    I think your best bet is for the mother to claim her child on her taxes. It sounds like she can’t claim head of household no matter what address she claims, so she should file as single, and claim the child tax credit and EIC.
    Or you could get married. Scary thought, but this makes a lot of sense. You actually make a decent income. You have a child and a wife all set to go. Your girlfriend’s income isn’t very high and she goes to school. I’m guessing that the combination of having a wife and child on your tax return would be financially beneficial. You’d get the married filing jointly tax status and three exemptions. Plus, she’s probably going to qualify for a college tax credit and since her income is so low it won’t do her any good anyway.
    I don’t mean to go all “Dear Abby” on you there, it’s just that if you’re really a family and you’re the one supporting the girlfriend and the child–well why not get married? And if you’re not really a family and her parents and the government are really supporting her–well then you have no right to be claiming the kid on your taxes.

    Daycare can only be claimed on a tax return if the parent of the child is working or in school full time. Only the parent that the child lives with can claim the day care expenses on the tax return. Remember, your girlfriend still technically lives with her parents. Since her income is already low, the child care credit might not do her any good on her tax return.

  672. jamie s on Wed, 2nd Oct 2013 10:58 pm
  673. ok, i have an unusual setup.
    my gf and i have 1 child together.
    2 with husband …he claims them
    her husband usually claims her …he wont complete a divorce now …year four.

    she is a stay at home mom
    i bought a house this year
    self employed with low income as hobby

    normally taxes arent that confusing but this year its going to be rough

    me …self employed, low income, hobby income 15kish
    her zero income

  674. Jan Roberg on Sun, 6th Oct 2013 4:30 pm
  675. Hi Jamie,
    So you’re living with your girlfriend who is still married to her husband. The husband still claims your girlfriend as his wife on his tax return along with his two kids. You and the girlfriend have a baby together and your only income is the $15,000 hobby income you have, right?

    You’re worried about how to file your taxes–you’re absolutely right because if I were the IRS, I’d be all over your return. Your only income is $15,000 of hobby income? Really? How’d you get a loan to buy a house? What bank in it’s right might gave you money for a loan?

    What kind of “hobby” do you have where you made $15,000? How come you don’t have a job? Is it because you’re spending so much time earning money on your hobby? Maybe your hobby is a business?

    Sorry for yanking your chain there, but it sounds like you’re trying to avoid self employment taxes. You’re not passing the sniff test there.

    And why aren’t you wanting to claim that as self employment anyway? Self employment would qualify you for EIC–hobby income won’t. At your income, the EIC should probably cover the cost of your self employment taxes.

    On your return, you should claim head of household as your filing status and your baby as your dependent.

  676. Jenn on Tue, 21st Jan 2014 8:53 pm
  677. I live with my fiancee and two kids and we are filing taxes separately. I made about $30,000 less than he did in 2013 and usually claim the 2 kids on my taxes since we aren’t married and my older daughter is mine. We aren’t sure whom should claim head of household. Isn’t it more plausible for the person with the lowest income to claim head of household status?

  678. Jan Roberg on Wed, 22nd Jan 2014 9:41 pm
  679. Hi Jenn,
    I took your last name off the post because you just put online that you were doing something illegal. I’m certain that’s not what you meant at all but since this is a public forum, we don’t want any IRS agents to read your post and think the wrong thing.

    Here’s what’s wrong–you said you claim the two girls on your taxes and the older girl is yours. You can’t claim your fiancee’s daughter on your tax return. Read this post:

    I know you meant that you were thinking about claiming both girls, it just wasn’t worded right.

    So you can’t claim his daughter.

    Now, technically, since your boyfriend makes more money and I’m guessing he’s paying more of the rent/food/utilities–then he should claim the head of household filing status. You should claim single, but claim EIC because I’m guessing that your income is within the EIC range.

    Also, since your income is $30,000 lower, you’re probably in a lower tax bracket already–so it really makes sense for him to claim Head of Household so that he can lower his tax bracket. It’s the best solution for the two of you as a family.

  680. anthony on Thu, 30th Jan 2014 7:19 am
  681. hi
    wanted to know would it affect my gf’s pell grant if i claimed head of household along with her and our son. as of 12/31 she was 18

  682. Jan Roberg on Thu, 30th Jan 2014 9:53 am
  683. Hi Anthony,
    You’ve got a couple of issues. As far as the Pell Grant goes, you need to talk to the financial aid office. I don’t know the answer to that one and I don’t want to mess you up.

    Second, also you’ve got her parents. If she’s a student, at her age, her parents may be able to claim her. For you to claim your girlfriend, she would of had to have lives with you from January 1, 2013 – December 31, 2013. If her son is your child, you may be able to claim him–assuming that he lives with you, etc. and you meet all the other requirements.

  684. Shelaine on Sat, 22nd Feb 2014 9:35 pm
  685. Hi, I am 25 and live at home (pay 1/2 my checks to my parents for rent) and have a 4 year old son. My parents tax guy (as well as mine since they have told me i have no choice in that) has told me that i am not allowed to claim my child or receive the child credit. Is that true? I’m so confused.

  686. Jan Roberg on Sun, 23rd Feb 2014 1:20 pm
  687. Hi Shelaine,
    I’m confused too. You are an adult, but you just happen to live with your parents. If you made over $3,900 in 2013 then they can’t claim you as their dependent. I realize that you’re talking about your child, but being able to claim you is part of the equation. I’m pretty confident they can’t claim you.

    Now, about claiming your child–I think there are two issues here that they’re sticking on–the first one is support. I’m thinking that your parents say that they are providing more than half of your child’s support. That might even be true–but the official rule is that your child not provide more than half of his own support. So you don’t lose there.

    The other issue I’m thinking they’re looking at is AGI–that’s adjusted gross income. According to the rules, a person who is not the child’s parent can only claim the child if their AGI is higher than the parent’s AGI. Bottom line, your parents make more money than you do. But–that only allows them to claim your son if YOU ALLOW THEM TO. That does’t give them the right to just go and claim him.

    Here’s the thing, under the law, both you and your parents would have the right to claim your son–so you would fall under the tie breaker rules. Under the tie-breaker rule–THE PARENT ALWAYS WINS. ALWAYS!

    So if you were to fight this, you would win. But, you’re also living under their roof so fighting might not be in everyone’s best interests.

    I’m guessing that your parents have already filed and already claimed your son, that’s why your tax person said you can’t claim him. Your return probably got rejected. If you want to fight, you can and you will win, you fight by mailing your tax return in instead of e-filing.

    But that might not be your best option if your parents are supporting you right now.

    Here’s another thought: prepare your tax return showing yourself as claiming single (instead of head of household) and claiming your son. See what the refund would be. I’m guessing that you would have a pretty decent refund with EIC. Then prepare your return without claiming your son. The difference is what you lose by not claiming him. (It’s quite possible that you lose more than they gain.)

    Take that figure to your parents. Ask them how much they gain by filing with your son. The family that gets the biggest return should be the one that claims him. But the money you or they get for claiming him should be used for him. Whether its a college fund, medical expenses or paying for his day care. But it seems you can all agree that what you’re all doing is for your son’s benefit. If you do that, you’ve got a three-way win.

    And if your parent’s are interested in doing what’s best for your child–then the sooner you can afford to get out of there, the better. Good luck.

  688. Jan Roberg on Sun, 23rd Feb 2014 1:22 pm
  689. @Shelaine–
    one more thing. You can figure out your own refund without your tax guy. The tax software on my website, that link above that says “Do Your Own Taxes”–you can play with that for free. You don’t actually have to file them. So you can get your own numbers without the tax guy–if he’s not going to be cooperative.

  690. jessica on Thu, 27th Mar 2014 5:18 pm
  691. Im 24, just started working a month ago. Its part time and min wage for wa state. I am a server, so tips do get taken out in taxes from what Ive been told.
    I do not live with my 17 month olds sons father, we are not together and he does not provide me with child support.
    I take care of my son close to 100% of the time.

    Just wondering if I should file single or head of household

  692. Jan Roberg on Mon, 26th May 2014 6:59 am
  693. Hi Jessica,
    Should you file as single or head of household? This is my general rule for people who are unsure–

    when you are preparing your own return and it’s all done and the numbers are all good. Switch the filing status back and forth between single and head of household. If the refund (or balance due) stays exactly the same–always file single instead of head of household.

    If it makes a difference–then you’re going to want to ask yourself, “Am I relying on someone else’s income that lives with me to support my child?” (Notice I said, “live with me”? Child support is okay, you can still be head of household and claim child support.)

    So for you Jessica, it sounds like you will be head of household for 2014 because you’re working now. I don’t know about 2013, but that’s my guideline anyway.

  694. Leah on Sun, 15th Jun 2014 12:18 am
  695. Hello Jan,

    I’m so glad you started this blog and would appreciate your expert advice on this complicated matter.
    My friend has a 2 y/o with his girlfriend and they have been separated for about 2 years. He has 20% custody and has his son Sunday through Monday every weekend and has had it this way for the last 8 months. He has had multiple min wage jobs and lives with his mother. He believes he can claim his son on his taxes this year because the mother (girlfriend) is on disablility, gets state assistance, and doesnt work. There is nothing in the court paper work that says he can, but he is willing to fight to get it changed.
    My question is if my friend is correct and he can claim his son because he works and DOES pays child support, while she does not.

  696. Jan Roberg on Sun, 22nd Jun 2014 10:35 am
  697. Hi Leah,
    Your friend may be able to claim his child on his tax return–for the exemption–not for EIC.
    He needs to get his ex to sign the 8332 form (which she should do since it does her no good to claim her son.)

    Then, with the 8332, your friend can claim the exemption and child tax credit, but not EIC or head of household as he only has his son for 20% of the time.

  698. Emily on Mon, 30th Jun 2014 11:58 am
  699. I have been married for 3 years and we have a 10 month old little boy. My husband became a stay-at-home dad this January so my income is the sole income for the household. What should our filing status be to get us the biggest refund?

  700. Jan Roberg on Sat, 5th Jul 2014 2:10 pm
  701. Hi Emily,
    since you are married, you really only have two choices for your filing status: married filing jointly or married filing separately. Married filing jointly is almost always the better choice. And for you, I’m positive it is the best choice.

  702. charleen on Mon, 14th Jul 2014 10:47 am
  703. Hi I am a single mother of one , I recently left the baby’s father and mo ed back to queens , we originally lived in west Chester thats were the baby was born . Now my question is does it matter , that the father has claimed the baby on his insurance and the baby lives with me , can I still claim the baby on my taxes this year if the baby is under his insurance . I worked only 3 months from this year and I live with my mom . She has been helping me untill I can get back on my geet and get to working and putting tbe baby in daycare. Last year he claimed the baby and I never got money from him for the baby . After I decided to move out . I am in court tryingto get full custody of my son and have an order protection against him . So would I be able to claim my son this year if the baby has insurance through his father company ? And can my mother claim him if I want because she made more money this year then me ?

  704. ryan on Thu, 17th Jul 2014 6:02 pm
  705. When me and my ex split up we signed a split custody agreement where I get to file one child and she gets to file the other child since then I have had them full time can I claim both children

  706. Jan Roberg on Sun, 10th Aug 2014 2:52 pm
  707. Hi Charleen,
    Your baby lives with you. Either you may claim him, or your mother. It doesn’t matter that the father has insurance, you have the child. You might want to split the exemption and allow him to claim your child for the exemption (as a way for him to keep paying the insurance) but that’s all up to you.

  708. Jan Roberg on Sun, 10th Aug 2014 2:56 pm
  709. Hi Ryan,
    You have a split custody agreement allowing you each to claim one child on your tax returns. Is sounds to me like you each get to claim an exemption, but that you are the one who has actual physical custody. So I believe that you should claim both kids for Head of Household filing status and EIC, but that she still gets to claim the exemption for the one child as per the agreeement. Check out my post on splitting an exemption to see what I’m talking about.

  710. Tamara on Mon, 25th Aug 2014 10:22 pm
  711. Hello, I am a 24yr old single mom of a 17month old. My son’s father and I split up and were never married. We never got along and were in and out of the court system due to him taking my son away from me for a month and forcing me to hire an attorney to fight him and get my son back. We also were in and out of court for months, because he fought me on child support and didn’t want to pay. I am finally getting child support from him after over a year of filing and have been getting it for the past month now. Now he keeps asking if I could take him off since we’re getting along much better now, but I told him no. So now he’s asking me if he could use him on his taxes this year to help him out, should I? I have no income besides the child support. I am currently unemployed, but looking for a job. My question is if I allow him to claim him will I lose the support for my child? Because he is quite selfish and I believe he will do this so that he could show child support his tax documents. Also we have joint custody, but my son lives with me, I am the custodial parent.

  712. Jan Roberg on Sun, 31st Aug 2014 6:55 am
  713. Hi Tamara,
    I have a couple of thoughts for you.

    1. Child support is not taxable and the person paying child support doesn’t get a deduction so your ex doesn’t need to prove he pays child support for his tax documents.

    2. Now that you’ve gotten child support for one month he wants you to take him off because you’re getting along much better? But you had to fight for over a year to get it. Forgive my nasty, old, suspicious mind but I’m thinking he’s only being nice for one reason. Besides, child support has nothing to do with being nice–it’s about responsibility.

    3. Now, since you have no income, you could let your ex claim your child as an exemption only. EXEMPTION ONLY! But you keep the child for EIC and head of household status, because you have custody, not him. And you keep your child support. (And any other programs like food stamps you might qualify for if you can.)

  714. nikki on Wed, 24th Sep 2014 10:18 am
  715. I am active duty military with a 17 month old son. His father stays with me because he was discharged from the military and has no place to go. I am the sole provider for the house and my child. However his father is trying to claim him on his taxes. What can i do about this. Not to mention his father is behind in child support.

  716. Jan Roberg on Sun, 28th Sep 2014 7:47 am
  717. Hi Nikki,
    Thank you for your service to our country. So–what can you do?

    First here are the rules:

    When you have two people and one child and both people want to claim the same child, the IRS has something called “tie-breaker” rules. They go like this:

    1. If one of the people is a parent, the parent wins. Since you’re both parent’s you go to the next tie-breaker.

    2. The parent that has lived with the child the longest, wins. Since you all live together, you can’t use this, unless your ex hasn’t been with you the whole time. And, even if he hasn’t been with you the whole time–since he was active duty military–he probably has an exception about being in the home if he was overseas.

    3. So, if you both are parents, and you’re both living with the child and you’re still fighting over who gets the exemption–then the final tiebreaker is AGI–adjusted gross income. The parent with the higher income gets to claim the child.

    So that’s my tax answer. Now forgive me, but I’m going to do my “Aunt Jan” answer:

    You ex was discharged and had nowhere to go and out of the kindness of your heart you took him in until he got back on his feet. You are putting a roof over his head, food in his belly, and he is doing nothing to contribute to the household and now he’s trying to take away the tax exemption for your child as if he were supporting him? In what way is this situation helping your family?

    I’m all for supporting our returning veterans. And I’m keenly aware of how difficult it is to find work. But if what he’s doing is harming your family–your child, then out he goes!

    Nikki, you are a member of the United States armed services You risk your life to protect my rights and the rights of every citizen in this country. You deserve to protect your own rights too. Let me say that again, You and your son DESERVE protection too.

    So, if this man is not doing what’s in the best interest of your family–show him the door. I get that it’s complicated–but you’ve stepped up to help and now he’s basically stealing from you. Maybe there’s a good reason he has nowhere else to go.

    Rant over.

  718. Kimberly s. on Mon, 29th Sep 2014 9:47 am
  719. Hi. I’m a single mom that works very hard. I have my son over 50% of the time and claim head of household. I just bought my 1st house by myself. My bf lives with me and wants to turn the water on in his name and pay it for me. Will this effect my taxe status at all?

  720. Jan Roberg on Sun, 5th Oct 2014 6:54 am
  721. Hi Kimberly,

    While I’m guessing that your boyfriend is making a nice gesture, I would not let him put the utilities in his name. You bought the house yourself, it’s your house The utilities should be in your name. Now it’s fine if he pays you rent or pays the utilities, but put them in your own name.

    If you get married, that’s different. But without that piece of paper, you don’t want your bills or stuff with his name on it. Why? Because if you ever break up, it will be a pain to correct. And that’s if he’s a decent person. But if he’s a slime ball–and I’m not saying he’s a slime ball, but you know how sometimes ex boyfriends turn into slime balls? If he wants to be a slimeball and his name is on the utilities, he can really create problems for you. Please, protect yourself.

    Why am I being so soap boxy on something that’s probably just an innocent offer? Because, this sounds horrible but there are men who actually go out looking for single moms just to claim their kids for EIC and you’re writing this in the fall right about the time EIC hunters get started. Who knows, maybe he’s been with you forever but you’re a woman with a kid and you just bought your own house–you’re a good catch.

    And you said, “he wants to put the bill in his name and pay the bill for me”. This makes me wonder–are you saying he doesn’t live with you and wants to pay your bill? That’s odd. Or does he live with you in which case he’s not really paying it for you, he’s using the water too Beware that man that wants to do something for you that’s really for himself. (My husband is often guilty of that. He’ll throw a load of his clothes into the washing machine and tell me he did laundry for me. Yeah, right.)

    I’m not trying to make you get into a fight with your boyfriend–who’s probably a wonderful guy (my husband is, despite the laundry thing). I just really don’t want you to have the utilities in his name. No utilities. You own the house, you are responsible for the utilities. If he wants to help you, he can help pay.

  722. Lucia on Sun, 12th Oct 2014 3:06 pm
  723. Hi my name is Lucia and I am a mother of 3 young boys. I have a 4 year old in pre school and my 2 and 1 year olds stay at home with me. I have an apartment with my daughter who works and pays the rent and utilities. I get food stamps and money sent to me occasionally by family members if I need any help with diapers or anything. Is there any way that I can claim my boys for income taxes since I am a stay at home mom or is it best that I have my daughter?

  724. claire on Mon, 20th Oct 2014 7:34 pm
  725. I am wondering if there is a way to get my back child support from taxes, when the father of my child hasn’t filed, because he knows that we will get his refund. He owes almost $5000, and hasn’t filed taxes in two years. The last 2-3 years we got his refunds. Almost all of last year he stopped paying child support altogether, and I suspect he started paying again because I could take legal action against him once he reaches $000. Any ideas?

  726. Jan Roberg on Sun, 26th Oct 2014 2:39 pm
  727. Hi Lucia,
    It sounds like the best thing for you is to have your adult daughter claim your children since she has earned income and you don’t. With no earned income, there’s no benefit to you to claiming the kids, but there could be big benefits to your daughter if she qualifies to claim them.

  728. Jan Roberg on Sun, 26th Oct 2014 2:43 pm
  729. Hi Claire,
    I’m afraid you’re out of my league on this one. I know that most states have a threshold point where the garnish a tax retund for child support, but I don’t know what they are or how to force the issue. I only do taxes. Sorry.

  730. Kayla on Mon, 3rd Nov 2014 12:42 pm
  731. I am looking for some clarification on a disagreement regarding who claims my 18 year old daughter. My ex husband and I have joint custody. Our divorce decree says he claims her on taxes until he can no longer claim her then he is allowed to claim one of our younger sons. Our daughter turned 18 in March 2014 and around that time started staying at her boyfriends house all the time. She has not been at her fathers house in over a year, even though he still pays child support for her till 19. She works full time and will earn about $14, 000 in 2014. He does not think he can use her as a qualifying dependent for his 2014 taxes becasue she has not been to his residence in over a year and a half and other than him paying his child support he has not paid for anything else. She is under his medical coverage still. Can he still claim her as a dependant?

  732. Jan Roberg on Wed, 5th Nov 2014 9:20 pm
  733. Hi Kayla,
    I think the big issue here is the residency test. She doesn’t live with your ex, and she doesn’t live with you either–so I’d say that your ex cannot claim your daughter. Now, if your daughter lived with you–then I’d say that you could allow your ex to claim her because of the special rules for divorced people. But since your daughter now lives with her boyfriend, and it also sounds like neither of you support her (as she makes $14,000) I’m thinking he can’t claim her.

  734. Melinda on Sat, 27th Dec 2014 11:00 am
  735. hello, first I want to thank you for giving tax advice on here and answering questions. I have ready the questions and your responses. Basically I wanted to know if my sons father could claim him. he carried him in 2013 for the first time then I carried him in 2014 because I had a greater income. we are no longer together and I have my own apartment under public housing and my son is on my lease. my son is only 2. and will be three next year. anyway, this year I only made about 5000 and his father made about 17000 . he helps me take care of him. he doesn’t pat child support through the state but he gets him anything he needs. I don’t mind him carrying him on his taxes but I just want to make sure its okay. he is on my lease but he lives at his dads house a lot so I wouldn’t say that he is at mine more. I seen something about an 8332 form but I’m not sure if that applies for us. please help me. I am so confused. thank you again for your time and sorry if I was all over the place explaining.

  736. Jan Roberg on Sun, 28th Dec 2014 10:25 am
  737. Hi Melinda,
    Since you and your ex are working together to make the best situation for your child, and since you both have had him at your homes for over 6 months, you two are perfect candidates to work together on your taxes.

    You’re going to each prepare your returns 4 ways:

    1. YOU claim no child, single, 1 exemption for yourself. EX claims: 2 exemptions; one for yourself, one for child, AND claim EIC and head of household

    2. YOU claim child for EIC and head of household filing status, 1 exemption for yourself, no exemption for child, sign 8332 to other parent. EX claims: 2 exemptions; one for yourself, one for child, no EIC, No head of household

    3. YOU claim 2 exemptions; one for yourself, one for child, no EIC, No head of household, EX claims: child for EIC and head of household filing status, 1 exemption for yourself, no exemption for child, sign 8332 to other parent.

    4. claim 2 exemptions; one for yourself, one for child, AND claim EIC and head of household. EX claims: no child, single, 1 exemption for self.

    Pick the combination that combined gives you the most money. Put the extra money you get into a savings account or 529 plan for your child.

    Only parents that get along can do this. If you hate each other, then you go by the straight IRS rules. But when you get along, and you work together you can go for the biggest refund. Basically, you figure what you would normally claim–and make each parent whole, and the excess goes into the college plan (or health plan, or whatever you need for the child.)

    And often, what you’re supposed to claim anyway is the highest refund. But at least you’re looking at all the options.

  738. Jillian on Mon, 29th Dec 2014 5:21 pm
  739. Hey, so I’m a stay at home mom. I live with my boyfriend and he makes all the income. With us not being married and him owning his own business, should I be the one to claim our son, even though I don’t work.

  740. Jan Roberg on Wed, 31st Dec 2014 5:37 pm
  741. Hi Jillian,
    You say “our” son, so I’m assuming that your boyfriend is the actual father of the child. If he’s the dad, then let him claim your son on his tax return. Since you have no income, it won’t help you at all. But since he has self employment income, claiming your son could be very helpful.
    Now if your boyfriend wasn’t your child’s father, that would be a different story. You would want to read this post instead:

  742. kadeem on Tue, 13th Jan 2015 6:58 pm
  743. Hello, I am a farther and I am trying to figure out if I can file taxes for my daughter, both me and the baby’s mother live at her parents house. I do provide everything for my child and I also work, but my daughter grandparents also wants file and it became a bit of a dispute on who should file for my daughter. I’m just trying figure out if I’m qualified to file for my daughter and would I win the Irs tie breaker if me and the grandparents was to file?

  744. Cassaundra M on Tue, 13th Jan 2015 8:37 pm
  745. First of all thank you for taking time to answer all our tax questions. My question is this. I am a Widow since 07 and a single mom of 4. I know I can claim Head of Household status or Single (thanks for the tip in your blog above), I worked this year for a friend. I watched her child before and after school and I cleaned her house. Since it was just one child I didn’t need a business license so I don’t have my own business. I was just doing it for some extra cash. Can I use this income to claim EIC? I have no other income other than Social Security and VA death benefits

  746. Sheena on Thu, 15th Jan 2015 7:53 am
  747. I was wondering about my taxes. I have two children with my boyfriend. We have had an on again off again relationship for a couple years. He was living with his mom up til last year when we got engaged. Previous years we have claimed one child each and HOH. But now we live together how should we file? He makes about 40+ and I make 20+?

  748. Jan Roberg on Mon, 19th Jan 2015 8:08 pm
  749. Hi Kadeem,
    Here’s the important question: what’s best for your child? Because, in the end, you want to do what’s best for your child.

    But here’s another question: you say that you provide everything for your child. But if that’s so, why are you living at the girlfriend’s parents house?

    Yes, that was harsh, but I want to make sure you understand their point of you. Their roof, their rules.

    That said, if you go to battle with the grandparents, you will win–but that brings us back to my original question: what’s best for your child?

    My recommendation is that you work with the grandparents–see what makes the most sense as far as claiming your child, and if it makes more sense for you to claim him–you use part of your refund to pay them what they would have gotten for claiming the child. Think of it as a rent payment.

  750. Jan Roberg on Mon, 19th Jan 2015 8:13 pm
  751. Hi Cassuandra M,
    Yes you can claim that income to claim EIC. But remember, you’re going to have to pay self employment tax on that income, so it will reduce what your refund will be, but it’s still better than nothing. (Hopefully.)
    One thing is you’re going to want your employer to claim what she pays you as a tax deduction. She needs to list you as the day care provider when she claims the child care credit. That gives you “back up” when you claim EIC.

  752. Jan Roberg on Mon, 19th Jan 2015 8:49 pm
  753. kari on Sat, 24th Jan 2015 10:27 am
  754. Wondering I work from home i receive a w2 but still am low income I dont think it matters if i do a schedule c for expenses does it to increase amount back ? It is for basically lowering your taxes paying in correct . Do not want to miss out on more money back if that could happen?

  755. Kari on Sat, 24th Jan 2015 9:57 pm
  756. Hello,

    After reading all the posts, I feel I know the answer to this question, but none of them pin pointed it exactly, so here goes.

    I am Mom, I have higher agi. Dad usually files HOH, and claims our two children. This year, and it is only a $200+- difference, but I am wondering if I can file HOH, claim the children to qualify, but do not accept the child tax credits or EIC. Then Dad file single, and claim the kids for all credits?

    Otherwise, Dad will file HOH, claim the kids, and I will file single. We are unmarried.

    Thanks so much for your assistance!

  757. Jan Roberg on Sun, 25th Jan 2015 11:24 am
  758. Hi Kari,
    If you receive a W2 for your wages, then you can’t put your business expenses on a Schedule C. Your business expenses as an employee would go on your Schedule A or the 2106 form–which probably wouldn’t do you any good as far as reducing your taxable income. I’m guess that for you it would only be a waste of time because of all the other hoops you’d have to jump through to make the deduction even count.

  759. Jan Roberg on Sun, 25th Jan 2015 3:27 pm
  760. Hi Kari,
    If you and the children’s father are living together, you can’t split the exemptions. That’s a strategy for divorced or split couples:

    But, since you two live together, you have a different strategy. Still prepare your returns a number of ways:

    1. He claims HH and both kids, you file single
    2. You calim HH and both kids, he files single
    3. You claim 1 kid, HH and he claims 1 kid and files single
    4. You claim 1 kid, single and he claims 1 kids and HH.

    You chose the filing that gets you the most money combined. Since you’re a committed family, working together, it’s okay to do that. You’re not dealing with IRS “tie-breaker” rules because you’re agreeing on how to file. The IRS rules about AGI only come into play if you and he are fighting over the exemptions.

  761. Nyesha on Wed, 28th Jan 2015 7:50 pm
  762. I filed exempt the entire year, needing that additional money to make ends meet. I have a 6 year old daughter but I’m scared to file because I didn’t pay anything in. I made 25,000. do you have any advise as to what I should do?

  763. Jan Roberg on Sun, 1st Feb 2015 3:44 pm
  764. Hi Nyesha,
    file your tax return. You probably still qualify for EIC, plus the child tax credit. I’m guessing that you won’t owe. If you do, well then you’ll pay up and not claim exempt again.

  765. Cupcake on Mon, 2nd Feb 2015 1:52 am
  766. I am 17 and my sister is 15. I have a job. We live all year with my grandmother and she will be filing her tax return and adding us as dependents. I know she will be getting around $1,000 for each of us as a tax credit, but isn’t that our money and shouldn’t she it to us? She said the money is hers as sort of a reimbursement for supporting us yearly.

  767. Cupcake on Mon, 2nd Feb 2015 1:55 am
  768. ..I meant to say shouldn’t she give it us?

  769. Pearl on Mon, 2nd Feb 2015 6:53 pm
  770. Thanks so much for your help Jan. It’s complicated to understand the taxes.

    I am self employed, made 21000 before I took deductions for my business and now I am at gross 15K. I am a single mom claiming head of household, EIC and one child deduction. Being self employed I haven’t paid taxes into the system. So when I did my taxes on H&R block a few hours ago it sys that my refund is $2,112. Will the government really give me money if I didn’t pay taxes into the system?

    Also there was a section in the deductions part where it asked me if I wanted to do the standard deductions of $9,100 or do it myself, I opted for the standard, but then the software also took off the 6K for my home office and mileage.

    Does this sound correct?

    I grow a ton of my own food, use hand me downs and get gifts for the expensive things. Will these low numbers and refund be red flags for me to be audited?
    Thanks for your time.
    Sincerely, Pearl

  771. tann on Mon, 2nd Feb 2015 8:13 pm
  772. Hi im scared. Im 23 and made about 13,000 for this past year. Me and my baby live with my parents but I pay rent and stuff. I already done my taxes and I filed head of house hold and my father hasn’t done his yet but he will file head of house hold too he clearly makes a crap load more than me.but I thought I filed hho for just me and my baby.. what do I do?

  773. Brittany on Tue, 3rd Feb 2015 6:45 pm

  775. Marissa on Fri, 6th Feb 2015 7:05 am
  776. Hi I’ve been living with my mom for the entire year.She paid the rent and most bills.I just paid one bill and my daughters expenses.So my question is if i filed single on my income tax return and my mother is going to file as head of household can we file under the same address?

  777. Pearl on Fri, 6th Feb 2015 1:01 pm
  778. Really hope to get input from you before I file, thanks!

  779. Ashley L on Sun, 8th Feb 2015 8:01 am
  780. Hello,
    I’ve read all of the comments, and Im still very confused.

    Me and my boyfriend gave have been together for 2 1/2 years we also have a daughter. He has a job, and is the military. he supports us 100%
    Whenever he went to file online it showed i was approved for him to hold me. Until he was at the part where it showed who he was holding.
    We were told to put “other” when you add dependents.
    We have been told that he can hold me, and then we have been told he can’t by several different people.
    H&R block & Turbotax said he cant, and Jackson Huett said he could.
    So we are so confused on what to do.
    Thank you for your time.

  781. Jan Roberg on Sun, 8th Feb 2015 8:41 am
  782. Hi Cupcake,
    Sorry, but that money is for your grandmother to help pay for things like keeping a roof over your head and putting food on the table and things like that.

  783. Jan Roberg on Sun, 8th Feb 2015 8:46 am
  784. Hi Peal,
    It all sounds good.

    1. Even though you have to pay self employment tax, it sounds like you had enough of an Earned Income Credit to not only pay the self employment tax, there was still some left over to generate a refund. (Awesome for you!)

    2. The Schedule A or standard deduction is for regular wage earners AND self employed people, AND retired folks–basically everybody. You qualified for the standard deduction. Because you are self employed, you are also entitled to the Business deductions of your business which include your home office and mileage, and business expenses.

    It all sounds good to me.

  785. Jan Roberg on Sun, 8th Feb 2015 8:52 am
  786. Hi Tann,
    I’m thinking that your dad will be filing as married filing jointly with your mom–so he won’t be head of household.

    Also, you probably should have just claimed single — but I doubt it would change your taxes that much anyway.

    And–you do pay rent, so you are the head of household for you and your child.

    Don’t lose any sleep. You’re okay.

  787. Jan Roberg on Sun, 8th Feb 2015 8:52 am
  788. Hi Brittany,
    Yes, you claim your baby for the entire year, even if he was born on December 31st!

  789. Jan Roberg on Sun, 8th Feb 2015 8:53 am
  790. Hi Marissa,
    Yes you can.

  791. Jan Roberg on Sun, 8th Feb 2015 8:57 am
  792. Hi Ashley,
    Yes, your boyfriend can claim you as a dependent, and also your child because he is the father.
    The confusion is–he’s in the military but he’s not always at home, so you get an issue when you say “other” for relative, but you’re not living together for the full 12 months because he’s in the military. Well if he’s been deployed, you can’t go to Afghanistan or whatever with him. You still count as living together. So, when he files his return, he lists you as living with him for the full 12 months. It’s only okay because he’s military. That’s your work around.

  793. Pearl on Mon, 9th Feb 2015 12:50 am
  794. Thank you so much!

  795. Elle on Wed, 29th Apr 2015 12:38 pm
  796. Hi, I just read this post. I’m curious if you happen to know the reasons and why behind claiming your child but not getting money for it? There are people who don’t work, claim their kids, and get a nice chunk of cash for it. Yet when I filed and claimed my daughter, I was told I couldn’t receive any payment for her because I had not made enough income that year. I’ve been trying to research this topic, as I was seriously banking (haha, oh, the pun!) on the money I would receive for claiming her just to keep us afloat for a while longer.

  797. Jan Roberg on Wed, 29th Apr 2015 8:33 pm
  798. Hi Elle,
    So you’re asking, why claim your child if you don’t get any money for it? Lots of reasons. Most important I think is to prevent your child from being used in an identity theft case, or keeping an ex from claiming your child who shouldn’t.

    But I’m going to take issue with your comment that there are people who don’t work and claim their kids and get a nice chunk of cash for it That’s not exactly correct. Unless you’re talking about fraudsters–but that’s not really a good example.

    There are people who don’t make a lot of money, and they claim their kids and qualify for an earned income credit. They don’t make a lot of money, but they do work.

    So when you filed–you didn’t make enough income. I’m guessing you didn’t make enough “earned” income–meaning wages from a W2 or self employment income. Social security, disability payments, alimony, child support, pension money, welfare, capital gains, dividends, and interest – none of those things count as earned income.

    So just having a child doesn’t entitle you to receiving cash. (Actually, EIC is one of those things that Congress means when they’re complaining about “entitlements”.)

    The bottom line is–if you want to receive an “Earned Income Tax Credit” you have to have some earned income.

    Or even a “child tax credit” you still have to earn at least $3000 to qualify for that. So if you’re not working, then those tax credits aren’t available to you.

  799. Elle on Wed, 29th Apr 2015 9:33 pm
  800. Hi, Jan. Thanks so much for your reply. I should have rephrased my question properly. I actually had had an income that was over $3000. When I filed, I’d just quit my job. Also, earlier in 2014 I had an estate sale for my father’s house that earned me almost $6000. I have nothing along the lines of alimony, child support, disability, etc, nothing but food stamps and Medicaid (at the time). Could the money I’d received through the estate sale have affected my tax return, or possibly my government assistance? Or (according to this website: perhaps I was between eligible brackets?

  801. stefana p on Thu, 7th May 2015 9:18 am
  802. what can I do if I am going through a divorce now with my childs father and he has been paying child support by law but now is making more money but im still getting the same amount?

  803. Jan Roberg on Sun, 17th May 2015 4:50 pm
  804. Hi Stefana,
    I’m sorry but that’s a question for an attorney. It’s out of my league.

  805. Olivia on Wed, 3rd Jun 2015 11:13 am
  806. I file as Married/withhold at higher single rate and am currently on maternity leave and only receiving 60% my normal salary.
    I changed my personal allowances to 5 since having my first child and on my first check there was no federal money withheld does this sound right?

  807. Jan Roberg on Sun, 14th Jun 2015 2:32 pm
  808. Hi Olivia,
    if you’re claiming 5 exemptions, then I’m guessing that they’re not taking out any federal withholding, so yeah that sounds right. But–why 5 exemptions if you’ve only got one child? And, if you’re married, you’ve got a husband’s income to account for. I think you need to go to the irs withholding calculator to make sure you’re having enough taken out.

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