Will I Go to Jail for EIC Fraud?

April 19, 2011 by
Filed under: IRS, Uncategorized 
Manifest Destiny

Photo by e_monk

I often hear the question, “Will I go to jail if I cheat on my taxes?”  People see celebrities go to prison all the time, most recently Richard Hatch, the guy who won a million dollars winning “Survivor” has been all over the news.  He spent four years in prison and could go back again.   Note:  if you win a million dollars on national television, it’s safe to assume that the IRS knows about it and is looking for it on your tax return.

But what about EIC fraud?  What happens to you when you claim a child that’s not yours, or if you allow someone to claim your child when that person isn’t the parent?  What’s the punishment there?

If the IRS examines your return and finds that you cannot claim EIC, the worst case scenario would be that they impose “civil fraud” penalties on your return.  The penalty for civil fraud is 75% of your underpayment of income tax.

Say for example that you involved yourself in a scheme where you claimed children that didn’t belong to you over the course of three years.  The difference between what you received as a tax refund averaged $5,000 more each year than if you didn’t illegally claim those children for a total of $15,000 in excess refund dollars.  When the IRS catches up with you, they will demand their $15,000 plus another $11,250 for the penalty which would make your balance due $26,250.  Add to that the interest you’d be charged and you see how costly this is.

What makes this even worse is that if you are charged with civil fraud the IRS can then turn the case over to the Criminal Investigation Division for prosecution.  You could face both civil and criminal penalties at the same time—meaning they put your butt in jail, levy your bank account and put a lien on your house and any other property you own.

Most people who get caught for EIC fraud don’t have the money to pay back the tax owed, not to mention the added fines.  And of course, the higher the dollar amount owed to the IRS, the higher the likelihood of criminal charges.  So you really don’t want to hear the word “fraud” if the IRS comes calling.

But that’s the worst case scenario, fraud is pretty dangerous stuff, and they have to be able to build a case for it.  One of the key points of fraud is that you knew you were doing it.  I once spoke to a potential client over the phone, she had received an IRS letter and they were charging her penalties for fraud.  As she explained her case, she kept insisting that “she didn’t know.”   I thought there might be a case for her so I asked, “You mean you didn’t know it was wrong to claim someone else’s child?”  She said, “No, I didn’t know I could get caught.”  That’s not going to get you off of fraud charges.  I gave her the name of an attorney—if there’s a possibility of criminal charges, you’ll want the tax attorney over the EA or CPA.  (EAs and CPAs have client privilege for tax issues only, for criminal cases, only an attorney has privilege—meaning what you tell them, they can’t tell on you.)

In most cases though, a much more likely scenario is an accuracy related penalty—that would be 20% of the under-reporting.  Let’s say you live with your girlfriend, she has a kid, she said you could claim the kid; you don’t know it’s illegal but you get caught.  You’ll have to pay back the EIC plus the accuracy related penalty.  If the EIC difference was $5000, then you’d add another $1250 making the balance due $6,250.  The IRS would add interest to that as well.

Generally, if you lose an EIC audit, you’ll also be banned from claiming EIC for somewhere between 2 and 10 years depending upon the severity of the case.  That’s probably the worst penalty for most people.  Many of the people who get in trouble for EIC generally are able to claim EIC in other years.  Being banned from EIC for 10 years can cost a person over $50,000.  That’s a lot of money.

Accuracy penalties usually involve amounts of over $5,000.  If your EIC underreporting is less than that, you’re more likely to pay “late payment” penalties which are equal to ½ of one percent per month.  For example, you file your return in February of 2008, in March of 2010 they catch up with you.  This means that the penalties have been adding up for 24 months, you’ll pay 12% for the penalty, plus the interest owed.  Let’s say you only got an extra $1000 for falsely claiming EIC, you’d have to pay back $1,120 plus interest of course.  The IRS will always get their interest payment.

But what if it’s not my fault? That’s a very common question.  What if it really isn’t your fault?  What happens if you went to a preparer that didn’t know any better and claimed EIC for you when she shouldn’t have.  Or worse, you had a crooked preparer.  (These things really do happen.)

You’ll have to report the preparer.  There are serious fines and penalties for tax preparers associated with EIC negligence and fraud.  The smallest, yet the easiest to prove, is the EIC due diligence paperwork.  For every tax return that has EIC on it, a paid preparer must have a form 8867.  Here’s a link to see what it looks like:  http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8867.pdf

The link is to the official IRS form.  In my office, my computer software actually uses the same form but I’m required to sign it and have my client sign it as well basically stating that everything on the EIC form is true.  Here’s the thing—the IRS can call up any tax office at any time and say, “Hey, we’re coming to audit your 8867 EIC forms.”  As the owner of a tax business, I have to be able to pull them all and have them ready for inspection.  If I don’t have an 8867 form for every EIC tax return I prepare, its $100 for each one I’m missing.  Guess what, I’m not going to be missing any of those forms.   I can’t afford it and I don’t prepare that many EIC returns.  You can bet that an office with lots of EIC returns has itself covered in the forms department.

So here’s where I’m going with this, if your preparer really is crooked, do report him to the IRS, it’s the right thing to do.  But if you lied to your preparer about your relationship to the child you claimed or some other EIC offense, and the IRS goes to the preparer’s office and pulls the 8867 forms, and they find a signed affidavit with your signature saying that you are the actual parent of the child—now you’ve just proved that you committed a fraud.  That’s the last thing you want to do.  Remember, a plain error costs a lot less than fraud and there’s no jail time involved.

So what should I do if I receive an EIC audit letter?  If you have the rightful claim to EIC, fight it.  If you’re not sure, maybe you do, maybe you don’t—seek professional help.  I’ve seen innocent people lose EIC audits because they didn’t know the rules.  Don’t take chances, it’s too costly.  If you know for a fact that you should not have claimed a child, pay up and get it over with as quickly as possible.  It won’t be easy, but in the long run it will be better for you.

If you know that you’ve illegally claimed EIC, don’t wait for the IRS to come after you.  File an amended return and pay the tax.  You’ll definitely have to pay interest, but by filing an amended return and paying before you get an IRS letter, you have a very good chance of avoiding the penalties.  You’ll probably sleep better too.


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:  http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Earned-Income-Tax-Credit-(EITC)-%E2%80%93–Use-the-EITC-Assistant-to-Find-Out-if-You-Should-Claim-it.

How to find free tax preparers:  http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Free-Tax-Return-Preparation-for-You-by-Volunteers

How to find your local IRS office:  http://www.irs.gov/uac/Contact-Your-Local-IRS-Office-1

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.


535 Comments on Will I Go to Jail for EIC Fraud?

  1. cristina giron on Mon, 2nd May 2011 7:26 pm
  2. I understand every thing you’re saying but what if the actual father claimed his son even though he never lived with him and never gave child support. If I file an amends would that make me look bad.

  3. Jaron on Thu, 19th Jan 2012 6:42 pm
  4. I got a letter saying I would be penalized from receiving EIC for 2-10 years. I have paid all my fines but how do I know how long I will be penalized for?

  5. Admin Roberg on Fri, 20th Jan 2012 1:29 am
  6. Hi Jaron, Sounds like you lost your EIC case. That’s pretty rough. The situation is this: no matter what, you will not be able to claim EIC for 2 years, even if you otherwise would be eligible to do so. What the IRS is saying is that you made an error on your tax return and it was due to (and I’m going to use the IRS words right out of the book here) “reckless or intentional disregard of the EIC rules.”

    Basically they’re saying the you claimed EIC and that you knew better. Now if they decide that you were committing fraud–then it will be for 10 years.

    So here’s the question for you–you say that you’ve already paid all your fines. When you look at the paperwork about the fines–were they late payment penalties and interest, or did they attach penalties for fraud? That’s pretty much going to tell you which way the wind is blowing on that one. Sorry.

  7. Admin Roberg on Fri, 20th Jan 2012 1:32 am
  8. Hey Christina,
    I’m sorry, I didn’t realize I had an unanswered question sitting on the site. I apologize. Filing an amended return won’t make you look bad. People file amended returns all the time. And, if you didn’t know that that was an option for you (you’d be amazed at how many people don’t know that they can file a paper return to claim their child) well then you’re just fixing it now.
    Once again, I’m so sorry for missing this before.

  9. sandra on Wed, 25th Jan 2012 10:19 am
  10. I have a question — I worked in Virginia while in college last year. I graduated this past May and moved to California in the fall. I started working for my new job at the beginning of December. It’s for a non-profit and I’m a live-in intern doing volunteer coordinating for 1 year. It’s $800/month & free rent, but I only started this past December. I don’t have a w2 for this job or a pay stub. I just get a check for $800 at the end of the month. For my other job, it was direct deposit with a w2 and I know how to do my taxes for Virginia. Not sure what to do with this Cali stuff. Can I just do taxes for Virginia for this year? Then next year I’ll do California since I’ll be only living/working in Cali from now on? TY.

  11. Ashley K on Wed, 25th Jan 2012 4:51 pm
  12. I recently completed my taxes online only to receive an e-mail to say that it was rejected. It was rejected because someone claimed my child a dependent I called the IRS to see if a) find out who did it and B) see what to do in order to right this wrong The IRS is saying they cannot reveal who did it, in fact. I wanted to know what’s the best way to go upon a situation such as this.

  13. Jan Roberg on Thu, 26th Jan 2012 1:23 am
  14. Hi Ashley,
    I’m going to send you to a different post that has exactly what you need to do. http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2011/01/my-ex-claimed-my-kid-now-what-do-i-do/

    Bottom line, you’re going to paper file your return. The IRS won’t tell you who claimed your child because of privacy laws, but you can probably make a good guess.

    But go to the other post and follow the instructions. Good luck.

  15. Jan Roberg on Thu, 26th Jan 2012 2:01 am
  16. Hi Sandra,
    I’ve got a post about multi state returns: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2011/03/multi-state-tax-returns/
    But to be honest, you won’t have to file a California return for 2011. Do find out about your W2 from your California job though–you must put it on your federal return. If you are not being paid W2 wages, then it’s 1099 contract labor–that’s a whole different issue. Just make sure you have all of your documents before you file.

  17. Aaron on Fri, 27th Jan 2012 12:50 am
  18. Hello…quick question. I have a custody agreement with my sons mother. She has been claiming him the last 5 years. Today we went to family court to decide who would be able to claim our son on taxes this year. She was going to get about $450 back more than i so it went in her favor. My question is this…what if i filed my taxes claiming our son after the decision was made for her? what possible repercussions can i face? Thank You!

  19. Admin Roberg on Fri, 27th Jan 2012 2:04 am
  20. Michelle on Sun, 29th Jan 2012 4:25 am
  21. My ex husband has been illegally claiming my two daughters on his taxes for the last fifteen years, I have recently reported him, I’, wondering whats the least and worst that can happen to him. He’s probably received over a hundred thousand dollars in that time.

  22. Admin Roberg on Sun, 29th Jan 2012 1:46 pm
  23. Hi Michelle,
    I’m guessing that when you say your reported him that you mean you filed tax returns that have you claiming your daughters and that you filed all the way back to 2008. (Going back any further won’t do you any good.) If you haven’t done that, do it now.

    Because your ex is the father of your daughters, and he’s been doing it for 15 years, I’m guessing that the worst that will happen is that he’ll wind up having the pay back and refund or EIC he got for claiming the girls as far back as 2008.

    So he’d be hit with a late payment penalty of 25%, plus interest. At worst they’d tack on another 20% underreporte penalty but I kind of doubt it. They seem to be more forgiving of a parent claiming kids than if he was a boyfriend or someone else.

    He may have been doing it illegally for 15 years–the obvious question the IRS is going to ask is–why are you complaining now? And, since you’ve been apart for 15 years, well then the rules were different 15 years ago, even 2 years ago, so there may be times where his filing wouldn’t have been considered illegal.

    Bottom line-I would not expect the IRS to pursue criminal charges in this case.

  24. Sally on Wed, 1st Feb 2012 10:17 pm
  25. I claimed my nephew because him and his mother were living with me and she didnt work and I supported him all year. but I noticed on my tax papers they listed him as my son is that bad?

  26. Admin Roberg on Wed, 1st Feb 2012 10:40 pm
  27. @ Sally,
    Well, you shouldn’t have said that he was your son. Is that EIC fraud where you’ll go to jail? No. It sounds to me like you had a legal right to claim him and as a blood relative you would have no problem proving the relationship. You could go and amend your return and change it to “nephew” and then you won’t lose any sleep over it. It won’t affect your taxes, it’s all good.
    What get’s people into trouble is when then say “son” and there is really no relationship and they get all sorts of money they’re not entitled to. There’s a big difference between “oopies” and fraud. What you did sounds like “oopies” to me.

  28. Leannah on Thu, 2nd Feb 2012 11:32 pm
  29. I was convinced by a family friend I had stayed with for a less then 4 months to allow her to claim my two kids on her taxes come to find out the kids need to be living with her for at least 6 months and I need to know what to do to make things right so I dont have to worry about my future anymore plus since I had no job and theirr father does he should have been the one to claim them since their his kids and rightly he can bcecause they lived with him up til our seperation in those months

  30. Admin Roberg on Fri, 3rd Feb 2012 1:14 am
  31. Hi Leannah,
    You’ve got a couple of problems–1. Did your friend just claim your kids’ exemptions? or 2. Did she claim them for EIC? If she claimed them for EIC–well what did she put the relationship down as? You can’t say you’re not related and claim kids for EIC.

    Now, to make it right, your ex husband will need to file an amended tax return claiming his chidren for whatever he’s entitled to. So–your problem–what did you get when your friend filed your kids? You’ll have to pay her back. You realize it’s fraud right?

    But will you go to jail? I doubt it, but you could potentially be barred from claiming EIC for 2 to 10 years.

    The best solution for you is to come clean and have your friend file an amended return before your ex goes and tries to claim the kids. That way you’ve got the “oops, we make a horrible mistake and we need to fix it now” advantage.

  32. virginia on Fri, 3rd Feb 2012 6:28 pm
  33. My sister recently let me claimed my niece, I support her. She lives with me 6-8 months a year each year.(my niece) My sister is in a lot of trouble with the law. But for the past couple of months my niece has been living in Oklahoma with my siter. I live in Texas. My sister told me to claim my niece, so i did like I have been or the past 3 years but this year when i went to go file my taxes I was denied because MY SISTER claimed her as well on her Taxes. So me and my sister claimed the same child. I wouldn’t of done it but I had approval. But my sister betrayed me. I just want to know how to do things right. And I want to know how much trouble I’m in. Will you please explain it to me.

  34. Admin Roberg on Sat, 4th Feb 2012 3:04 am
  35. Hi Virginia,
    I don’t think you’re in trouble. Not at all. I don’t think you did anything wrong. Besides–the worst possible scenario would be is if you claimed your neice and then your sister tried to (and you were in the wrong) but that didn’t happen.
    Now, you probably have a good case if you want to claim your neice–a really good case. So it’s really just a matter of — do you want to pursue it.
    Here’s where the rules can help you or hurt you:
    1. Your neice lives with you for 6-8 months–that helps you.
    2. Where did your sister live when she wasn’t in Okalahoma. If your sister lived with you and her daughter, then she’ll win on the amount of time issue. In that case–you’ll lose.

    If you’ve got a winning case, go ahead and paper file and do the audit stuff. If not–let it drop. But the bottom line is, you didn’t do anything wrong before and you should not be in any trouble.

  36. sendy robles on Sat, 4th Feb 2012 5:10 am
  37. hi my name is sendy and i have a concern my brother claimed my son as his nephew and the bioligical father tried to claim but they told him somebody had claimed him so now iam afraid their mught be any problems iam residing at my parents house for almost 3 yrs but my brother never helps me with any costs on my child i work so i buy any costs for my child so can u please give me an advice thank you,….

  38. Admin Roberg on Sat, 4th Feb 2012 1:49 pm
  39. Hey Sendy,
    So you’ve got a bit of a mess and you need to sort it out. Here’s where you can find local help: https://portal.naeacentral.org/webportal/buyersguide/professionalsearch.aspx
    That would be help you pay for–but in your case I think it would be money well spent. There are free places, and the IRS can help you for free–but you might not want to go there if you catch my drift.

    Here’s what you want to do:
    1. Figure out who should really be claiming your child on their tax return. Use the IRS website: http://apps.irs.gov/app/eitc2011/SetLanguage.do?lang=en
    Make sure you answer all the questions honestly–only you will see the answer so don’t be afraid.

    2. When you know what’s right–(I’m guessing, the right thing will be for you to claim your child since you work–but I don’t have all the facts, that’s why you want help.)–when you know what’s right, then you start to fix things.
    For example: if you should claim your child–file an amended return, if it was your brother who should claim–back him up, if your ex should claim–at least know you’ll lose the case. (Maybe your parents should have claimed? I don’t know.) Knowledge is power–even if it’s not to your advantage–knowing where you stand sets you up for the battle.

    3. Now–once you know what the right thing is–you have to act accordingly. You know you’ll need to fix the tax returns–but did you harm anyone? For example: did you let your brother claim you child when he shouldn’t have? If yes, you’ll have to make things good with him when he amends his return. If he claimed your child against your will–that’s a different story.

    Will you, or borther or your ex wind up in jail? I really don’t think so. You and your ex are the parents, so I’m not thinking you did anything illegal. I could make a reasonable claim for your brother. If he really shouldn’t have claimed–well then he’ll have to pay back the money, but I wouldn’t worry about prison.

  40. Chip on Thu, 9th Feb 2012 3:23 am
  41. I was audited for claming my girlfirends son which is my step-son or is to me im not sure if we have to be married for me to call him that and if so thats were i made my mistake. The real problem is i had moved and my mail was not forwarded to me and i recieved one paper on this stating this was going to happen but never recieved anything else as i was not getting my mail. Now a year has passed and recently found out this issue was not resolved do i still have time to resolve this issue or is there a time limit. Also is there a form my girlfriend can sign saying i supported her kid for the year cause this is not fruad i did support her son and was the only one bringing in any income so im not sure how they can say this would be fruad.

  42. Melissa on Thu, 9th Feb 2012 4:10 pm
  43. My brother lived w/his gf from 12/09 to 8/2011. He claimed her 3 children on his 2010 and 2011 return. He got a letter last week becuase he 2011 return is being audited. He filed his own return and listed the children as nephews instead of “other”. He can not provide medical records or school records that the children lived with him because he’s always used the home address of the house he has a mortgage on. That house is not a rental property, but his estranged wife lives there and pays the mortgage. He uses that address becasue he claims the interest on the loan. Before his 2010 return, he has never claimed children or received EIC. What kind of legal issues is he facing?

  44. laura on Fri, 10th Feb 2012 1:44 am
  45. I’m hearing a lot of different situations regarding tax fraud/EIC but just one thing should be said. To all those people saying they didn’t work, they have children and want to let someone else claim their child to get the EIC; it sounds to me like greed and desperation. EIC is earned income credit. First if you didn’t EARN anything you don’t get a credit. Also, the qualifying questions. #1 Did you support the child for 6 months? How can you sleep at night knowing you lied to the government for your own personal gain. Saying you supported a child ( yours or not) when you didn’t in order to get a refund or the most money is NOT OKAY! if neither of you worked that doesn’t mean go find a friend or family member who will claim your child and give you a % of their refund. I struggle and work hard. Tired of peoples selfishness and ignorance.
    I’ve taken care of my daughter for 14 years, spent 7 years fighting for sole custody to finally be granted sole legal and physical custody in Dec. 2010, my daughters father hadn’t even seen his daughter from April 2010 to Aug 2011. I just found out he tried to claim her this year. He has done this before. I filed paper return and got my refund. I also filed documents regarding our child custody case through the courts and found him in contempt of court 30+ times but dropped it bc I don’t want to see him go to jail. I guess I shouldn’t care but I have had my share of f’d up situations. I just wanted him out of my life! I don’t want his money but I do need it.

  46. Admin Roberg on Sat, 11th Feb 2012 1:27 am
  47. Hey Chip,
    There are time limits, but you’re basically out of luck on this one. Here’s a post that will give you information–won’t help your issue but knowing the score helps: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2012/01/can-my-boyfriend-claim-my-child-by-a-different-father-on-his-tax-return-for-the-earned-income-credit/

    Basically, you can claim a child as a dependent for living with you for 12 months of the year–but if that child is not your son or step son (yes, you have to be married for him to legally be your step son) then you can’t claim him for EIC. It’s probably EIC that got you into trouble. You can’t claim the child tax credit either.

    There are time limits on those audits so it’s quite possible that the audit is over and closed and the IRS has assessed the tax–then it’s too late. But, if it’s not over–and the only way to know if to just call–then you can amend your return and pay the tax that’s due.

    Your biggest issue will be paying the tax. If you don’t have the money, you can make a payment arrangement. (Bottom line, figure the amount you owe–tax plus penalties and interest, and divide by 60 months. The IRS can compute the penalties and interest for you. That’s what they’ll expect the monthly payment to be. If you can’t do that, you might want some help negotiating the deal, otherwise you can save yourself some money and handle it alone.)

    The hardest part about your case is the family thing. You think of the child as your step son, you love the child like a son, so you behave like a father. That’s the way it should be. The IRS is not like that–they have very strict definitions of what family is and isn’t (I guess they have to.) That doesn’t make you a bad person, it just means that you have a more open and loving definition of family than the IRS does. That’s not really such a bad thing now is it? (I wouldn’t be worried about jail, only IRS taxes and penalties.)

  48. Admin Roberg on Sat, 11th Feb 2012 7:35 pm
  49. Hi Melissa,
    I’m not an attorney so I can’t say what he’ll face with legal issues. Basically, the big thing you’ll see on the IRS documents is if they use the term “fraud.” There are two types of fraud–civil and criminal. The IRS starts with civil fraud and then they can go from there to criminal. If there is not mention of the word fraud in the IRS documents–then there will not be criminal charges either.

    The best way to avoid that problem is by fixing it right away. Have you brother file amended returns removing those children and any EIC. Yes, he’ll have to pay the money back, but the sooner he amends and starts paying those taxes, the sooner the issue will be settled. If he doesn’t have the money–he can make a payment arrangment with the IRS.

    It doesn’t matter where the children live or who’s house he’s paying the mortgage on–take the children off the return. He can’t claim them.

  50. Admin Roberg on Sat, 11th Feb 2012 7:38 pm
  51. @ Laura–
    I think your letter explains the custodial parents’ side better than anything I could ever say. Thanks.

  52. Michelle on Mon, 13th Feb 2012 3:10 am
  53. I did my boyfriends taxes. I was told that since he supported me and my daughter for the whole year that I could have him claim her in EIC. Her father claimed her as a dependent and I didn’t but did the EIC because I didn’t know. Apparently I made a mistake from what i’m reading. What should I do to correct this? I didn’t mean to “chest the system” and I do not want him to get into trouble for my mistake.

  54. Admin Roberg on Tue, 14th Feb 2012 2:14 am
  55. Hi Michelle,
    What you need to do immediately is to amend your boyfriend’s tax return and take your daughter off of there for at least EIC and head of household.

    Now–did your daughter live with your boyfriend for the entire 12 months? Did he support her? If yes, maybe he can claim her as a dependent–but no child tax credit.

    But–your ex may be entitled to claim your daughter, and if he is, then your boyfriend is completely out of luck on that one. Parent gets the higher claim.

    Check your divorce decree or separation agreement and see what it says about your ex claiming your kid. If your ex has no rights, then your boyfriend might still be entitled to the exemption.

    It wouldn’t hurt you to go see someone for a face to face consultation, just to make sure that you’ve done everything right. Whoever gave you that advice before was dangerous.

  56. Michelle on Tue, 14th Feb 2012 2:43 am
  57. Thank you for replying!
    I had called the IRS today and they told me to let the original return go through and once we recieve the money print the amended return and write a check for the difference. As long as it is post marked before tax deadline everything should be ok. My daughters father gets to claim her every other year which this is his year so my boyfriend cannot claim her as dependent status. Yes I agree I will NOT be listening to what people tell me about filing taxes anymore until I do my own research first. Thanks again, you were very helpful.

  58. d on Thu, 16th Feb 2012 12:21 am
  59. my huband has an x wife who claimed their son who she does not have custody of she only gets every other weekend no hoidays no summer . she owed 700 dollars in child support arrears .she didnt work for 6 months.they had her on a offset.when she relized she wasnt getting any money back she did . this is the 2 times she has done this .i dont understand why we have to wait 6 to 8 weeks when she oed child support arrears and didnt work for 6 months why wont they put her in jail its fraud its in the divorce degree that my husband gets to claim . is there any way she can win.we mailed it in and put a hold on the child support arrears check cause the irs said if she did that the irs wants the money back it wasnt hers to giveand she would be 700 doll in clear with the child support arrear how can we stop her and filing before her not an option we a house and both of uswork all she has is her help

  60. Josefina on Thu, 16th Feb 2012 7:03 am
  61. Hi, my son earned 2500 this year and received a 1099 with his name but my SSN. Am I supposed to amend my return and add this money to it or should I tell his employer to correct the 1099? Is it too late for his employer to do that? If they do correct it, does he have to file taxes even though he is under age and will he have to file his own return year after year?

  62. Brandy on Fri, 17th Feb 2012 12:18 am
  63. I got into an altercation today with my cousin who let me claim her child as a dependent. We agreed that I would give her half of the money for the child which would be 750 dollars. She is now claiming that she meant half of my entire tax return. When I told her no she said that she will go to file taxes tomorrow and claim her son so that I will get audited. My preparer lister her child as my nephew even though I told him he was my cousin. He said there was not an option for cousin and that this would be fine so I believed him. What I want to know is, do I have a case against her since I have witnesses from the tax office since she went with me that she knew I was claiming him and gave me permission and is now changing her mind since I wont give her half of my return?

  64. Admin Roberg on Fri, 17th Feb 2012 3:06 am
  65. Hey D–
    It doesn’t sound like the ex can win this. It’s just a pain in the behind for you to do the paperwork, but it sounds like you’ve got a winning case. Make sure you follow through.

  66. Admin Roberg on Fri, 17th Feb 2012 3:19 am
  67. Oh Josefina–definitely tell the employer to change the 1099. Your son can still file his return claiming the income, but make sure the employer issues a corrected 1099. Don’t put that income on your tax return. It’s not yours.

  68. Admin Roberg on Fri, 17th Feb 2012 3:32 am
  69. @Brandy,
    Sorry girl but you’re toast. You’ve got nothing and your tax preparer was crooked. What you need to do is go to someone else–like one of the free VITA offices and file an amended return taking your cousin off as a dependent. Do it now to avoid getting into worse trouble. Your cousin was also in the wrong but she’s unlikely to get caught. Don’t ever do anything like that again.

  70. Josefina on Mon, 20th Feb 2012 5:56 am
  71. Thank you! They fixed it.

  72. Kina on Mon, 20th Feb 2012 6:36 am
  73. I saw this video says i can claim my kids even if i get child suport. this true? I thinkmy ex alredy claim them, can i still file head o household?

  74. Carrie Lang on Mon, 20th Feb 2012 12:54 pm
  75. I did my boyfriends tax return for him and claimed my children on his return. I accidently marked “son” instead of other dependant. Since we lived together and he was their sole provider can he be penalized for this?

  76. Admin Roberg on Tue, 21st Feb 2012 2:04 am
  77. Hey Kina,
    Getting child support doesn’t keep you from claiming your kids on your tax return. There are a whole bunch of rules, but child support doesn’t stop you. Here’s a link to the IRS website to help you figure out if you can claim EIC or not: http://apps.irs.gov/app/eitc2011/SetLanguage.do?lang=en

    If your ex already claimed them, but you were supposed to–you’ll need to file a paper copy of your tax return. Here’s some information on that: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2011/01/my-ex-claimed-my-kid-now-what-do-i-do/

  78. Admin Roberg on Tue, 21st Feb 2012 2:25 am
  79. Gee Carrie,
    I see your problem. If I were to accidentally mark “son” instead of other on a client’s tax return, I would pay a fine of $500 every time I did that. (And probably lose my license.) But for your boyfriend–well he could be in real trouble which could go so far as to be charged with criminal fraud–and you too as his accomplice.
    Not to scare you, but you need to know how serious that little “oopsie” is. Here’s what you do–
    1. Immediately file an amended tax return changing him to what he should be. Most likely, that will be single with no dependents.
    2. He will have to pay back whatever he owes the IRS. It’s really important to do that right away. If he amends his return before April 15th, it’s like he never filed the first one–no harm no foul. If he waits until after April 15th–well, then the fines and penalties start to rack up.

    No, I doubt that you two will go to jail, but if you don’t fix the return and you get caught, the fines and penalties are severe:
    5% per month on the amount you owe the IRS up to 25% of the balance due.
    Interest on the balance due.
    Fraud penalties of another 20% on the balance due.

    And the IRS is pretty nasty about that stuff too–they do things like garnish your paycheck and levy your bank account.

    So, do yourself a huge favor and fix it now. If you care about your boyfriend at all–fix it now. Go to the free VITA site near you and get some help. They’ll make sure that you’re doing a legal tax return. Here’s how to find one: http://irs.treasury.gov/freetaxprep/

    Don’t wait. Go.

  80. Denise on Thu, 23rd Feb 2012 8:24 pm
  81. My ex husband got the right to claim our 2kids in our divorce. Big kicker her is the kids live with me and go to school where I live. I don’t understand how he has a right to claim them if he doesn’t have physical custody of them. Any advice?

  82. Bobbi on Fri, 24th Feb 2012 12:24 am
  83. I was wondering if a person claimed another persons kids on their taxes and got into trouble can the parent get into trouble too? Or do they get off free of everything?

  84. Carrie on Fri, 24th Feb 2012 2:56 am
  85. Thank You, so much!

  86. Admin Roberg on Sat, 25th Feb 2012 10:30 pm
  87. Hey Denise,
    I’ve got big advice for you! Read this: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2011/11/split-exemption-claiming-one-child-on-two-tax-returns-%e2%80%94-the-legal-way/comment-page-1/#comment-5500

    Bottom line–your ex gets to claim the dependency exemption and the child tax credit only. YOU get to claim head of household and the Earned Income Credit (if you qualify.) That can be worth a pretty penny.

  88. Admin Roberg on Sat, 25th Feb 2012 11:09 pm
  89. @Bobbi–
    That’s a good question. I had a case that I wound up referring to an attorney because the parent had knowingly allowed people to claim her kids illegally–she was in big trouble with the IRS and facing criminal charges.
    On the other hand, a parent who was not involved with people illegally claiming EIC–because the parent is a victim–that would not be a problem and there would be no fines or penalties because the parent is the victim.
    If a person is potentially facing criminal fraud charges–they should hire a tax attorney–not a CPA or EA. EAs and CPAs have client privilege–(means we can’t tell on you) for tax purposes–but we lose our privilege in criminal matters. Attorneys have privilege for criminal matters–and you want that if you’re being charged with a crime (even if you’re innocent.)
    Hopefully I’ve given you more information than you need.

  90. colleen on Tue, 28th Feb 2012 9:04 am
  91. hi i was just wondering if its illegal for this person i know to have claimed 2different children on their taxes. last year she claimed her girlfriend’s son (she was actually living with the child and was the only one in the relationship with a paying job.) but this year she has claimed a friend’s child. she does not live with the baby. nor does she provide all of the things for the baby. she does watch the child for the mom and during the times she is babysitting for the child im sure she pays for some stuff , but not because she has to, because she wants to buy the baby a new outfit or toy. i have been wondering if it is illegal for her to claim this baby this year since she is not dating the mother or living with the child. the mother of the child has a number of other children as well. the woman i am referring bragged recently to me that she got $4800.00 on return for claiming the child that is not hers. Since she has claimed children that arent hers for the last two years do you think the irs will catch on? or is this even a crime? if it is how do i report it? i am concerned for the child’s welfare b/c the woman is a drug addict, has recently been institutionalized, and has a seizure disorder which cost her to lose her license, but she still drives (with the children and high on drugs.)

  92. Emma on Wed, 29th Feb 2012 12:40 am
  93. Hi i was recently audited for filing my two little sisters. I have proof that i provided for them and also was given permission from my mom. When i contacted the irs i was told that because i was under the age 25. ( i will be 24 in two months) i could not receive earned credit for them. Is this a new law? Can i appeal this? and if so how? Help :(… Thanks :)

  94. Admin Roberg on Thu, 1st Mar 2012 1:16 am
  95. Hi Colleen,
    It’s frustrating watching someone get away with what you know is illegal isn’t it? There is a way to report someone that suspect of fraud–which claiming children that don’t belong to you is–but I sometimes wonder if it ever works. But here’s the link: http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=106778,00.html

    The best way for this woman to get caught is for someone who has a legal right to claim the child make a claim–but it sounds to me like that’s not going to happen. So you’re probably the only one who cares enough to try to help the child. The thing is–once you report the fraud–because of privacy laws, you’ll never know what happened to with the case. But at least you’ll know that you did what you could. Good luck.

  96. Admin Roberg on Thu, 1st Mar 2012 1:57 am
  97. Hey Emma–
    You’ve got a tough little spot–but maybe I can help. First–you were 23 when you filed–technically, you can’t get EIC if you’re under 25 unless you’re claiming a child–but you were claiming a child so there’s a bit of gray area there.
    But you do have other problems. Your mom “let you claim them”. Okay, this could be an issue. Your sisters are her daughters. If your mom has a job and has earned income and “can” claim them–then she should not have let you claim them–that is a type of fraud. I’m guessing your mom always claimed the girls in the past and the IRS computers went–“Hey! Whats up with that?” Plus, you’re young enough to be a college student–college students can’t claim EIC. You might be working full time–but I can see how the computers had a hey day with your return.
    What about the girl’s Dad? Could he have claimed them? That could send your return into an audit as well. If he claimed them–because he’s a parent, he wins.
    You should probably go see someone in person and get a thorough review of your return and your situation and see if you’ve got a winning case or not. It’s possible that you do–but your odds are really bad–so make sure you get some professional help so you don’t make a mistake. You can get free help: http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=107626,00.html
    You’ve got more issues than you can cover in an online blog post–and if you do have a winning case–you’re going to need help to prove it. If you don’t have a winning case–I don’t think you’ve committed fraud–I think you made an honest mistake–and you may need some help proving that too. Don’t go this alone, okay? Good luck.

  98. Victor on Thu, 1st Mar 2012 10:32 am
  99. For the past couple of years, my ex-wife has been claiming EIC, even though I have custody of our children and they live with me for more than six months of the year and I provide more than half of their support. I told my ex-wife that I don’t think she’s entitled to claim EIC, but she still is. Can I get in trouble with the IRS for this? Should I report her?

  100. Admin Roberg on Fri, 2nd Mar 2012 3:16 am
  101. Hi Victor–
    How come you don’t just claim your children on your own tax return? That’s the easy way out of this.
    Your ex-wife is not entitled to claim EIC for your children. You may allow her to claim the exemption and the child tax credit, but not EIC. You would do this by signing a form 8332.
    If you are complicit in her fraud–it’s possible that you could get into trouble–but I don’t know of a parent who has been charged in a case like this yet. Readers? Anyone you know been charged with this? Please post so we have a reference point, thanks.

  102. Victor on Fri, 2nd Mar 2012 8:17 am
  103. Our decree states that she gets to claim one of our children and I claim the other three. She has never asked me to file a form 8332. I don’t want to stir up trouble, but I’m afraid that if she gets caught, I’ll be audited too.

  104. Admin Roberg on Sun, 4th Mar 2012 12:45 am
  105. Hi Victor,
    I don’t think you would be audited. Also–even if you were–how could you possibly have knowledge that your ex-wife was claiming an illegal deduction? All you know is that she is entitled to claim one of your children. You claim the other three. The other three give you all of the EIC and head of household benefits that you can possibly claim. There is no need for you to even put your fourth child on your tax return because all you could claim would be the exemption and the child tax credit–which is your ex-wife’s to claim. You are doing nothing wrong.

  106. anonymous 214 on Tue, 6th Mar 2012 5:49 pm
  107. I was wondering … my baby’s daddy claimed EIC. and even though I claimed in 2010, I had him in 2011 282 tays and he had him only 83 days. Was my tax preparer right to amend it.

    And what kind of trouble would my the. Father’s child get into?

  108. jessica on Wed, 7th Mar 2012 2:16 pm
  109. I let my sister claim my daughter on her taxes. My boyfriend claim my daughter like 1 or 2 years ago. The reason I let my sister claim her because my boyfriend wasnt working and didnt do taxes this year. Also the reason because he wont give half of the money for my daughter and wouldnt buy her what she needed, he would spent the money on hiself. My parents and sister are the ones supporting me and my daughter. But now i recently started working for I could support me and my daugther. Can he do something about it like report me and i go to jail? Hes really mad at me because i let my sister claim my daughter.

  110. Admin Roberg on Thu, 8th Mar 2012 3:08 am
  111. Hey Anonymous,
    He won’t go to jail. He will have to pay back the IRS. If you are on good terms with your ex–you two might want to talk. You should claim head of household and EIC–if you like the ex and want good terms, you could sign a form 8332 to let him claim the exemption and the child tax credit. If he’s a deadbeat–then you don’t want to do that. Your call.

  112. Carol on Fri, 9th Mar 2012 1:11 am
  113. My daughter has been incarcerated since June 12, 2011. She has two children. She did work from Jan-June 2011. Can she claim the EIC for her kids(or at least one child, which is what I did for her)? My daughters aunt and her husband(the children’s great aunt and uncle) have been keeping my daughters children(my grandchildren) while she has been gone. I know they probably can claim the kids, because they have had them from June 12-Dec 31.(But they have had access to the child support money that my daughter gets each month, though I think they elected not to use it.)They are mad, because they can’t claim them both. The husband claimed the kids as deductions from his employer and will most likely have to repay some money. They never told my daughter this and she is just now finding all this out. Otherwise she would have let them claim them both. My daughter claimed one child and let them claim the the other child. My daughter is worried, because her aunt told her that she can not file a return while incarerated. Is she correct?

  114. Admin Roberg on Fri, 9th Mar 2012 2:21 am
  115. Hey Jessica,
    Here’s something you really need to know: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2012/01/can-my-boyfriend-claim-my-child-by-a-different-father-on-his-tax-return-for-the-earned-income-credit/

    So here’s the big thing–if your boyfriend the child’s father? If no–he could be in big trouble for claiming your child those other years. So–you’ve got something to fight with.

    If he is the baby’s father, then you could have a problem. I think you’re going to need some help. Here’s a link to find free tax help: http://irs.treasury.gov/freetaxprep/

    You’re going to want to make sure that what you’ve done is legal. (If you lived with your sister and she claimed your child–it’s highly likely that you’re in the right and have no problem.) But there’s lots of issues to get past so get some real live in person help.

    Like I said, you may not have done anything wrong–but you need some hlep sorting through the mess and making sure that you’re okay.

  116. Admin Roberg on Sat, 10th Mar 2012 2:25 am
  117. Carol–
    You have so many issues here I want to make sure you understand them okay?
    One thing, you might want to read this blog post: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2011/02/crime-and-taxes/
    Since I wrote that piece, President Obama signed into law a piece of legislation required the Federal Bureau of Prisons and State prison agencies to report to the IRS prisoners who are incarcerated.

    Here’s the point here–your daughter went to prison in June–that makes it impossible for her to have been home taking care of her children for more than 6 months. And it’s automatically documented. So your daughter cannot claim her children on her tax return.
    Your daughter may be able file a tax return, if her warden allows it, or if she has signed a power of attorney to someone to file for her. I have a friend at another tax company who used to go file tax returns at the local prison as part of his job assignment. On the other hand, I once had to file back taxes for a man who was imprisoned and was not allowed to file while he was incarcerated. So I believe there may be different rules for different prisons. (The IRS did waive all late penalties on the grounds the man was incarcerated so that did count as a legitimate excuse for not filing.)

    Anyway, your daughter needs to amend her tax return. If she does that before April 15th, then her permanent record will show that she filed correctly.

    The great aunt and uncle have the right to claim both of the children. They’re the ones taking care of the children. That’s the law. Why shouldn’t they use the child support money? It’s for the care of the children. Why shouldn’t they claim their legal right to the tax refund and use the child support money? The money is for the care of the children. If anyone deserves to use the children’s money it’s them. You need to see that. The money is for the care of the children.

  118. Carol on Sat, 10th Mar 2012 3:34 pm
  119. Thanks for the reply- well, she is not in a state or federal prison. She is in a womens detention center, but I do not think it is run by the state. As for the child support, they chose on their own not to use it, but instead save it for my daughter and the kids when she gets home soon.

  120. Admin Roberg on Sat, 10th Mar 2012 3:51 pm
  121. @Carol–
    So are you saying that just because your daughter’s prison won’t report her to the IRS then you think it’s okay for her to cheat on her taxes? Listen to what you’re saying. Although I don’t think she’d go to jail over this how do you think it would look at a parole hearing if she got caught cheating on her taxes while in prison? Here’s the big question for you–what’s in the best interest of the children?

  122. Bobbi on Mon, 12th Mar 2012 4:18 am
  123. I asked a question previously and yes you helped me with your answer. I wanted to say thank you for the piece of mind. She did knowingly let this person claim her children, infact it was her idea because she wanted more money. The person who is getting into trouble is freaking out not knowing what to do, she is has been getting letters from the IRS saying she needs to pay the money back but she can’t afford it and the parent of the kids she claimed will not help her pay the money back. This did happen in 2008 and she has been trying to solve this matter but has been unfortunate at doing so. She is really worried and I want to help her but don’t have a clue what to do. Do you know where she could start to ask for help on this matter without being charged a lot of money, because she is low income? thank you for taking the time to help people with their problems. :-)

  124. Robyn on Mon, 12th Mar 2012 10:15 pm
  125. Hi,In Sept.2011 I lost my wallet at Walmart,In my wallet was my Fl Id,
    my social security card ans the social security cards doe both ofy daughters.

    Recently I tried to file my taxes and was told that it had been rejected(go figure) …
    I was told to send in the paper return in which I did,my question is besides the IRS doing their investigation what can I do… I know the.other person will be audited but I would like to press charges. Whoever stole my wallet has all of my information and will continue to haveit until they decide to throw it away..

    I already filed a police report and has all three of our socials flagged but somehow the person was still able to claim my kids as dependents..0_0
    The IRS told me there is no information that they can give me about the other person.

    I really need to file charges on this person because they could be doing anything with my information…

    Please anyone feel free to respond here or through email:msfalla07@AOL.com

  126. Admin Roberg on Tue, 13th Mar 2012 1:55 am
  127. Hi Bobbi,
    Glad I could help. To get free tax help in person, have your friend contact the local VITA office. Here’s a link to the locator web site: http://irs.treasury.gov/freetaxprep/
    That’s a good place to start.
    Now about owing money–sometimes you can just talk to the IRS straight up and explain the situation. You can work out a payment agreement. It will take time, but by setting up the payment agreement, then your friend will be in “compliance”. That means they IRS is happy because they are working to pay off an old debt.
    It used to be, you’d take the amount owed and divide by 60 and that would be the minimum payment required. Now they’ve changed that to 72. If your friend can’t even pay that, she might be able to work something else out–but she’ll have to call.
    Some of the IRS agents are actually very nice and really helpful. To be quite honest, most of them are pretty nice if you give them a chance. (If you get one who isn’t, you can always say the baby’s screaming, you gotta go–hang up and try again later. You probably think I’m joking–but I’ve done that before when things haven’t gone my way. Oops, probably shouldn’t post that on the internet.)
    But seriously, the best way to deal with the IRS is to just face the problem head on.

  128. Admin Roberg on Tue, 13th Mar 2012 2:39 am
  129. Hey Robyn,
    I’m sorry about the theft. That’s really a problem. So, the first question is–was your social claimed or just the kids? If your social was claimed, you can file a fraud form–but the IRS doesn’t do it for kids. (At least not yet.)
    Now–here’s a question for you–the social security cards were stolen–but how they the thief get the birthdates? A wrong birthdate would have been rejected–so it’s quite possible that it’s not the Walmart thief, but someone you know claiming the kids. Something to think about.
    You already paper filed, that’s the first step. But unless you carried around their birthdays with their socials, I’m thinking your identity thief may be a little closer to home than you think.

  130. lisa on Wed, 14th Mar 2012 4:31 am
  131. hi , im being audited for claiming eic, and now they ask to show proof with receipts,and school, medical, records, etc. … the thing is that i dont have any of that i moved feb. 1st and i have so much stress at work and home, that i cant get my mind straight or have the time to look for receipts… also the 2 two children that i claimed are my friends daughters that lived with me almost the whole year last year, she didnt work, and since im single i paid all the bills and expenses, but im a crappy person because i dont save my receipts, and throw away my bills when my drawers get crowded with mail.. my question is is there a way that i can amend my return, and take off the eic, and just pay back what they send me. i hear that they are very mean and try to accuse people of fraud if they dont have enough proof, so what can i do? can i amend or is it too late??

  132. Admin Roberg on Thu, 15th Mar 2012 2:45 am
  133. Hi Lisa,
    You’re not a crappy person. You’re a person who is trying to set the record straight. If being messy makes you bad–then I’m the ultimate evil. (And I’m not that bad, my dog likes me anyway.)
    But–back to your tax problem. I think the best thing for you to do is to just amend and take those kids off. The main reason is because–even if you had a thousand receipts–it wouldn’t matter. You’re not the parent so you can’t claim EIC.
    So here’s my question–when did you file this return? Was it for 2011? If yes, amend it right now, get it in before April 15th and it won’t be on your permanent record. (When I was a kid in elementary school–a long, long time ago–the teachers used to threaten us with, “This will go on your permanent record!” Do you think my whispering to Darla Johnson in 2nd grade is really on my permanent record?)
    Now, if you’re talking about a back year, like 2010–then it’s too late. It will show up that you filed for EIC when you shouldn’t have and got audited etc. You’ll still want to amend and fix it–but it won’t be erased. But it will show that you fixed it–and that’s important.

  134. lisa on Thu, 15th Mar 2012 3:57 am
  135. ok so even if im being audited right now i can amend the return? instead of giving them the few receipts that i have??? correct? i did them online with hrblock. will they ask me why im amending, ? if they do is it ok to say that i dont have all of the things that they ask from me?? thank you so much by the way, !!! :)

  136. lisa on Thu, 15th Mar 2012 3:58 am
  137. and yes it was for 2011

  138. Admin Roberg on Fri, 16th Mar 2012 1:15 am
  139. Hey Lisa,
    It’s perfectly legit to amend a return because the IRS is questioning it. That’s a “Whoopsie” I missed something, the IRS found it and I’m going to fix it!

    But I was thinking about you so let me ask a question–why are they asking you for receipts? This should be an EIC return–did you get the 22 page form with 8 million questions (okay I exaggerate a little but it seems like 8 million questions) and they’re asking for receipts for your household expenses? –that’s the head of household audit.

    Or–are they asking for business receipts–because you’re self employed? That’s a different audit. I’m making the assumption that they’re asking for receipts for the head of household audit–which you’re not claiming now that you’re amending so that’s perfectly good. If they’re asking for business receipts because you had self-employment–then you may still be stuck in an audit. I don’t want to steer you wrong.

    Head of household audit–your amended return should settle that because you won’t need the receipts when you switch your claim to single. If they’re auditing your business, you might not be out of the woods and want some professional help. I just want to make sure your behind is covered.

    Assuming it’s just the EIC/head of household issue–when you file your 1040X amended return and they ask for a reason you will write: Received notification from IRS that a problem existed with my return. Upon review, discovered that changes were required. Changed status from head of household to single, changed exemptions from 3 to 1. EIC and child tax credits have been removed from the 1040.”

    That’s all you need to say. Good luck.

  140. Admin Roberg on Fri, 16th Mar 2012 1:17 am
  141. @Lisa,
    Having it be for 2011 makes it so much better.

  142. lisa on Fri, 16th Mar 2012 2:28 am
  143. wow thank you so much!!! You really made my day. Stress free!!!!

  144. lisa on Fri, 16th Mar 2012 2:30 am
  145. yes it is the head of household audit

  146. lisa on Sat, 17th Mar 2012 6:51 pm
  147. Helllo again. I changed my last name i got married in december of 2011 and i changed it with ssa after i filed my taxes. so do i need to let them know of the change when i send my amended returrn?? and if yes, how do i do that? Have a great weekend! :)

  148. Admin Roberg on Sun, 18th Mar 2012 12:43 pm
  149. Hey Lisa,
    Glad I could help. And congratulations on your wedding! Do make sure you tell the IRS about the name change. Put that in the explanation part. “Taxpayer previously filed under the name of Lisa Smith, but has changed name to Lisa Jones since last filing.”
    And thank you I will have a good weekend. You too.

  150. Natalia on Sun, 18th Mar 2012 8:39 pm
  151. Hi im running into alot of issues right now. I filed my tax return as,head of household & I claimed my step brother. The only thing is I don’t have receipts or anything to show for support, I throw them out i never think to keep them plus I would of thought my tax preparer would of asked questions regarding filing dependents since they also specialize in audit assistance etc but its my fault I should of researched myself. (basically my situation is like lisa’s). The irs sent me 1500 but withheld the portion for my dependent. Im assuming im going to get audited since I checked the irs website & they said a portion of my tax is under review they will send me additional info requesting information. Im assuming its about my step brother being my dependent! If I don’t have the receipts etc I know,im going to lose! But I deposited the 1500 in the bank. So im wondering do I amend the return and send back the check? & fyi I haven’t gotten an irs notice in the mail yet. Also if I decided to go through with the audit and lost would I still

  152. Natalia on Sun, 18th Mar 2012 8:40 pm
  153. Have to pay even if I didn’t get any dependent credit?

  154. Admin Roberg on Sun, 18th Mar 2012 9:22 pm
  155. Hey Natalia,
    The one advantage that you have is that the IRS hasn’t sent you the money for claiming him yet. I’m guessing the 1500 is what you would have received if you just filed as single with no dependent.
    So I wouldn’t worry too much. And I wouldn’t worry about the receipts that much either. Did he live with your and you supported him? Perhaps it was so obvious to your tax preparer that you were responsible for him and that’s why they ask about receipts.
    Here’s a link to the IRS website: http://apps.irs.gov/app/eitc2011/Forward_Qualifying_Child.do;jsessionid=7Qy7PmRTQGSP7khwwxJvgyQghpbCnG7kL5qdW2BQ1jQLJW0TWr8G!-474572249!1788511602
    It’s a questionaire to determine if you are able to claim your step brother as a qualifying child for EIC or not. Answer the questions honestly (you’re the only one looking) and assess the situation. If you really do have the right to claim your step brother–it’s okay to stand your ground. If you don’t, then you might want to amend. (You might not need to send back the check–that might be your refund anyway.)
    If you find that you’re in the wrong and do need to amend–make sure you do it before April 15th (so it’s not on your record.) Good luck.

  156. Natalia on Sun, 18th Mar 2012 9:34 pm
  157. Thank you so much for everything. I appreciate your advice.

  158. Natalia on Sun, 18th Mar 2012 9:42 pm
  159. Also if I fail the test and find myself having to amend what should I do when I get the audit letter.

  160. Donna on Mon, 19th Mar 2012 7:12 am
  161. Being in the positiion were you have to raise your grandchildren, while still worrying and trying to help their parents is rough enough, without all the confusing tax laws about who gets to claim them. I mean to me it should be obvious. We take on all the responsibilities, and financial, medical and educational obligations of the children and we work too, while the parents don’t work, never or seldom visit unless they are bumming from us too. Why should they even think they could claim the kids on taxes. Cause they need a car and we can’t afford to help them buy one? I also have a question. What can happen to you if you are legally married, but for a decade now have filed taxes and also received state funds, food stamps, health care, housing and all in your maiden name?
    Claiming to be separated. But not really and nothing legal.

  162. Jeremy on Wed, 21st Mar 2012 11:45 pm
  163. My question is me and my ex split up we both filed for our son on our tax returns without talking about it or asking who should claim him, my problem is the ssn number she gave me for him the last number was incorrect and I am self employed and all I will receive is for my self and him with earned income credit.? This is the first year she has ever worked and I have always claimed him and after I filed she told me she did and I am scared to death and do not know what to do please help me ASAP with this so I can make it right I would never do anything like this intentionally and I am so scared to go to jail and I am currently unable to work and have tried to file for disability. What should I do and will I go to jail because she told me the wrong ssn number?

  164. Jeremy on Wed, 21st Mar 2012 11:51 pm
  165. I forgot to mention she claimed as well as I did but the last number of his ssn number she gave me is incorrect. My apolgies

  166. Admin Roberg on Thu, 22nd Mar 2012 12:28 am
  167. Hi Natalia,
    If you find that you need to amend–go ahead and amend now. If you wind up getting an audit letter before your amended return is process, you just call the IRS and let them know that you already amended the return. That will let them know that you’ve already got it under control and are being up front with them.

  168. Admin Roberg on Thu, 22nd Mar 2012 12:45 am
  169. @Donna,
    Let me try to be gentle aboout this–you’re wondering why your daughter would claim children on her tax return that she really shouldn’t be claiming because she’s not taking care of them. I feel the disappointment you feel about her decision in the tone of your letter.
    But then, in the same paragraph–without skipping a beat–you ask about claiming to be separated from your husband so that you can receive state funds, etc. Donna, your daughter learned how to cheat the government from her parents. Sorry, but that’s what it is. If you file as head of household and claim EIC benefits when you shouldn’t–that’s tax fraud–and you can get into serious trouble.
    Now I’m not a lawyer so I can’t tell you about what would happen to someone lying to receive welfare benefits–but wouldn’t you just guess that it could be a real problem? Just common sense?
    So Donna, I think you need to do some serious thinking about what you’re doing and the kind of example you’re setting for your grandchildren. Now I realize that times are hard and you’re trying to put food on the table for them and stuff like that–but everytime someone commits welfare fraud–you put ammunition in the hands of the people who want to end all aid for everyone. Is that really what you want?

  170. Admin Roberg on Thu, 22nd Mar 2012 1:36 am
  171. Hey Jeremy–
    first things first–they don’t throw dad’s in jail for claiming their own children. Breathe.
    Okay so you blew the social security number–the tax return should have gotten rejected. So let me ask you this–did you efile the return? Did it get accepted? You see–if it was accepted, then I think that maybe you did have the right social security number and she might not be telling you the truth and just trying to scare you.
    If your return was rejected–well then no harm no foul. Nothing’s been filed.
    If you paper filed and the social security number is wrong you’ll get a notice from the IRS saying that the social security number is wrong, or there’s a problem.
    So–you’re not going to jail. Now–the next issue is–who should claim your child? Here’s a link to the EIC assistant–it will help you figure out if you really should be claiming your child or not. http://apps.irs.gov/app/eitc2011/SetLanguage.do?lang=en

    If, after answering all the questions honestly and truthfully, you find that you should claim your son–then by all means go for it. If you really shouldn’t, then back off.
    One thing to consider with your ex–if she has custody–maybe your two can split the exemption. See this post: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2011/11/split-exemption-claiming-one-child-on-two-tax-returns-%E2%80%94-the-legal-way/
    The might give you two a legal way to help you both maximize the deduction for your son and help you both out. Good luck.

  172. melissa johnson on Mon, 26th Mar 2012 1:19 am
  173. what if the parent was ok with u claiming there child an they got half of the money but she gets mad at u an call’s the irs to report what happens to her an the person who claimed them

  174. Admin Roberg on Mon, 26th Mar 2012 2:43 am
  175. @Melissa,
    If you claim a child that isn’t yours and split the money with the actual parent–that’s income tax fraud. If that person then gets mad at you and reports you to the IRS then you’re toast.
    This is why you never want to do this. You got the money–you gave it to the parent, but then the parent can turn you in and you have to pay all the money back. Plus fines, plus penalties, plus you could even go to jail depending upon how often this happened and how much you owe the IRS.
    So if somebody wants you to claim their child, walk away. Do a Nancy Reagan–just say no. No matter how much you need the money, or how much they say they’ll never tell on you–something will go wrong. And you’ll be left holding the bag. Sorry.

  176. Kay Cannon on Mon, 26th Mar 2012 3:18 am
  177. My situation is somewhat like comments 66-70. I’m 19 and live in my mom’s home. I graduated high school in June of 2011, but no one is claiming me on their returns. My mom did not work and is not filing for 2011. I only worked a little in 2011, making about $800, but I did baby sit all year as well. My mom let me claim my younger brothers on my return since I paid some bills for the house and bought items they needed. On the return I claim $15,000 as self employment for the babysitting, just guessing at the amount because I kept no records. I can’t find the people I used to baby sit for because they skipped town, so they’re no help. With the EIC my return said I was to get about $5800 in returns. I have not received a payment yet, but did get an audit requesting documents from the IRS, that 22 page document you were talking about. It said if they didn’t hear from me in 30 days they will just take the EIC claim off and process the return without that claim.
    After reading your advice I was thinking I should file an amend to remove my brothers as EIC dependents even though I provided for them just to simplify things since I don’t have all the supporting documents. But can I also remove my self employment claim since I don’t have any records of my earnings, and I’m not even sure what I did make?

  178. Lori D on Mon, 26th Mar 2012 7:31 pm
  179. I just found out (by way of a friend) that my ex-husband has been telling people that he claimed me on his taxes for 4 years after we were divorced and has been claiming our daughter on his taxes every year since we were divorced even though our divorce paper state that I claim her on my taxes. I have not filed taxes because I moved to Canada after my divorce and I have no income as I am remarried and stay at home. I am planning on reporting him. What can happen to him if he knowingly did this to commit fraud? Could he be looking at time in prison?

  180. Admin Roberg on Mon, 26th Mar 2012 11:53 pm
  181. Hi Kay,
    I’m thinking you really should amend and here’s why–you have no proof whatsoever that you made $15,000 in income–None. Now, you probably did make that much, but here’s the other problem. You can’t prove it–so what’s going to happen is the IRS is going to take your brothers off of your tax return and take away the EIC, but they’re going to leave the $15,000 of self employment income on and that’s going to leave you owing about $2000 in self employment taxes–plus your regular income tax. So you see–you’ve got a little mess there.
    Here’s the IRS quiz to help you determine if you really can claim your brothers as dependents: http://apps.irs.gov/app/eitc2011/Forward_Qualifying_Child.do;jsessionid=598HPxQfg55XND9Dg22Q1ftNq0d1QPfqV0s1nTfDY1tJ88GHBj19!-297738458!-1569132604

    The thing is–it’s quite possible that you could claim them–but if you can’t prove your income–and that’s where I think you’ll have trouble is proving the income, then you’re going to lose. The IRS is really clamping down on people who pretend to make income but don’t just to claim EIC. I’m not saying that you made your income up–but that’s how the IRS will look at it.

    So for this year–you’re going to go to Office Max and buy one of those receipt books. Every time you babysit–you’re going to give the family a signed receipt for what they paid you. Every receipt will have a date, the name of the family, the address where you babysat, and the amount you were paid. That will give you the income records you need for claiming EIC. (Assuming you meet the other rules.)

    But for this year–I’d fix you returns, just claim the $800 and be done. It’s much safer that way.

  182. Admin Roberg on Tue, 27th Mar 2012 12:27 am
  183. Hi Lori,
    He’s got some nerve! Okay, I don’t know if he’ll go to jail, but really–your daughter’s out of the country and he’s claiming her? Geez! Anyway, to report fraud here’s how you get to the form: http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=106778,00.html

    Good luck.

  184. melissa johnson on Tue, 27th Mar 2012 2:25 am
  185. i mean wouldnt the parent be in trouble for allowing and the person claiming the child really did support the kids the jail part is what freaks the person im asking for out the person didnt know how much trouble they could get into till i was looking on the internet an informed them of what i found

  186. melissa johnson on Tue, 27th Mar 2012 3:18 pm
  187. and how long is gonna take for them to notify her if the parent does turn her in an normally how does this go does she need a lawyer just tryin to get all the info i can to help her

  188. Kristi on Wed, 28th Mar 2012 8:57 am
  189. Hi… I’ve read through most of the posts but just want to clarify something…

    My daughters father (we were never married, nor lived together) claimed our 3 year old on his taxes. I did some homework and figured out that I just had to paper mail my return, (and I was unemployed last year so it’s not a very big return anyway), and basically wait until the IRS contacts us, correct? He has no custody of her, he only has her 24 nights out of the year, and just recently *since December 2011* has started paying child support, and still owes some back support to me. He filed his taxes over a month ago, and I just mailed mine off today. How long does it usually take for the IRS to contact us? And is there anything I can do to ensure that this doesn’t happen again? He definitely did it intentionally, he called me up saying “your gonna be mad at me, I claimed our daughter.” And he actually tried to make a deal with me, saying he’d give me some of the money… HA! Yeah right… I must have stupid stamped on my forehead lol! Thanks for your help on this forum… your doing a great job!

  190. Admin Roberg on Thu, 29th Mar 2012 12:42 am
  191. @Melissa,
    You’re right that the parent should be in trouble for allowing someone else to claim her child–but the problem is, the real parents rarely get caught. Although I did briefly deal with a parent who did that and got caught–I couldn’t handle the case because she was facing criminal charges–(I’m not an attorney–once the IRS says criminal a person needs a lawyer.)
    So yes–the parent can get into some serious trouble–but she would have to get caught, and that’s tricky for the non-parent claiming the child.
    Now if a non-parent (non-relative at all) claimed kids that she was really supporting-she still couldn’t claim EIC–but she might be able to claim the children if they lived with her for the full tax year. But she’d only get the exemption–no child tax credit and no EIC.
    I’d say that your friend’s best bet–especially if she’s thinking her friend’s going to bust her, is to file an amended return and take the child off. If the tax return is for 2011 and she files and amended return before April 15th–then that will be the tax return on her permanent record. Now if we’re talking about 2010 or earlier–an amended return would go on the record as an amended return–but at least is was corrected.
    If she gets a letter from the IRS–it sort of depends what the letter says. If you see the word “fraud” as in “penalty for fraud” $XX–then she might want to contact a lawyer. There are two types of IRS fraud–civil and criminal. The catch is, if the IRS starts fining you for civil fraud–it can go straight to criminal and you friend will want her behind covered. If she get’s a IRS letter but it doesn’t say “fraud” — she should just be able to amend her return and pay the fines and penalties.

    That’s why I recommend amending now and getting it over with. Yes–she’ll have to pay the money back–yes, there will be late fees, etc. But–she won’t get hit with fraud charges. (And that’s expensive.) And, she’ll avoid having to hire a lawyer (also expensive.)

    Your friend won’t have the money to pay it back because she gave it to the mom–she’ll need to arrange a payment arrangement with the IRS. But she can probably do that on her own. The important thing is to be up front–be the one to call the IRS before they call you. It will make her life much easier and she won’t have to lose any sleep because her friend got mad at her.

  192. Admin Roberg on Thu, 29th Mar 2012 2:05 am
  193. Hey Kristi,
    Thanks for the support! You should be fine getting your refund, it’s just going to take some time. Sadly, because you mailed it late in the season, it might take a little longer–it depends upon how far behind the IRS is in processing them. Expect it to take 8 to 12 weeks, and be pleasantly surprised if you get anything sooner than that. Good luck.

  194. melissa johnson on Thu, 29th Mar 2012 2:13 pm
  195. okay thanks u have been alot of help but what if she has already called before it can be amended i would say she will go an do it asap will there all ready be trouble for her even though she did try to amened or would it be too little too late

  196. Admin Roberg on Sat, 31st Mar 2012 10:55 pm
  197. @Melissa,
    Honest answer, I don’t know. I’ve been told that if you fix it before the filing deadline it won’t go on your final–but if you’d already been notified by the IRS–it’s probably too late.

    That said, amend now and get it over with. Less penalties, less interest, and less likely to be hit with the other fines (that I do know.)

  198. melissa on Tue, 10th Apr 2012 11:49 am
  199. my daughter moved in with me feb 2010. she was 21. she had a son that year. she also turned 22 during the year. she didnt work because i was trying to get her clean and have a healthy child. i claimed them and the IRS approved it. They lived with me until august of 2011. again i had fully supported them while they were here.
    i filed my taxes claimed HOH and the EIC. I made 12,000 for the year. I got a notice i am being audited. i have absolutely no receipts as i ended up homeless in november of 2011 and i lost everything and could not haul around a box of papers. i am a receipt saver for return and budget purposes but again couldnt keep anything but my clothes and a few personal items I had no idea I would ever be audited as i had no idea anything could be wrong. Now IRS wants clothes receipts rent receipts, etc i can get the rent printout proving that…i used a pay as you go electric with a wal mart refillable card. neither keep records. i am just a little fish. im so lost. i do not do things wrong. If i ammend and remove daughter and just claim grandson would my audit nightmare still exist? i have also been told that I can do a sworn affidavit that i did provide more than fifty percent of my grandsons care. I also have co-workers etc who know i did that said they would sign an affidavit. im just lost. i have done nothing wrong. help please

  200. melissa johnson on Tue, 10th Apr 2012 9:21 pm
  201. so i just went with my friend to amend her tax return her tax person said it will take awhile for the process to complete so my question is as long she amended before the deadline that this will be her orignal return correct or no?

  202. Admin Roberg on Thu, 12th Apr 2012 1:13 am
  203. @Melissa the grandmother–
    I don’t think you did anything wrong. Your problem is in proving your case, but you should be okay. One question would be–what about your daughter–did she have any income? If she did, and she’s the one who claimed your grandchild–well then you have a problem there. If the person claiming the child is her ex–who didn’t live with you and didn’t care for the child–well then you’re good. You’ve got people who will vouch for you. That’s important and it will help. Good luck.

  204. Admin Roberg on Thu, 12th Apr 2012 1:27 am
  205. @ Melissa Johnson–
    the amended return was in and it will be marked as received before the 15th of April so it should be counted like the original return. So yes, you’re correct.

  206. Rosalinda E on Thu, 12th Apr 2012 2:08 am
  207. My husband is an illegal immigrant and I am currently petitioning him to become a residence. We have three children and I know if I file a joint return with his ITIN number, we get no EIC. Can I file head of household with two children because I am the sole provider in the home? In addition, can he file a separate return with the other child? Additionally, where there be immigration issues if I decide to go that route?

  208. Admin Roberg on Sat, 14th Apr 2012 12:51 am
  209. Hi Rosalinda,
    If you live with your husband, you cannot file as head of household–you can only do that if you are living apart for the last six months of the year. You should file married filing jointly. You will not get EIC because he has an ITIN.
    But–and this is important–if your husband becomes a legal immigrant and gets a social security number, you can later amend your returns using his social security number and claim the EIC.
    I’m not an attorney so I can’t tell you if you would have trouble with immigration if you falsified your tax return–but common sense tells me that if you’re trying to get your husband legal status–it would be unwise to file a fraudulent tax return.
    I really think the smart thing for you to do is file your tax return honestly.

  210. efe on Sun, 15th Apr 2012 1:30 am
  211. hi i claimed 2 dependents on my return that were not eligible,i mean they are related to me but did not live with me in 2011,i did claim they did live with me last yr for 7 minths.i just got a letter from the irs saying i was been audieted and i need to send documents supporting eic and dependency,what do i do

  212. Admin Roberg on Tue, 17th Apr 2012 1:51 am
  213. Hey efe,
    My best advice–fess up. Amend your return, take those kids off, pay the bill and be done with it.

  214. Stephanie on Sat, 21st Apr 2012 6:48 pm
  215. What kind of trouble will you get into if you have been claiming single instead of married for ten years? If you make every attempt to make it right before they catch you will they still put you in jail? Will they still let you make payments on large amounts?

  216. john on Mon, 23rd Apr 2012 1:35 am
  217. Hello i have a very important question. I filed my taxes and claimed my daughter and my fiances newphew which i was living with for 9 months in 2011. I also claimed head of household. It says i am being audited for all 3. I live with my fiance and my daughter but i am not on the lease my daughter is 10 months old. All the bills are in my fiances name but i do pay them all but i have no proof is there anything i can do. Also when i lived with my fiance and her aunt for 9 months i paid over half of the income for her nephew but i also have no proof that i did. I am not on the lease where i live now and i have no reciepts or other documents showing i live there or pay for her income other than my mail being sent there i have no documents but she is my daughter and i pay for all of her things because my fiance doesnt have a job. What is going to happen if i cannot prove this? Or can you tell me how i could prove this maybe getting noterized documents to send to the irs? please help me i dont want to go to jail as i dont believe i did anything wrong i just dont have documentation ……

  218. Joe A. on Mon, 23rd Apr 2012 7:17 pm
  219. Hi, I filed my return right before the deadline expired. I had a new baby girl with my girlfriend in 2011 and we also have a 10 year old son that is from another relationship of hers. His mom and I are not married yet and I raise him as my son and take care of him, but on his birth certificate I am not listed as the father. I have not filed taxes for at least the last 3 years due to not being employeed and didn’t realize the laws had changed for the EIC. I see from all your other posts that you recommend to file an ammended return immediately. I e-filed on H&R Block and it showed my return was accepted, however when I checked later to try and find out the date I would receive the direct deposit I noticed that now the status is being reviewed and that I would receive a notice requesting additional information from the IRS. I now know that I should have listed him as other regardless of the fact that I am his only father, but wondered what you would suggest about filing an ammended return? Should I wait and see what the IRS sends to me and fill it out with my new found knowledge and errors or see a tax professional now and send in an ammended return as opposed to waiting for the letter. From other reading it seems like it takes several weeks to receive the paper work and could delay the refund several months. Any advice you could give will be greatly appreciated.


    Joe A.

  220. Lisa on Mon, 23rd Apr 2012 11:57 pm
  221. H its Me again , ( Wed, 14th Mar 2012 ) Everything has turned out good so far but for my mistake i have to pay a penalty of 1696.80 . and an interest of 13.80, the question that i have now is how can i write a penalty relief letter? the lady i spoke with about my amended return from the IRS, told me that i can write a penalty relief letter saying something that i did my taxes on my own computer with the software and that i typed in the numbers and that i didn’t know that i was actually sending it yet, and that when i realized it was too late?? and that they might consider my letter, for taking off the penalty and only paying the interest?? is that true? and if ye how would i write it??

  222. Admin Roberg on Wed, 25th Apr 2012 2:13 am
  223. Hey Stephanie,
    Claiming single instead of married is bad–but might not be that bad. If you claimed head of household–well that could be a problem if you lived together–but not if you lived apart.
    I’m guessing you found out you should have been filing as married and it turns out badly for you. The big question is–did you discover your mistake or did the IRS discover the mistake first?
    If you discovered the mistake–and you fix it before they do–well then you’re covered. If they’re coming at you–that’s not so good. (I’m pretty doubtful about jail–unless you’re a rap artist or movie star, that’s pretty rare.)
    But before you go filing new tax returns–I’d go see a professional to see just how bad the problem is. (It might not be nearly so bad as you think.)
    One thing–if you do owe a lot of money–you can still make a payment arrangement with the IRS for up to $50,000 of tax debt. I really hope you don’t owe that much. If you do, there are still things you can do, but I’m hoping you don’t owe that much.
    You mentioned 10 years of returns–generally, the IRS closes the books on returns that are over 7 years old. (Unless there’s serious underreporting–or you never reported-then they can keep your file open for as long as they like.) Also, if you filed as single–you could possibly switch to “married filing separate” which is not as good as single, but not too much worse. So this might not be so bad for you.
    I hope that helps ease your mind a little though.

  224. Admin Roberg on Wed, 25th Apr 2012 2:39 am
  225. Hi John,
    I don’t believe you’re going to jail, but you are going to owe some money. First, you cannot claim your fiance’s nephew at all. Done deal.

    Now, about your daughter. Is your fiance’ the daughter’s mother? Because if she is, and she claimed your daughter, the best thing for you two to do is to figure out your tax situation together and file what’s best for the two of you.

    You see, my first question here is: who claimed those kids? The nephew is easy–you can’t claim him at all–either it was your fiance’ or the child’s birth parents. But your daughter? Who would claim your daughter besides you? The only realistic answer is the mother. If the mother is your fiance’ and you two are living together–then you two need to get your act together. (I recommend sorting out money issues before you get married!)

    I think the best way to resolve your problem is you both go to your local tax office and amend your returns. You’re getting married–you’re a team. Work it out so that you two do what’s best for the four of you as a family. Once you do that–then the other issues go away. (But you can’t claim the nephew under any circumstances.)

  226. Admin Roberg on Wed, 25th Apr 2012 2:45 am
  227. Hi Joe,
    Congratulations on your new daughter! I would file the amended return immediately and either remove your son (he is your son for all intents and purposes except for the IRS) or reduce his status to only claiming the exemption.
    But here’s my issue: what kicked the return out? Who claimed him? Is there a dad out there somewhere? If the boy lives with you, and you’re the only father he knows–where’s the other claim coming from? You might want to do a little digging. You can’t claim EIC–but it sounds to me like you have a legitimate claim to the exemption–unless there is a divorce decree or something giving the exemption to the ex. You should check into that first. But then I’d go ahead an amend your return, it’s the right thing to do.

  228. Admin Roberg on Wed, 25th Apr 2012 2:58 am
  229. Hi Lisa,
    First, before you write the penalty abatement letter–try calling and asking for a penalty abatement. If this is the first time you’ve ever gotten an IRS penalty, you can often get a “first offense” abatement over the phone. It doesn’t always work, but it’s worth a try.
    If that fails, then write the letter. Explain what happened and how it was an accident. I’d call first though because it’s so much easier and faster over the phone if they will agree to it. The first agent probably didn’t offer it because you didn’t ask (I know, you didn’t know to ask–it’s kind of like a game.) Good luck.

  230. KATRINA on Mon, 30th Apr 2012 12:41 pm
  231. Hello, i just have a few questions and concerns, this tax season was my first year that ive ever done taxes and i done them myself online without knowing a single thing but by following the guidelines provided. I have my own place and my wifes sister lives with us and my twin brother, his girlfriend and her son live in my home. im the only income out of 5 adults and 4 kids in my home 3 not being mine, i claimed my wifes sisters daughter, my son, and my brothers girlfriends son. i just reently reieved a letter from the IRS stating i was being audited. this is a scary sitution. they want me to provide docunents, and honestly i just read up on EIC andclaiming a dependent i didnt know anything about it, needless to say the only documents i have for my brothers girlfriends son in a shool letter that i can have them type up. i havwe no copy of birth certificates or ss cardd and i claimed him as my nephew, since ive already recieved a notice in the mail by the IRS should i file an admend return on my taxes and mail in the other documents provided or should i mail in whaT i have now and wait for a reply from the IRS.

  232. Admin Roberg on Thu, 3rd May 2012 2:17 am
  233. Hi Katrina,
    I’ve got a math issue here that’s not working. You say there are 4 kids in the house and you claimed 3. Why not 4? So that’s the biggie right there.
    But–here’s the other one, Katrina–you mention your wife’s sister. I’m guessing that your wife is writing the post for you, so that’s how I’m writing my response–that you’re a heterosexual couple. If you’re a gay couple, the answer will be different (because the IRS doesn’t acknowledge gay marriage.)

    Okay–first and most important–you cannot claim your brother’s girlfriend’s son as your nephew. No EIC for him. If he lived with you for the entire year–it’s possible that you might be able to claim him as a dependent–but I’d bet you a nickel (okay, I’d bet a whole lot more than that) the it’s that particular child that’s messing up your return. Your best bet is probably to amend your return and take him off.

    You should be find claiming your own son. And you are also fine claiming your sister’s daughter (as long as your sister is not claiming her). Since you are the only income earner in the household–income issues should not be a factor.

    Since you can’t possibly claim the girlsfriend’s nephew–I’d amend the return right away. Pay back the money, and I’d suspect that all the other nonsense will go away. That said, it’s possible that someone’s ex has tried claiming the other kids so you may need to be getting ducks in a row. Does your letter specifically mention the other two children as requiring documentation? I’m assuming that you’ve got access to those records so I wouldn’t be too worried about that. I’m guessing that thoses kids lived with you for at least 6 months of the year. If so, you should be good in that regards.

    If those children haven’t lived with you for more than 6 months of the year, then you’re going to have trouble with that. Here are the IRS rules about qualifying children for EIC: http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=218779,00.html

    That’s a good resource for anyone thinking about claiming a child for EIC on their tax return. Good luck.

  234. Mila on Thu, 17th May 2012 1:40 am
  235. I have a question… My brother’s ex girlfriend filed taxes without his knowledge using his ssn and got a large return, and told him after the fact. He is not sure what the next step will be. Do you have any advice that I can give him? Should he inform the police even through he doesn’t have any documentation that she has done this? Thank you in advance for any help that you can give.

  236. Admin Roberg on Fri, 18th May 2012 1:23 am
  237. Hi Mila,
    Your brother is a victim of identity theft. While I doubt that the police will do anything–it’s probably a good idea to report it anyway just so that he’s got some documentation of reporting the crime.
    Now, what he has to do is report it to the IRS. He’s going to want to fill out the identity theft affidavit: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f14039.pdf
    I’m going to be completely honest with you–the IRS identity theft division has had some problems and is not the “be all end all” solution that you might want it to be. But right now, it’s all you’ve got to work with.
    Now here’s another potential issue–his ex girlfriend got $8000 using his identity–it’s quite possible that the other parts of the return are also fraud–and your brother could be charged with the fraud. So it’s really important that he report the fraud to the IRS before the IRS sends him a nasty letter accusing him of fraud.
    Your brother’s advantage is that he knows who did this to him. That’s half the battle. Please have him report the fraud to the IRS though. It’s really important that he protect himself in this.

  238. CAROLINA on Fri, 18th May 2012 1:09 pm
  239. Hello,
    I just received a letter from the IRS stating that I owe $3900 and I only received $2700 which was the partial amount of what I was suppose to get back. The form explained that I claimed my niece and nephew and they are actually my cousins.The tax preparer had asked me if I was my aunts niece and I had said yes, therefore I assumed she had put them as dependents but I searched for my tax packet and she put them as my niece and nephew and my aunt as my sister!! I filed my taxes at H&R Block and I am very worried/scared. This is my second year doing taxes. I will be going in to talk to the tax preparer. But I am scared, I dont have that kind of money. What could happen to me? I didint do anything wrong but I should have looked over my paperwork!! Any advice! I appreciate it thank you!

  240. CAROLINA on Fri, 18th May 2012 1:27 pm
  241. i forgot to mention, I did live the whole year at my aunts house and paid half of the rent and bills while I found a place of my own. But everything was in her name, therfore I have nothing in my name.Therefore she asked me to put them as dependents or claiming them. I had the landlord write a letter stating that I paid half the rent along with my aunt, she received childsupport. I asked my job to write me a letter that proved my address throughout the year at my aunts house. & I had my cousins get a letter from their school stating their address for the year 2011. I mailed it all into the IRS My aunt is willing to help to get me out of this situation. But I am curious as to what could happen to me. Could the taxpreparer explain that it was her fault well as well as mine for not rereading the paperwork.
    What If I just wanted to not claim them anymore:/ and just do myself? Which will probably be a big process to go through but Whatever it takes for me not to get in trouble.

  242. Admin Roberg on Sun, 20th May 2012 1:37 am
  243. Hi Carolina,
    The bottom line here is that you claimed your cousins as your niece and nephew and you took an earned income credit and you can’t do that. You know that now of course, but that’s a big NO! I’m surprised that H&R Block would have made a mistake like that. Not to doubt you, because they can make mistakes too, it’s just that as a company, they’re pretty by the book about EIC due diligence rules. Here’s the thing–if H&R Block did your return, they had to do the due diligence paperwork and it got sent in with your tax return. You should have been asked a lot of questions. Here’s a copy of the form: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8867.pdf

    I’m prettty sure that your tax preparer will not tell the IRS that she made a mistake on this one. If a preparer screws up on this, the penalty is $500. In my office, I have my EIC clients read the printed out statement and they sign it too–for my protection. I’m guessing that Block has some sort of policy in place to protect their preparers as well.

    Also, the law is just not with you on this. In the end, you are resonsible for everything that your tax return says. When you signed the return, if you didn’t look and notice that your cousins were listed as a neice and nephew–well the law puts the fault on you.

    I’m sorry, I’m sounding so harsh, it’s just that’s the way it is.

    Now, this is what you do. Don’t worry about your job writing a letter to prove where you live–that’s all irrelevant. Your gut reaction to just take the kids off your tax return is the right one. And you should have H&R Block do that for you. If you can persuade the district manager that the preparer made a mistake, they’ll do it for free and maybe pay the penalties if you can prove the preparer made a mistake. (The won’t pay the tax, even if you bought one of those Peace of Mind agreements–the POA things never cover EIC.)

    You’re going to have to pay the tax. You don’t have the money, but it’s a small enough amount that they’ll be willing to work out a payment agreement. You can probably do that yourself with them over the phone.

    Now one fair warning: it sounds like you made an honest mistake and didn’t realize what you were doing. But you’re going to be treated like a criminal–it’s one of the most common EIC fraud scams–claiming a kid as a neice or nephew when you can’t. So people at the IRS and even H&R Block might not be as “friendly?” as you might expect when you call them about this. They’ve both heard this story about a thousand times and the people were lying–so be prepared for a little attitude. You’re almost better off just saying, “I claimed my cousins and neices and shouldn’t have so now I need to amend my return.” You’ll save yourself a whole lot of time.

  244. CAROLINA on Mon, 21st May 2012 1:37 pm
  245. Thank you for your honest response!
    You are correct I have been talking to the IRS about it and they told me to go back to my tax preparer and see how they can fix or help the situation. I always confuse the meaning of nieces and nephew with cousins! I remember I told the Tax preparer it was my dad’s sister so that she could correct me if I was wrong but now that I relook at the tax forms I received, She put my dad’s sister down as my sister! Therefore put them down as my niece and nephew and I feel like it’s my fault for not paying attention before I signed the paperwork. I have an appointment to talk to the woman who prepared my tax forms Wednesday since the office is only open Wednesdays. My aunt said she willing to help me get out of this but I just don’t want to deal with it. I feel like a criminal when I’m not. I still don’t understand why I would have to pay $3900 when I only received $2700? And I was supposed to receive $7700 there was still $5000 frozen? If I Amend my return to take my cousins off, will I still have to pay that whole amount they want or will it at least go down? I really don’t want any more money just want to settle this and be done. I appreciate you being honest with me. I’m going probably hear this again when I talk to H&R Block when I tell them! It makes me nervous since im such a shy person but i’ also an honest person. Thank you very much for your help!

  246. Jan Roberg on Mon, 21st May 2012 2:33 pm
  247. Hey Carolina,
    Hold you head up and just do what has to be done. Don’t let fear or embarrassment get the best of you. You’re a good person, you just made a mistake, that’s all.

    About the money–why you owe them more than you received. There are a couple of possibilities–but most likely you’re getting hit with penalties for late payment of taxes. Also, it’s possible that you could have owed originally when you filed with the kids so there’s always that as well. But my best guess is that they hitting you with late payment penalties.

    When you go to Block and have them amend your return, see what you really owe before the penalties are added in. If you can scrape up that much money, then try calling the IRS as requesting a “penalty abatement”. Your argument is that 1. it was an honest mistake, and 2. you’ve never had a problem on your taxes before (I’m assuming you haven’t) and since it was the first (and will be the only) time it’s ever happened, you’re requesting an abatement of the penalty. The IRS might say no, but if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

    If you can’t pay up what you owe, set up a monthly payment agreement and never be late or miss a payment. When you’re close to paying off the debt–then call and ask for the penalty abatement. You don’t want to ask at the beginning because then they can hit you with more penalties while you’re paying so wait until you’re almost done.

    Good luck.

  248. Leena on Thu, 24th May 2012 1:38 am
  249. Hello, I got a few questions. My boyfriend pays child support for his kids and his ex’s boyfriend filed EIC for them. she claims it’s legal cause they all live together. Is this true? My boyfriend also has kids with someone else and that ex’s brother claimed the kids for EIC. They live in a 2 family house. The brother lives on the 1st floor and she lives on the 2nd floor. He does not support the kids. Can he legally claim any tax refund on those kids? What should my boyfriend do? Any help or info is appreciated…. Thanks

  250. Admin Roberg on Thu, 24th May 2012 7:11 pm
  251. Hi Leena,
    You need to read this: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2012/01/can-my-boyfriend-claim-my-child-by-a-different-father-on-his-tax-return-for-the-earned-income-credit/
    It is not legal for the ex’s boyfriend to claim those kids for EIC.

    It’s going to be a little harder to prove the case about the brother, although if he’s not supporting those kids he shouldn’t be claiming EIC either.

    That said, your boyfriend, since he doesn’t live with the kids cannot claim EIC. Depending upon his divorce decree or separation agreement–if he’s got one, he may be able to claim the exemption on his children. But there are lots of rules about that too. This might help you: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2012/01/court-ordered-exemptions-and-the-irs/

    The best way to fight this is if your boyfriend is allowed to file for an exemption for those children, because that will cause an audit and those guys who can’t claim them will lose. If your boyfriend is not allowed to claim the kids, he can file a fraud report. Here’s a link to that form: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f3949a.pdf

    The catch is, because of confidentiality laws, he’ll never know what the IRS does about it or if those guys ever get caught. (Unless of course one of his ex’s calls him up and yells at him for reporting it.) Good luck.

  252. Steffanie on Thu, 31st May 2012 8:40 pm
  253. Hello, what happens if you have reason to believe a relative might have claimed your children for EIC but not sure for what year(s) or which children?
    Ex: I lived w/my mother 4 yrs. ago or so @ that time she was legally able for EIC we lived there almost a year & I knew. I have not been employed for 5 yrs. & homeless twice, this person I’m suspecting does in-home service for my grandmother. However recent conversations & activities by this person has my attention that she may have filed behind my back thinking I would not suspect or think she would do this?
    Most importantly I have 4 children under 18 yrs. & receive medical & food from Human Services Agency & I don’t want anything to jeopardize my standing with them nor with IRS, for a FEDERAL charge is serious & I know that convincing my innocence may not be easy since she is related. Non the less IT IS FRAUD & NOT RIGHT regardless & money (if she received) she was not entitled to, money IRS could have kept?!
    Sorry for this, I appreciate your time reading this & hope to hear from you soon.
    Sincerely, Steffanie

  254. Admin Roberg on Tue, 5th Jun 2012 2:24 am
  255. Hi Steffanie,
    It’s hard when you suspect something but you’re not sure. But you don’t want this to come back and hurt you–and this is really important because it could. The whole identity theft thing is scary.
    I’m guessing you don’t file a tax return at all because you’re currently not working and not required to file and wouldn’t get anything back even if you did. That makes you a good target for identity theft because someone knows you’re not filing.
    But your problem is–what happens if your kids show up on someone else’s tax return while you’re receiving state benefits? There’s a lot of sharing between agencies these days and you don’t want to get cut off. (Especially if that’s your only source of income right now.)
    I would talk to your social worker first–lay it out there like you did in the post. “I think someone my have stolen my kids’ identities for tax fraud. I can’t prove it–but I suspect it. Is there anything I should do?” That gives them a heads up in case tax documents do show up.
    Now, if the person stole your identity–there’s a whole set of procedures–but there’s nothing right now if your kids IDs are stolen. You could file a “no income” return. Basically, you file showing no income and put your kids down as dependents. All of them. This just lets the IRS know that there are children that should be associated with your name.
    Now, you can do this online. You can do it free at http://www.irs.gov. The thing is–if someone claimed any of your children, your tax return will get rejected–and bingo, you’ll know. From there, you can decide how to handle it. You can paper file your return–just letting the IRS know who the kids belong to.
    Remember–you don’t know for sure if your relative did anything–you just suspect. You don’t have to confront her or say anything. Just let the IRS do their thing.

  256. Teresa on Sun, 10th Jun 2012 2:55 pm
  257. I am having IRS trouble. My step father claimed my kids and the EIC. We moved in with him in March to help with my mother. She passed away in June and we stayed with him until Feb. of this year. I did not work, and the father is not in the picture. He has claimed them before when we lived with him but they denied it this time and we have to have proof. However, I did not change address with the school or Doctor. I did not plan to stay there forever. The school knew we were there and so did the nurse at the Doc office but nothing official. How can I do this. He really needed this credit to try and compensate for what he spent while we were with him……

  258. Admin Roberg on Sun, 10th Jun 2012 6:30 pm
  259. Hey Teresa,
    I’m sorry about your mom.
    About your taxes, here’s the most important thing to remember. Your step father didn’t commit fraud or do anything wrong at all. As you step father–he is your kids’ grand father and has a legal right to claim them when they live with him. So–under the law–you’re good.

    What your problem is is the proof. Since both the school and the nurse knew about your situation–ask them to write a letter on the scholl or doctor’s letter head explaining that you did live with your stepfather from the dates you mentioned. The school let the kids stay there because your family was undergoing a hardship. That’s not that unusual.

    Hopefully that should take care of it. Good luck.

  260. Lashea on Tue, 19th Jun 2012 7:16 pm
  261. Hi, My question is. What happens if the Irs completes an audit and does not allow any of the tax payers expenses and the tax payer agrees with the changes and accepts the tax debt, but does not sign an affidavit against the tax preparer because it was not the preparers fault, and the irs agent still calls the tax preparer in the office to bring all the files? What is the reason and what will happen if the tax preparer does not go to the irs office since the agreement was signed and the tax payer has accepted the offer? I hope I made sense. Just trying to figure out what is the reason or agenda the irs agent has for the tax preparer? please advise!

  262. Admin Roberg on Tue, 19th Jun 2012 9:31 pm
  263. Hi Lashea,
    That’s a good question. I’m not sure, but you asked this on an EIC page, and that makes me think that the IRS may want to talk to the preparer about due diligence. Realize that I’m just guessing here, but that’s the first thing that comes to mind.
    So let’s say a taxpayer gets audited, loses the audit and agrees to pay the charges. You’d think that would be a done deal. But the situation you mention makes it sound like the IRS isn’t satisfied. They may be thinking that the preparer should have asked some more questions before filing a faulty return.
    I’m not sure if you mean the preparer must bring all of her clients files or just all of the taxpayers files. I would think the IRS would go to the preparer’s office if they were checking out all of the EIC returns for due diligence. But the the taxpayer’s case is closed, why would they have the preparer bring all of the taxpayers files into the IRS office? That would imply “case closed and over.”
    You’ve got me stumped there. I would have the tax preparer call the IRS agent and ask, “What exactly do you want? What exactly are you looking for so that I might best be prepared for this meeting?” Those aren’t unreasonable questions. Especially if you don’t know if the meeting is about the taxpayer or the tax preparer.
    I would not just skip a meeting that the IRS invited me to. Seems to me that would be inviting trouble. In the mean time–I’d be checking to make sure that I’ve got all my 8867 forms signed and on file–I could be wrong, but I just have a feeling it’s a due diligence kind of thing, not being familiar with the case.
    Sorry I don’t have a better answer for you.

  264. lashea on Wed, 20th Jun 2012 1:34 am
  265. Thanks for your input. I was thinking the same thing but just wanteda 2nd opinion before I gave that same advice.

  266. cristina on Sun, 8th Jul 2012 11:32 pm
  267. i know somebody who was doing his taxes for a period between 2 to 15 years claiming children that never existed getting ss numbers from other kids and claiming them as his, and used to received between 5 to 7 thousand for refunds. could he be in trouble if i report him i know his info, ss# address the time he did this his address etc.

  268. Admin Roberg on Mon, 9th Jul 2012 8:42 pm
  269. Hi Christina,
    If you want to report someone for tax fraud, read this post: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2010/11/how-to-report-tax-fraud/
    That gives you the instructions.

    There are two really important things to know about reporting tax fraud:
    1. You will never know what happens. Because of the confidentiality issue, the IRS will never tell you what happened to your report. Unless this guy is kind of famous–it won’t make it to the newspapers or anything.

    2. The other important thing to ask is–did you ever benefit from the tax fraud? I’m assuming the answer is no, but if I didn’t warn you about that and you were reporting an ex-boyfriend or something who had at one time spent the fraud money on you–well then you’re an accessory so you’d really want to think twice about it before reporting.

    Now to be honest, the IRS would love to get its hands on someone who’s been claiming fake kids for several years so if you can nail him, do it. It’s just you’ll never get the satisfaction of knowing you got him. I just thought you should know.

  270. Angela on Fri, 13th Jul 2012 12:06 pm
  271. Hello. I have a question. Not exactly a tax credit question. I am a single mom with 5 boys at home. I work from home and make very little income. The bulk of my income has been child support. When I do my taxes, I claim ALL the money I have made for the year. Including child support since this is our means of living. We also get food stamps.

    Last year i found out I was under investigation for food stamp fraud because on my tax return I have listed a much higher amount than what I report to them. I explained to them why that amount is different but they are saying that I committed food stamp fraud and we have trial coming up on Monday. They are charging me with 7 felon count (1 for each time I had a review and they say I did not not report income). They say I owe them over $13,000.

    I have an attorney but I cannot even afford to pay him the money I owe him so far. This year, I did do my tax return and i only claimed my actual income and not my child support. I have never lied to anyone in order to gain food stamps. i have been completey honest with them and showed them proff of all my earnings. My mistake was claiming child support in my total income amount on my tax returns.

    Now I am facing jail time unless i take a plea. I do not want to take a plea because I did not commit food stamp fraud. Also, I will have to plea guilty to felon charges and I will be a felon from that point on.. i will also be on probation for 10 years in which I cannot even afford to pay the $40/month for probation, and most important, what kind of example am I to my children if their mom is a felon on probation?

    But if I do not take a plea, the DA has made it clear he will ask I go to jail in which then I will face losing my children…..

    All this because I filed my taxes wrong?

  272. amy on Fri, 13th Jul 2012 2:16 pm
  273. if u owe taxes an ur in payment plan will ur taxes be taken for the following years till the debt is paid an if they will be can they take what taxes u will get for ur children or will they just take what is the part for the person oweing the tax debt ???

  274. Admin Roberg on Mon, 16th Jul 2012 10:08 pm
  275. Hi Angela,
    Wow. That’s pretty amazing. I’m sorry. My gut reaction is that you should just amend your tax returns and take your child support off. But I’m guessing that there’s more to the story than that. Am I right?
    Is it possible that by claiming your child support as income that you qualified for an Earned Income Credit? So maybe you weren’t scamming for food stamps but you were scamming the IRS? I apologize if I’m wrong about that, but if that’s not the case, then why don’t you just amend your tax returns?
    I realize that I’m getting back to you too late, sorry. I hope your trial went well for you. It’s hard making ends meet and feeding 5 boys isn’t easy. (I’ve only got one–I’m amazed at how much he can eat.)
    But you tell an important story, the IRS and the local social service agencies do share information–so it’s important to make sure that your tax return reflects what’s in your food stamp/welfare/section 8 or whatever files.
    Thanks for sharing.

  276. Admin Roberg on Mon, 16th Jul 2012 10:10 pm
  277. @Amy,
    Yes the IRS will take your refund as long as you owe money. If your husband owed the money from before you were married, you might be able to file something called an “injured spouse” form, and you might get to keep some of your refund. If you were already married when the debt came up, then that won’t help you.

  278. amy on Thu, 19th Jul 2012 1:43 pm
  279. so they can take my earned income credit thats for child too???

  280. Admin Roberg on Thu, 19th Jul 2012 2:37 pm
  281. Yes Amy,
    They can take your refund that would be for your kid’s EIC for your old tax debt. Sorry.

  282. Cheryl on Sat, 21st Jul 2012 8:55 am
  283. My situation is like Efe who posted on 4/15/12… I just recieved the audit letter for eic, head of household and dependent.. Can i ammend my taxes still even though i got the audit letter asking me to provide documentation w/n 30 days? I also claimed my same nephews in 2010, the audit is for 2011, please any help is appreciated.

  284. Admin Roberg on Sat, 21st Jul 2012 11:03 am
  285. Hi Cheryl,
    Yes, I would amend. Make sure you do it within the 30 days. They’re asking you to provide the documentation your nephews lived with you–well if they didn’t then you don’t have the documentation so—-amending makes the most sense.

    You also asked about your 2010 tax return–so the question is, could you claim the boys legally that year? It seems like no one has questioned that, so maybe your circumstances were different. If you really were not legally able to claim the boys, then you really should amend that return as well. Yes, it will cost you, but by fixing it now it will reduce your penalties and interest. Of course, if you were legally allowed to claim the boys and there’s no one who is challenging it–then you won’t need to.

  286. Cheryl on Sat, 21st Jul 2012 11:09 am
  287. Thank you for your quick response, i really appreciate it. I filed online through H&R Block, how do i go about amending the tax form? Do i need to let the IRS know I’ve amended when responding to their letter?

  288. Admin Roberg on Sat, 21st Jul 2012 11:50 am
  289. Hi Cheryl,
    To amend, you want to use form 1040X. You should be able to do it online, but I know that sometimes people have trouble with that. If you call the H&R Block 800 number, they should be able to walk you through it.
    Generally–you’ll go to the 1040X form and click “auto fill” that will get you started. Remember, you’ll have to amend your state return also. Make sure you print out your original before you start so that you’ve got it.
    Usually with the 1040X you’ll have to manually enter that you’ve removed the dependents–but I’m not familiar with the Block online form–it may be automatic when you delete the boys so just look at the form to make sure it shows up.
    After you’ve done your “prefill” you’ll go back and remove your nephews as dependents on the tax return. The program should automatically fill in the correct numbers.
    In the explanation box you will say: original return included 2 dependents that have been removed, affecting EIC, child tax credit, exemptions, and head of household status.
    You will have to print the return and mail it in. You can’t efile an amended return.
    If you still have dependents–then you’re still head of household. Send with the 1040X the corrected 1040, and–if you have them, a new EIC schedule, child tax credit worksheet, etc. If the nephews are the only kids you’ve claimed, you won’t have any of those schedules to attach.
    Do tell the IRS that you are amending the return when you respond to the letter. Good luck.
    (And don’t be afraid to ask Block for help when you’re filling out the X. It’s their program, you paid for the service, they’re supposed to help you.)

  290. Cheryl on Sat, 21st Jul 2012 12:06 pm
  291. Thank yoy so much for your help!

  292. upset on Wed, 1st Aug 2012 9:34 am
  293. My ex boyfriend claimed my grandchildren on his taxes, including the EIC credit. I was unsure that he could, but he said since we lived together and he helped support them, he could do it. I have claimed them for the last two years because I had temporary custody. He filed online and had the check deposited into my account since he did not have one. (He also said since the IRS did not reject his return that this meant that his tax return was legit.) We broke up a couple of months ago and he just informed me that he is being audited due to the EIC and was told that he had to pay back the refund. He is saying that I am also responsible for this, even tho my name was not on the tax return. I filed my own. I have not been contacted by the IRS. My question is am I responsible? Can I get in trouble also? In hindsight, I realized how ignorant I was about accepting his explanation. I am very worried and would like to know how to handle this situation. Thank you!

  294. Admin Roberg on Wed, 1st Aug 2012 8:38 pm
  295. Hi Upset,
    I can see how you’d be upset about the situation. You realize that your ex couldn’t claim those kids and now he want’s you to suffer for it.
    This biggest danger for you is–is your ex’s name on your bank account? I’m guessing not, but if it is–then you’ve got a problem because the IRS can levy your bank account to get the back tax money he owes. So your first item of business is to take him off of your bank account if he’s on there.
    So other than that–although technically you could be called out on this–your name is not on his tax return. What many people don’t realize is that your tax return is a legal document–when you sign the tax return, you’re basically saying that what you are reporting on the tax return is true–under penalty of perjury. You didn’t sign that return–he did. He, knowingly signed the tax return, claiming children that he should not have claimed–not you.
    The fact the the money went into your bank account is a bit of a problem–“No, no, bad girl! Don’t do that again!”
    That said–and I’m not making this up–the IRS agent I spoke with laughed–seriously she laughed, about what an idiot he was to have his tax refund deposited into you bank account. You see, from her side, she sees that all the time–and then the girlfriend steals the money and there’s nothing the IRS can do about it.
    Now, the way I’m reading this–you didn’t steal the money–you gave it back–but the point is, the IRS isn’t even going after the girlfriends that steal the money so you’re not going to be on their radar.
    Now you’re not on the IRS radar–but I suppose he may try to use some local legal thing–but the bottom line is he can’t prove anything.
    I think you dodged a bullet on this one. But do be careful in the future. Having something like this happen once–you’ve got credibility on your side. If something like that were to happen again–that would create suspicion and could land you in trouble.
    So, consider this a lesson learned, and now rest easy.

  296. upset on Thu, 2nd Aug 2012 9:24 am
  297. Thank you so very much! Yes, it was a very BIG lesson to me! Of course, he denying everything and putting the blame on me, BUT NOW I CAN REST EASY!!! Thank you again!

  298. Tracy on Sat, 4th Aug 2012 7:31 pm
  299. I just got audit for 2010 taxes. I had a tax preparer who added things on there that I was not aware of. Never received a copy of my 2010 taxes until a few days ago. For example school credit for me, when I wasn’t in school. I did have a childcare business but tax preparer added extra money I received from parents. And I also seen amount of money the tax preparer paid themself, which was close to $500 and I remember I was told it was about $200. How should I go about this audit when I was not aware of information?

  300. Admin Roberg on Sun, 5th Aug 2012 8:24 pm
  301. Hi Tracy,
    I understand your problem–it’s happening all over America. There’s actually a linked in group for tax business owners and you problem has happened over and over again. I realize that doesn’t make you feel any better, but at least you know you’re not alone.

    First–let me give you the cold hard facts of your case. Warning–you’re not going to like this part. When you sign your tax return you’re saying that you have read the return and that you are responsible for the numbers on there. This is kind of hard, I know. I have clients all the time who say, “Oh Jan, I trust you.” But I really want them to read and understand what’s on there. Even an honest straight arrow type can make a mistake.

    Here’s the next possible problem: You paid somebody to parepare your return, but did that person even sign it? Does your tax return say “self-prepared”? The reason I ask that is becasue a lot of the crooked preparers out there don’t sign their returns or use PTIN numbers. That pretty much leaves you high and dry as far as accountability.

    So where do you go from here? Well first–in the unlikely event that you did happen to use a responsible accounting firm (you had a bad preparer, but maybe she worked for a reputable firm)–they should represent you for this IRS audit. I’m guessing that’s not going to happen, but I’m putting it out there just in case.

    Baring that–I’d pay for an enrolled agent. You can find one through this link: https://portal.naeacentral.org/webportal/buyersguide/professionalsearch.aspx

    Realize that you’re not going to get sympathy from the IRS for not knowing what was on your tax return. Be prepared for a little IRS attitude on that. Don’t let it get to you. (Being prepared is half the battle.)

    You’ll want to work with your EA to make sure that you do have all of your legal deductions and see how bad it is when you take out the things that shouldn’t be on our return. Your problem might not be as big as it seems once you have a real professional working for you.

    Good luck.

  302. Natalie on Thu, 16th Aug 2012 8:08 am
  303. Hi. My question is slightly different from everyone else’s. My ex has been claiming our childrens’ medical payments for the past 8 years and I just found out about them. Our divorce decree says that we both must pay half of the medical payments. I’ve been making the payments and sometimes he will pay me half, but most of the time, he finds an excuse not to pay. Then I found that since he works at the place I pay for the medication, (their insurance policy states I have to get it there), and they automatically put that i for a deduction for him when I pay. He was supposed to sign a form so they would not automatically do this and he never did. He claims that he thought he could deduct these medical payments because he was paying me half for them. I reminded him that he only pays me about 25% of the time. He refuses to file an amendment and he is continuing to deduct. My CPA told me that I have the right to deduct since I’ve technically been making the payment and I have the receipt. We have a child with lots of medical issues so there are thousands of dollars that he has been claiming and I don’t believe entitled to.

  304. Admin Roberg on Sat, 18th Aug 2012 3:15 pm
  305. Hi Natalie,
    Thanks for your question, it’s a good one and important. First, I’m sorry that you have to spend so much on your child’s medical expenses, I know first hand how stressful that is. Now, for the tax stuff.
    First–it is okay for a person to claim medical expenses for a child that is not claimed as a dependent on his tax return IF the person pays the expenses. The IRS allows that for families like yours where one parent has custody and the other is paying medical expenses.
    Anyway, in your case, you ex isn’t paying but you are. So, no–he shouldn’t claim them.
    Are you going to have a problem with this? No–because you’re claiming what you should. If there’s ever an issue–well it’s his problem now isn’t it?
    But here’s something to consider. In order for medical expenses to have any impact on your tax return, the expenses have to be over 7.5% of your adjusted gross income before anything can be deducted. And, if you don’t have other expenses like a mortgage real estate taxes, medical expenses don’t do you any good at all.
    So let’s assume that you and your ex both have enough deductions to make the medical expense issue worth fighting over. (I’m guessing that’s so, otherwise you wouldn’t be posting, right?)
    So let’s say you each make $50,000 a year. For your medical expenses to even start being counted, you’d have to spend over $3,750 to begin deducting medical expenses. So, if you’re splitting the costs, you’d have to spend over $7,500–anything less than that isn’t deductible.
    So- what might make the most sense for you two is to figure where that deduction is best taken. For example–let’s say that together you spent $8,000 on your daughter’s health. That would give you each a $250 deduction for heathcare on each of your tax returns. At the 25% tax bracket, that would be worth $62.50 apiece. I’m guessing you spend more than $8,000, but you see how splitting the deduction is not that valuable to either of you.
    But if you worked together and put all of the medical expenses on one person’s tax return–the full $8,000–well then you’d have $8,000 – $3,750 = $4,250. Now that’s a sizable deduction. Then, using the 25% tax bracket again, that would reduce someone’s taxes by over $1,000. So, if you were working together on this–that would give you another $1,000 to pay for your child’s heathcare. This is something worth thinking about. Of course, it only works if you’re both 100% in agreement. But doing something for the better life of your child makes a lot of sense to me.
    Now–back to your problem. He’s claiming expenses that you’ve also claimed and he’s not entitled to it. That’s bad. You can’t both claim the same expenses. If there’s an audit, you’ve got the receipts so you win. I wouldn’t lose sleep over it.
    But I do think that you’ll all be better off if you can work together on this instead of fighting over it. I know, easier said than done, but it’s worth a shot. Good luck.

  306. Sandy on Fri, 31st Aug 2012 11:24 pm
  307. To report a fraud of EIC, but how can I prove it? the mother claimed her daughter that never lived with her for years, on and off. Which her daughter has a criminal history and drug use and her mother refuses to let her stay at the mother house. the daughter been living at different appartments and receiving government money to pay the rent. So, what proof do I need to report a EIC fraud to the IRS that the mother claimed her daughter for YEARS? And worst her daughter ID is her mothers home address. Also, the mother owns 3 hours, one of those house supposedly is under her name “only, and reported it that she is separated from her husband and is untrue, second house was put as renting for the mentally disabled people which they collect government money, and the 3rd house is which both husband and the mother are living now. And the two houses is under both her name and her husband’s name, I can’t figure out what scam or fraud are they doing with the IRS when claiming properties or amount property taxes you pay or how much are they receiving from the IRS when filing taxes.

  308. Admin Roberg on Sat, 1st Sep 2012 1:33 pm
  309. Hi Sandy,
    You asked a pretty normal question. You know they’re doing something wrong, but you don’t have all the documentation. And that’s actually okay because if the IRS wants to prove fraud, they have to prove it themselves, they can’t get the documentation from you anyway.
    You will need a social security number though, and that you might not have. Here’s a link to a post I did about reporting on fraud: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2010/11/how-to-report-tax-fraud/
    That should give you more of the information you need.
    If you can’t report them, don’t feel bad. From what you’ve said, it sounds like they’ve criss-crossed enough government services that they’ll probably turn themselves in accidentally. They’re really slow at catching fraud, but once they do, the IRS tends to go after several years worth of returns.

  310. Mike James on Tue, 11th Sep 2012 3:43 pm
  311. Hi I have custody of my son but he doesn’t live with me.He only stays a weekends normally. He lives with my mother and my ex never sees him at all. Here’s the thing, I claimed my son the last two years on my taxes along with my daughter who lives with me. My mother and my ex have also been claiming him. Now I just got a letter on my door from the comptroller of public accounts saying they want to talk to me. I’m in Texas by the way. What should I do? Please help me. What’s going to happen

  312. Admin Roberg on Tue, 11th Sep 2012 4:10 pm
  313. Hi Mike,
    You accidentally said something really important. “I have custody of my son but he doesn’t live with me.” This is a huge problem, not just for you but for people like you. There’s a big difference between “custody” as in what your divorce or separation papers say, and “custody” as far as the IRS is concerned. That’s what got you into trouble.
    Here’s the thing: as far as the IRS is concerned, if your son doesn’t live with you then you don’t get to claim him for EIC. Your son lives with your mother so your mother has the legal right to claim him on her tax return and take all the tax benefits.
    I recommend that you say, “Oops, my bad.” And just pay back the extra refund you got for claiming him. (Yea, it’s going to cost you.) But this is why you should do it: your mom is the one with the real custody, she’s the one who deserves the tax credits. By you saying, oops, and backing your mom, at least one of you wins. Your ex has no proper claim at all.
    Next, I’d request an abatement of penalties on the grounds that you did not understand the rules concerning custody. You might not win that, but if you don’t ask, you won’t get it. (Abatement means to take off the penalty.)

    Now–about the Controller of Public Accounts–that’s a Texas tax agency. Texas doesn’t have a state income tax and they don’t do EIC–so the notice on your door isn’t about EIC. Are you self employed? I’m guessing the notice has something to do with that. Maybe sales and use tax. If you’re in trouble for EIC, that will be a letter from the IRS. (And it’s 11 to 22 pages long.)

    If a government agency puts a notice on your door, that’s serious. Either you owe them money or you owe them some paperwork. Often it’s both. The best thing to do is to call the number they gave you and get to the bottom of it right away. These are things not to be messed around with.

    You might need some representation. Here’s a link to find an EA in your area: https://portal.naeacentral.org/webportal/buyersguide/professionalsearch.aspx

    Just type in your zipcode and you should get a list of names of people who can help. You’ve heard the expression, “Don’t Mess with Texas.” More importantly, “Don’t Mess With the Texas Comptroller.” Call right away, find out the situation. If its something scary say, “I will need to hire representation.” And no matter what, use your best manners. (Trust me on that issue, all the please and thank you’s and yes Maam’s your mom taught you come in really handy.) Good luck.

  314. Laurie on Sun, 16th Sep 2012 10:16 am
  315. I just received a letter from the IRS stating that I’m being audited for the December 2011 tax year. I claimed my sisters 3 kids because I in fact DID take care of them. They did live with me for half the year but I can’t prove it. I didn’t switch their address with the school or any of that stuff because…well I just didn’t. I knew this was only going to be temporary and my sister isn’t a very reliable person, so if they needed to get switched back, it would have never gotten it done. So now the IRS is asking me for letters from the school/drs offices and receipts. I don’t have any of that stuff. I never figured I would get audited because I mean…I wasn’t lying about any of it. So my question is, what the heck should I do..? I don’t want to go to jail or have to pay tons and tons of money back to the IRS that I obviously don’t have..

  316. Admin Roberg on Sun, 16th Sep 2012 11:57 am
  317. Hi Laurie,
    I understand your problem, I’ve heard it a lot. Issue one: who else claimed those kids? That’s a big part of the problem–was it your sister? Or was it someone else?
    If it was not your sister, then she can work with you and bear witness to the fact that yes, you did indeed take care of her children for her. You didn’t change the school or address or anything because you wanted them to have some consistency in their lives. That all makes sense and is a plausible argument.
    Sadly, my guess is that you’re fighting your sister. If that’s the case, it’s going to be much more difficult for you. This is the problem that families with “unreliable” relatives face all the time.
    You don’t have school records, what do you have? Does your landlord have the kids on your lease? Did your minister see you bringing the kids to Sunday School? Do you have a neighbor that would watch the kids while you were working? Who went to the parent teacher conference while you were taking care of the kids? Could their teachers vouch for you?
    Basically, the school records are the biggie–but you don’t have that, so you’re going to need to use everything else you’ve got. It might not be much, but you fight with what you’ve got.
    If you’re fighting your sister’s claim, it’s highly likely that you’ll lose. But–you said she was very unreliable–so she might not put up a case at all–and you might still win. So you have to put up the fight. Gather whatever documents you can and get them in right away. The person who doesn’t respond automatically loses, so don’t just give up.
    If you do lose, request an abatement of penalties. It sounds to me like you’ve never had a tax problem before, and you’re likely to at least win the abatement and that will save you some money. Sorry I don’t have anything better for you.

  318. Abigail on Thu, 27th Sep 2012 3:19 am
  319. Hi. My husband & I did our taxes this last spring on TurboTax online, and we claimed his half-sister (child) as a dependent. She lives in Mexico but is a US citizen, & he sends her money to help support her. On the online form it asked whether she lived with us & even though we said “no”, we got the tax credit. but now, in September we just got a letter saying they made an error and we need to either fill out a form saying she lived with us for 6 months (which she has never lived with us) or we cant claim her. Also my husband claimed her for his school financial aid, they said it was fine that she didn’t live with us. Now he’s really stressed not only about the tax credit but losing his financial aid. What should we do?

  320. Admin Roberg on Fri, 28th Sep 2012 7:26 pm
  321. Hi Abigail,
    Gee, I think you’re on the wrong page here. You haven’t done anything wrong! At least that’s the way I read it. Forgive me, but I’m going get really technical–but I think that’s what you need.
    First, you are claiming your husband’s half-sister as a dependent–she is a “qualifying relative” she is not a “qualifying child”. This is an importnat difference. A qualifying relative gives you a dependency exemption and that’s it, not child tax credit or EIC. And I think that’s what you’ve done.
    Now, the technical stuff that you need is in IRS publication #17. Here’s a link: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p17.pdf
    The information you need is on page 34 and it’s in the first column. It’s in the section on child in Canada or Mexico.
    If that’s confusing, there’s an IRS interactive assistant that asks questions and when you answer them it tells you if you can claim a dependent or not. It’s probably a lot like the Turbo Tax questionaire. Here’s the link for that: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Who-Can-I-Claim-as-a-Dependent%3F
    So that should give you the ammunition you need to go up against the IRS. Good luck.

  322. Liz on Thu, 4th Oct 2012 11:45 pm
  323. This is regarding my tax return for 2011. I have an issue. I just received a Head Of Household audit letter from the IRS and I did some research about this and it turns out you can’t file HOH if you are married and living together. Both my husband and I prepared our taxes in the same place on the same day and advised the tax preparer that we are married and filing separately, issue number one is that in reviewing my tax return and my husband’s the tax preparer didn’t check the box “married filing separately”, issue number 2 I also noticed that the addresses for myself and my spouse are different (I’m assuming now due to research that she did this to show we didn’t live together?) and issue number 3 she put my filing status as HOH and I clearly recall her words “oh you have a child now, we can put you as head of household” being that I had my son on 09/30/2011, and in doint my research this information should be common knowledge for any tax preparer! I can’t believe this, what can I do? I already have a 14157 tax preparer complaint form but I’m so confused.

  324. Alberto on Fri, 5th Oct 2012 5:03 am
  325. Hi, Admin Roberg

    Thanks for helping us out with your advise…

    Here’s my situation:

    I’m being audited for Head of Houshold, EIC, American Opportunity Tax Credit. I claimed my niece (20 year old full-time college student) and her daughter my grand-niece.

    I sent proof of me being the HoH, my niece being a fulltime college student, birth certificates for me, my sister (my nieces mother), my niece and my grand-niece. The IRS responded I proved I was head of household, and that my niece was a fulltime student, that I supported them, and they lived with me…

    BUT they are disallowing EIC becase they couldn’t verify my relationship with the birth certificates I sent. I do not understand why not, my birth certificate and my sister’s name the same parents with the only exception being that my sister’s birth certificate has my mother’s middle name while mine does not they have the same father’s name and last name, there are no other issues with the other birth certificates.

    The letter also said that they were disallowing the AOTC unless I send a canceled check proving that I paid her tuition. I did pay her tuition but I paid her cash, at the time I couldn’t be at her college waiting a couple of hours in line to register her and pay her tuition personally I have to work. Besides Its been over a decade since I have used checks besides the AOTC law does not say anywhere I have to pay with check in order to get it. Do people even use checks anymore?

    I know I am 100% right morally and legally and I feel the IRS is trying to steal what is honestly mine. I’m just tired dealing with these… people for more than 6 months. Do they even go through the stuff taxpayers send them? I lose sleep over this I’m writing this at 4:00 AM therefore sorry for any typos, I’ve been reading tax laws all night.

    This audit has become a huge hardship on me since do I support my “nieces” and my elder mother.

    What should I do?

    Send them a later saying I disagree?
    Appeal? (already have the letter ready)
    Tax Court? (I’m willing to do DNA test along with my sister)

    Thank you for your help,

    Helpful info:
    My sister is also an unemployed fulltime college student and lives 2 hours away from us.
    Niece’s father abandoned her
    Grandniece’s father abandoned her

  326. Admin Roberg on Fri, 5th Oct 2012 8:51 pm
  327. Hi Liz,
    I’m sorry but it sounds like you had a bad preparer. Sounds like she was a little crooked to be honest. But here’s your real problem, as much as the IRS hates crooked preparers, the big issue here is the fact that you signed your tax return.
    Now, forgive me for sounding prissy, but this is what the IRS is thinking: if you knew that you should be married filing separately, why did you sign a return that said head of household? You’re supposed to read your return before you sign it. Why didn’t you check to make sure that your address was correct? Why didn’t you make sure your status was correct?
    See where I’m going? There are lousy preparers out there. Believe me, I understand your problem. But be prepared, you’re not going to get a whole lot of sympathy from the IRS–so be grateful for any breaks you get.
    So you are right–this should all be common knowledge for a tax preparer. I think you’re doing the right thing by filing a complaint. If the tax preparer works for a company, you might want to contact the manager or district office and report to them. Most of the big companies don’t want bad preparers–it costs too much to pay those fines.
    As far as you’re concerned, you’ll have to repay the tax difference. There will also be a penalty for underpayment of your tax and there will be interest too. The good thing is you wanted to file the right way and you’re willing to pay the tax you really owe so that’s okay.
    What I worry about is you getting hit with something called an underreporter penalty. This is where your complaint against your preparer might help. Mind you–it might not. You’ve got a tough case. Good luck.

  328. Admin Roberg on Fri, 5th Oct 2012 9:17 pm
  329. Hi Alberto,
    It sounds to me like you’re in the right. I don’t get why the birth certificates don’t prove your relationship. I also don’t understand why you can’t just get a receipt from the college. I confess, most people don’t pay in cash, they do use checks or credit cards, but here in Missouri, the college over the bridge is an old land grant college and you can still pay your tuition with pigs. (Really, I’m not making that up.)
    If I were you, I’d appeal. But I think you might want to get a professional to take a look–maybe see if there’s an easy solution–although I doubt it–it sounds like you’ve done a good job of getting your ducks in a row.
    Here’s a link to find an EA in your area: https://portal.naeacentral.org/webportal/buyersguide/professionalsearch.aspx
    I’d love to take your case, but I think you’ll want to work with someone local. Sometimes it just helps to have someone there that you can look in the eye and get your story across to.
    One thing to look at–did somebody else try to claim your niece and grand niece? That would be the question I’d ask if you were in my offce. What triggered the audit in the first place? Usually it’s someone else claiming the credit. So who?
    Good luck.

  330. Autumn on Fri, 5th Oct 2012 9:49 pm
  331. I am a tax preparer now and have one tax season under my belt. I learned it is illegal to be on my ex-boyfriend’s tax return. Conversation has recently brought up he filed taxes with me and my kids as dependents for some of the years. One of the children is legitimately his, but not the other. I had been letting my father claim me and my son before we lived with him and at the time and it had just been a discussion about who had made how much. The same happened with my ex for the years I didn’t have to file my own taxes ,but I didn’t know it was illegal to live together in my state and I had never been in trouble for it. I am concerned that being a tax preparer now will have them digging into my old taxes and I don’t want to be on illegal taxes. I am not sure what years between 2007 and 2010 were including my children and I as dependents and I want to correct the situation. This is difficult because this wasn’t my tax return and I was never required to sign anything. Since I can’t see the taxes, I am not sure how this was pulled off. What would you do in my position to make right on past taxes without pointing a fraudulent finger at my ex (I doubt he knew, but I still want to correct this)? Which people need to be removed? I would think only me and the child that isn’t his, but if he says that our relationship didn’t violate state law, would I have to prove his paternity of my child to establish the truth of it?

    Thank you in advance for your guidance.

  332. Alberto on Sat, 6th Oct 2012 12:19 am
  333. I sent in a receipts and her account info for her college tuition It cleary says her tuition was not paid by check nor financial aid nor grant it just says amount paid. No one could’ve claimed them since only my sister, my niece and I have their SSNs. I guess I was one of the (un)lucky one in a 100 random audits.

    To me it sounds like the tax examiner just blew off everything I sent.

    Thanks for your advise.

  334. Liz on Sat, 6th Oct 2012 5:33 am
  335. Thanks for your response Admin Roberg.

    You don’t sound prissy at all, it’s the truth and thats how the IRS would view it being that there is people out there that knowingly do that, unfortunately I didn’t see the different addresses at the time and I didn’t understand the whole HOH thing until now. I did contact the preparer and advised of the letter I had received and asked why whould she knowingly do something she knew was not correct and not inform me of what it truly meant as I confided in her and paid her to do her job which she didn’t do correctly, she didn’t know what to say and made a ridiculous request…that I answer the audit letter and state that I’m not married and that several of her customers get those letters and blah blah blah. I told her that I already answered the audit letter and told the truth because I’m not a criminal. This is of great concern because she admitted to doing the same for other clients…lying!! I am going to file that complaint because she is crooked! I also asked her if she is going to help pay the fines and penalties and she said she will wait until I get the response and then we would talk and she was able to calculate the the overpayment was around $900 or so, I did contact the IRS who also suggested I file the complaint. This is most unfortunate and extremely stressful.

  336. Admin Roberg on Sat, 6th Oct 2012 1:12 pm
  337. Hi Liz,
    I think you’ve just become the poster child for why you need to check out your tax preparer. On the plus side, she’s been caught and you’re not the only client she did this for so that backs you up on the preparer fault issue.
    Since the overpayment was only $900 (only, I know, I don’t have and extra $900 laying around) you might not get hit too badly with penalties. That’s a good thing.
    You might also want to consider amending your tax returns to married filing jointly. Although you may have a good reason for not doing so.
    I think some preparers want to help people get refunds so badly that they cross the line on the legality issue. (I’m being kind aren’t I?) The problem is, their clients wind up getting nasty IRS letters like you did. (And several others as well.)
    One thing that I would do if I were you is to request and “abatement of penalties”. That’s the term you want to use. The reasoning is that:
    1. you intended to file correctly and the preparer was at fault
    2. you have never filed incorrectly before and have no history of this type of problem

    If you don’t ask, you don’t get. But I think you stand a good chance of winning that argument. The IRS may come back and want you to file specific paperwork, but I’m thinking might just grant you the abatement on a verbal request. It’s worth a try.

  338. Admin Roberg on Sat, 6th Oct 2012 1:15 pm
  339. @Alberto,
    Maybe you should talk to the examiner’s supervisor? I don’t know, it sounds to me like you are in the right. I hate to see you jerked around. Good luck.

  340. Admin Roberg on Sat, 6th Oct 2012 1:33 pm
  341. Hi Autumn,
    Welcome to the tax world!
    I’m curious about what state you live in. The only state where I’ve know anyone to have trouble on their taxes for cohabitating was Florida–and that was a few years ago, I’m not sure how strict they still are about that. To be honest, the IRS never raised an issue about it, it was the company I worked for, clearly the Florida branceh was more conservative than Missouri.
    I know that law you’re referring to–the one about a relationship not being legal. If you check to books in many areas, cohabitating is technically illegal–but most places you’ll never go to jail for it. I wouldn’t lose any sleep over that–even if you’re in Florida. When we discuss tax issues about that, I tend to think of the cases where a child is kidnapped–you can’t claim a kidnapped child as your own because kidnapping is illegal.
    So your real issue is being claimed as a dependent. Well–if you weren’t working and had no income, and lived with that man for the full 12 months–then it’s okay for him to claim you as a dependent. He can claim your child as a dependent too. What he can’t claim is EIC–but he could claim EIC for the child that is his.
    So from where I’m standing, you haven’t done anything wrong. You haven’t signed any returns, you haven’t claimed anybody that isn’t yours to claim.
    The only possible issue is your boyfriend claiming EIC on the child that isn’t his–which if he did (and he might not have) he should amend–but only for that.
    As you move ahead–if you’re still with this man, now that you’ve got income, he can’t claim you anymore. But he can be head of household for the child that you have together, and you can be single and claim the other child for EIC. And you’d both be legal taxwise.
    If your area really has laws against cohabitabion–real laws that are enforced, you might want to check with an attorney. But from what you’re saying (it’s never been a problem) it won’t be an IRS problem either.

  342. Autumn on Sun, 7th Oct 2012 12:25 pm
  343. Whew! I live in North Carolina and the Jackson Hewitt I work for will not allow us to file taxes for cohabiting couples. I am not still with him but I lived with him for a long time, unaware it was illegal. Thank you so much for your thoughts!

  344. Admin Roberg on Sat, 13th Oct 2012 6:20 pm
  345. Hi Brooke,
    You’ve asked a really good question. Here’s my official “Jan the Enrolled Agent” answer: “The IRS requires you to report all of your income on your personal tax return.”

    But seriously, how often are you babysitting? I’m guessing it must be enough to make you be concerned about reporting it or you wouldn’t even ask.

    Now, since the amount of babysitting is so low that no one is thinking about claiming you as a nanny and taking the daycare deduction on their tax returns, they’re probably paying you less than $1700 a year. As a household employee, that means they wouldn’t have to pay payroll taxes on you. If any one of your friends is paying you more than that–you sould really consider either paying self employment tax or them paying the nanny tax on you.

    The $1700 is the line the IRS draws on the whole nanny tax issue. Here’s a link–it’s actually a post I did about kids who are under 18 and working household jobs, but there’s information there about adults too. http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2011/05/summer-jobs-for-teens-babysitting-and-lawn-mowing/

    If you’re really working more than that, you should look at the nanny tax link: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2011/11/nanny-tax-what-to-do-about-your-household-employees/

    Hope that answers your question.

  346. Mari Caban on Mon, 22nd Oct 2012 8:36 pm
  347. Question, My ex had a court order staying that he can claim my 2 kids on income tax. the last court order, before I moved out of state doesnt say anything about taxes. I live out of the state now and my ex has no communication with children. Can I claim them myself now? Thanks

  348. Admin Roberg on Wed, 24th Oct 2012 9:02 pm
  349. Hi Mari,
    So there is a new court order that makes the old court order void, right? And the new court order doesn’t even mention taxes?
    In that situation, I would say that you should be fine claiming your kids for both the dependency exemption and for head of household.
    Now that doesn’t mean that your ex won’t try to claim them, but from what you’re telling me you should win if there’s a conflict.

  350. shannon on Thu, 25th Oct 2012 10:22 am
  351. I have a question—-> I have basically been a stay at home mom, I do work occasionally and have made to date less then 3200.00 this year. My boyfriend works full time and supports me, my two girls and our son…I have read that he can claim me as a dependent and of course our son. My question is what about my two girls? He has done more then provide 1/2 of their support for the year. We have all lived together for 3 years.

    I ask because on the website we use to file our taxes it says that if he claims me he can claim my kids as long as i have made under a certain income. I just would not be able to claim them and when/if I filed taxes I have to put that I can/am being claimed as a dependent on someone else return. I have also looked over the form 8867 and it doesn’t appear that he could claim them since they wouldn’t be his qualifying child. Is this just for the EITC?

    Could you please shed some light on this for us? The more I read the more confused I get.

  352. jessica on Tue, 30th Oct 2012 11:06 am
  353. My ex and I have been divorced since 2009. On our divorce decree it says I am to claim my daughter as a dependent and he is to claim my son as a dependent. Last Income tax I was advised my a tax advisor that I can claim my daughter as a dependent but also claim the EIC for my son since they lived with me more than half the year and I pay for the child care even tho I receive child support for them. My ex tax return was rejected because he was trying to also claim the EIC for my son. We are currently now in a dispute over time sharing with the kids and is he saying that I did not have a right to claim the EIC for our son because on the decree it says he gets to claim him as a dependent. I advised him that just because it says he can claim him as a dependent it doesnt say anything about the EIC. My question is should I go back and amend my previous taxes on the years where he was claiming the EIC for our son when he really shouldnt have because they were with me more than half the year and I paid the child care expenses?

  354. Admin Roberg on Wed, 31st Oct 2012 9:31 am
  355. Hi Shannon,
    You’ve got a great question there. I’m making the assumption that your boyfriend, although not the biological father is “daddy”, am I right? I’m also assuming that the biological father will not be trying to claim them at all and has no right to claim them–is that also correct?
    If so–here’s what you do. Your boyfriend can claim your son (his son) as a dependent for EIC (and all the other dependent exemptions). He can claim you and your daughters as dependents only (no EIC, no chid tax credit.)
    Now you might want to play with your taxes a little. It might make sense for you to not be a dependent and claim one (or both) of your children as dependents. Clearly your income can’t support them, but you can be single instead of head of household. Your boyfriend can be head of household and claim his son.
    Play with it to see what’s the best tax strategy for you combined. After three years, that pretty much makes you a family and it seems to me that you are working together to do what’s best for your family unit.
    You’re in a situation where you have options (that are both legal)–you want the best option for your family. The only thing that can cause a problem for you is if the biological father has any rights to claim the girls–then you’ve got an issue.

  356. Admin Roberg on Wed, 31st Oct 2012 10:54 am
  357. Hi Jessica,
    Your tax advisor was right. Since you had the custody, you can claim the EIC. Now your question was should you go back and claim it on prior returns?

    Legally, you can bo back and amend as far as 2009. The question is–how much hurt do you want to cause your ex, when he didn’t realize that he was doing anything wrong? You didn’t think he was doing anything wrong at the time either. How much hurt will it cause your kids by costing your ex thousands of dollars?

    As an enrolled agent, I’m supposed to promote “correct” tax returns. But as a mom–what’s the best thing for your family? I can’t answer that question for you.

  358. candace steller on Thu, 1st Nov 2012 1:13 pm
  359. I received an eic audit letter this week and have 30 days to respond. I inadvertantly claimed a grandchild. If I hurry and file an amended return, with a request for payment plan, will that negate the audit process and avoid a 2-10 year ban on claiming EIC in future years? I am in the process of adopting 3 or my grandchildren and will be indigent and need it! Also, if filing an amended return does not negate the audit and penalty of 2-10 years, is there any appealing this, especially in indigency cases??

  360. Admin Roberg on Sun, 4th Nov 2012 4:20 pm
  361. Hi Candace,
    So you claimed a grandchild that you shouldn’t have? Are you sure? The reason I’m asking is because you’re adopting three of your grandchildren–sounds to me like maybe you should have been claiming the grandchild.
    But that’s not what you’re asking, is it? Sorry.
    My best suggestion is to call the IRS and talk to them. I know that sounds crazy–but in your case I think it’s the best thing. Here’s why:
    1. I don’t think you did a “criminal” thing claiming your grandchild–it pretty much sounds to me like you probably had a pretty good reason. Maybe you were wrong, maybe you shouldn’t have–or maybe you were right but your life will be a whole lot easier if you just claim you were wrong. Worst case scenario–you made a mistake.
    2. Because they’ve already filed an audit–you can’t go back and undo it–but they might just want you to amend anyway. Or, they might do it for you. Although I’m not a fan of the IRS preparing returns–they might actually do yours correctly so it would save you some money if you don’t have to hire a pro.
    3. I don’t think you’ll be hit with the “no EIC” rule for 10 years. That’s usually reserved for creepy people claiming kids they have no rights to at all. Granted, I haven’t met you, to me you’re only a question over the internet–but I’m just not getting “creepy” vibes from you at all. I could be wrong, but I’d bet money that you’re just a nice person trying to do what’s right for her family. That’s why calling the IRS and talking to them makes sense, show them that you want to do the right thing.
    4. If you truly are in the wrong about claiming EIC–you really can’t appeal it. You could appeal the EIC ban–but I don’t think that will happen if you work with the IRS. Now, you issue will be in paying back the debt. Because you’re indigent, you might qualify for “currently uncollectible” status. That would get the IRS off your back for paying right now. If you could claim EIC on some of your grandchildren next year, then the IRS will take the refund to pay off the bad debt from before. That will clear your debt and get you back to even.
    Good luck.

  362. Anyone on Fri, 9th Nov 2012 2:12 am
  363. I see a lot of people who claim dependents who are not related to them nor lived with them. Will they be criminally charged for this?

  364. Admin Roberg on Sat, 10th Nov 2012 10:53 pm
  365. Hi Anyone,
    Usually criminal charges are not filed but there are exceptions–especially cases where it’s obviously fraud as opposed to just a family dispute.

  366. rodney wakefield on Sun, 11th Nov 2012 8:54 am
  367. Here’s my situation–my girlfriend has sole custody of her two children, she does receive child support, however in no way is it enough, she does not work so will not be filing a return this year–her only income is the child support. I work as a sub contractor who files 1099, i do indeed provide alot of financial assistance to her and her two children. Am I eligible for an EIC?

  368. Admin Roberg on Sun, 11th Nov 2012 9:12 am
  369. Hi Rodney,
    You are not eligible for EIC. Don’t even try. You will suffer if you do. Trust me, just put that thought out of your head right now. Read this: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2012/01/can-my-boyfriend-claim-my-child-by-a-different-father-on-his-tax-return-for-the-earned-income-credit/

  370. mark on Tue, 13th Nov 2012 10:03 pm
  371. I live in Ohio and my child’s mom has not let me claim my child at all. For the past 3-4 years, she has given her sisters boyfriend my daughters social security number so that he could claim her. He would then give her the money. (She has 5 kids with no job and doesnt go to school). She also lives off the government. If I report them for EIC fraud, will she get charged along with her sisters boyfriend? Also, will I get paid the money that he’d have to pay back?

  372. Admin Roberg on Wed, 14th Nov 2012 11:03 am
  373. Hi Mark,
    Honest answer–she will probably not get charged for the fraud, the sister’s boyfriend will. You will not get the money that he has to pay back.

    Now–let me ask you this? Do you have any right to claim your child? Is there a court document allowing you to claim the exemption? Clearly you can’t claim EIC–your child doesn’t live with you, but you may be entitled to claiming the exemption and the child tax credit if the court documents say you can.

    So–yes they are committing fraud. What’s in it for you if you report them? Probably nothing. How much trouble will it cause if you do report it? A whole bunch!

    Perhaps your ex would like to sign the 8332 form to allow you to claim your child for 2013 and forever in exchange for you not trying to claim anything in the past? Perhaps if she understood that she was commiting income tax fraud–well she wouldn’t do it again. That’s not really the proper answer but it’s what came to my mind.

    What you should really do is to encourage your ex to have her sister’s boyfriend amend his tax returns so that they are legal and proper, and he should stop claiming your child for EIC forever. Fat chance that will happen which is why I like my other answer, but this is the answer I’m supposed to give.

  374. tricia on Sat, 17th Nov 2012 1:40 pm
  375. hello, ok i see some of the questions thats being ask are some what like mines but i just feel i need to ask my own.. My boyfriend and I did our taxes,, i have 5 children so i let him claim 2 being he lives with me for 4 years. ok so he claimed one the year of 2011 but for 2012 he claim 2. Also i claimed 2 and 1 didnt get claimed being she is a lil older now. he recieved a letter in the mail saying he had to send proof of relationship because he claimed them as neice and nephew, so we callled the IRS and ask can we do a amend but the lady said no we didnt need to cause she dont think it would make a difference but next thing you know he was aduit. i dont understand how if we asked prior to do this admendment. any how he was giving about 600 of his money now they saying he owes 4000 to the IRS. how can he owe this much if he never recieved this much. he did claim eic and head of household but being we did our own taxes without any knowledge of what the heck we was doing we thought was done correct. my taxes came back ok but his didnt.

    I always thought that if you took care of that child for 12 months, you both have the same address that a child can be claim no matter the relationship. i see know i was wrong,, but why are they making him pay what he never was giving. i understand a penalty but 4000 was what he was suppose to get but he now has to pay, i dint understand.. also now that he tried to claim my 2 what should I do , can i do a admenment and claim them even though i claimed 2 which will now make 4 children or should i not claim them at all and wait till next year, also if i try to claim them next year will i be audit cause there name will be in the system now.. please help vecause we have been loosing sleep and stress,,

    btw if its any typos in this i apologize in advance.

  376. Admin Roberg on Sat, 17th Nov 2012 3:21 pm
  377. Hi Tricia,
    Don’t worry about the typos (you should see my blog posts before they go to my proof reader!)

    Okay–you’ve got a problem. I’m not going to sugar coat it, okay? When your boyfriend said that your kids were his niece and nephew–he lied on his tax return. He basically perjured himself on a federal document. I know this sounds harsh, but you need to see where the IRS is coming from here.

    There was an option in the tax software to say “NONE” when it asked about the relationship. That would have been to correct answer. That’s probably what your boyfriend wrote the first time around. Then when he got no EIC, he went and changed it to “Niece and Nephew” — that’s the big lie.

    Now, when you asked the IRS if you could do an amendment and they said it wouldn’t make any difference, they meant–it wouldn’t make any difference in how much he owed. And it wouldn’t.

    Why does he owe more than what he got back? It depends upon how much of a penalty he got slapped with. There’s the 25% late payment penalty–that’s for certain. There’s the interest–that’s grows constantly. There might even be an underreporter penalty, that’s another 20%. So you can see how he can owe way more than he got back.

    It used to be that you could claim EIC on a child that lived with you for the full 12 months but that was several years ago when that allowed.

    So what can you do? Well, you’ve lived together for over 4 years. If the children’s father hasn’t claimed the kids, then your boyfriend may claim the dependency exemption on the 2. He won’t get EIC, he won’t get head of household, and he won’t get the child tax credit. But at least he’ll get the exemption, it will help reduce the fines and taxes a little bit.

    Now, if you completely tax the children off your boyfriend’s return, and amend to put them on your return–you would still get the child tax credit and you’d get EIC for one of them.

    Now what about the oldest? Is she still living in the house? Does she have income? You might not get a child tax credit for her, but if she can be claimed as a dependent, it still might help out your boyfriend.

    It sounds to me like you’re a family and are working together as a family. It might make some sense to go see a professional and bring all your paperwork to have her work it out to the best of your advantage together. He’s still going to owe the IRS–but if you can recoup some of that by claiming the kids, you can at least help him pay down the debt. Good luck.

  378. ken on Mon, 19th Nov 2012 1:51 pm
  379. what if the person was 22 and and coming back an forth from college and she had you claim her as a dependent and later on her mother filed and used her too.what should be the out come?

  380. Admin Roberg on Mon, 19th Nov 2012 7:12 pm
  381. Hi Ken,
    So the question here is–is the 22 year old person your daughter? If yes, you may have a good argument. If no–you’ve got a problem. If you claimed EIC–you’ve got a big problem.

  382. james on Wed, 21st Nov 2012 10:18 pm
  383. Im a divorced parent, I have a court agreement which determines which parent can claim our child for which tax year. My ex spouse went ahead and claimed my child when she was not authorized to do. The Feds sent a letter stating 2 people can not claim the same dependant, to amend the tax return if necessary. I found out about form 8332 in which my ex spouse signed over to me and sent that with my amended return. However the state is the major issue. The state did not give me the EIC in which i was entitled to. They sent me a letter asking for further proof which I sent them and then received another letter asking for additional proof which I also sent then I received yet another letter being declined again with instructions on how to file an appeal. Upon writing my appeal I sent all documentation a complete copy of the court agreement a copy of form 8332 as well. I also sent forms to the irs and the state departments reporting my ex for fraud. How long will it take for the feds and the state to take proper action against my ex? Why wont the state resolve the issue and award me the EIC when I am the proper person whom should it?

  384. Admin Roberg on Fri, 23rd Nov 2012 4:48 pm
  385. Hi James,
    You’re not going to like my answer. I don’t think you qualify for the EIC. Here’s why:
    EIC goes to the parent that the children live with. Your ex signed an 8332 form–that’s basically saying that the kids live with her and that you get to claim the exemption.
    The parent claiming the exemption also gets the child tax credit, but not the EIC–EIC stays with the parent the kids live with. Here’s a link that explains that: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2011/11/split-exemption-claiming-one-child-on-two-tax-returns-%E2%80%94-the-legal-way/

    Now, if the children really do live with you–then you should NOT submit an 8332 form.

    So, your court decree only allows you the exemption–not EIC. Sorry.

  386. Jenny on Fri, 23rd Nov 2012 5:57 pm
  387. My undocumented husband acquired legal custody of his three American children after the children were adjudicated dependent from the mother in 2011. He had paid child support since February, 2011, they lived with the mother until August, 2011 when they were adjudicated dependent. We were unable to claim the children because they did not live with us for 6 months, although he did pay over half of their support (the mother was a welfare-mom, no job, no income for over 2 years). She got a tax refund, though, because she allowed her sister, who did not live with them or pay half of the expenses, to claim the children for EIC, which probably netted about $8,000 in return money. Was that legal? Should we have been able to claim the children for EIC last year?

  388. Admin Roberg on Sat, 24th Nov 2012 11:16 am
  389. Hi Jenny,
    As long as your husband is undocumented, he may not claim EIC for his children. Besides that, they did not live with him for over half the year, so he would be unable to claim them for EIC even if he was.
    Now, since the sister did not live with the children–then she shouldn’t have been able to claim the kids either. You could, if you wanted to, file a report.
    Now this is something you do need to know–as long as your husband does not have a social security number–he cannot claim EIC for his children. But, if he gets one, and the children live with him, he can later go back and amend the tax returns for up to three years. So–let’s say the kids live with you for all of 2012, 2013 and 2014 — no SSN, no EIC. But, he can still claim them as dependents. But, let’s say he gets a SSN in 2015–then he can amend his prior year returns and claim the EIC for the kids.

  390. THATBOYTHERE on Mon, 26th Nov 2012 12:38 pm
  391. How far back can the IRS audit you for HOH, EIC and dependent info?
    Is it over after three years?

  392. THATBOYTHERE on Mon, 26th Nov 2012 12:40 pm
  393. These are curious questions but when you get married do you have to file together if they own a business?

  394. Alexander on Mon, 26th Nov 2012 3:11 pm
  395. Hi I actually received a letter in the mail today about my tax audit and it was honestly bc i did fill my girlfriend and her child bc i supported them throughout the year well i called to see what it was about and after it was all said and done they had (as im thinking now) understood that it wasnt my fault( i went to H&R block and they told me that they have seen many cases like this) so H&R block failed to tell me i couldnt fill them i even asked the H&r block lady how it worked and she said that as long as i provided for them that i could…I mean my mothers boyfriedn filled me way back when and i’ve seen many simmilar cases…well after i got done talking with them they told me they just wanted some billing statements and things just to make sure i was telling the truth and then they just tell me plainly that im going to have to pay it back so i sd okay and they sd they would place me on a payment plan for 25 a month(they did let me know of the intrest) also that they would take my next tax return but i knew that…now being that was my conversation should i be worried about and other penalties..bc they seemed to understand and see where my error was…I have no problem making it right and paying it back they know that but i def dont want to see any jail time for it….which ofcourse was def not talked about.

  396. Admin Roberg on Wed, 28th Nov 2012 9:31 pm
  397. Hey Thatboythere,
    Generally, the IRS doesn’t go back for more than 3 years. That said, if they believe there was fraud, that extends the statute of limitations. But generally, they don’t go back more than three years.

  398. Admin Roberg on Wed, 28th Nov 2012 9:35 pm
  399. @Thatboythere,
    okay, if a couple is married and they own a business together, they generally file together. If a couple is married and one of them owns a business, they may file together but they don’t have to. If they live together, but file separately, they must files as married filing separately (the worst tax status). If they live apart for at least the last six months of the year, and there is a child, the parent with the child may file as head of household.

  400. Admin Roberg on Wed, 28th Nov 2012 9:46 pm
  401. Hi Alexander,
    I wouldn’t be worried about jail. You’ve settled up with the IRS. You’ve got a payment plan and you’re all good.
    I’m sorry that you were misled by your tax person. You’re right about when you were a kid, it used to be that your mother’s boyfriend could have claimed you if he was supporting you. The law changed a few years back. Tax professionals get trained in the laws, your preparer should have known better.
    That said, I hope you still got to claim your girlfriend–if she lived with you for the full year and you supported her and her income was under $3600–you should have been able to claim her.
    You might have been able to claim her child as a dependent as well (but not for EIC or the child tax credit), but I’m guessing the birth father did so you’d lose that battle. Sorry.

  402. David Fletcher on Sat, 1st Dec 2012 10:18 pm
  403. Is it too late to amend an audited return!

  404. Admin Roberg on Sun, 2nd Dec 2012 10:38 am
  405. Hi David,
    That’s a good question. It depends upon where you are in the process. You should speak with the revenue agent working your case.

  406. Admin Roberg on Sun, 2nd Dec 2012 10:41 am
  407. @David again,
    Actually, if you’re going through an audit, you should have professional representation. Your revenue agent is highly motivated to have you pay additional tax. Yes, they’re supposed to be completely honest–but, you should have representation.

  408. David Fletcher on Mon, 3rd Dec 2012 2:34 pm
  409. Thanks! The reason I’m asking is because the woman who prepared my taxes listed me as the head of household and also added her brother as my dependant which is false. I wasn’t aware of this until after she submitted and I recieved a large refund as a return. When I confronted her about the situation and amend it but told me it would be an admission of guilt. I have attempted to contact her and she doesn’t return my phone calls. Its come to my attention recently that she has submitted fraudulent returns in the past and this is not a one time event.

  410. Admin Roberg on Mon, 3rd Dec 2012 4:52 pm
  411. Hi David,
    In your case I would definitely just amend and say, “Hey, here’s what happened.” I would also report the tax lady–that’s major fraud. I’ve heard some really bizzare stories about cases like yours. I don’t know if this happened to you, but some tax preparers have had clients sign one return, and then turn around and file something completly different–they pocket the extra money and the taxpayer is none the wiser. You should did through your paperwork and make sure of what happened.
    Does amending your return admit guilt? I don’t buy that argument. Amending your return means that the return that was filed was wrong in the first place. That’s different. And, let’s be real, that return of yours was wrong.
    Good luck. I hope things turn out well for you. I bet you’ll be extra careful to read everything that on your tax return from now on! (People who get burned are always the most careful.)

  412. Ann on Wed, 5th Dec 2012 9:25 pm
  413. I know someone who does not work and have their brother who does not live n the house at all claim the children to get the EIC and they split it. The mother of the children live at home with her mother(the children kids grandmother) who supports the household. In order to claim any children don’t you have to reside inthe home for at least 6 months and be able to show some proof that he was taking care of those children? Can i report these people for tax fraud. The brother has not lived in the same household for about 2-3 years but he is using that address as his mailing address. I am so tired of seeing lazy people who don’t want to work sell their kids to make money that does not belong to them. What would be the steps to take to report them and what type of information would i need. Oh and this past year he was audited because he did not have proof to show that he supported these kids. The grandmother claims to make too much money to file the kids on her taxes and that’s some of the reason sister sells the kids to the brother. What type of penalty would they face if reported? Any advice would be helpful. Thanks.

  414. Admin Roberg on Thu, 6th Dec 2012 2:05 pm
  415. Hi Ann,
    Here’s my link about how to report tax fraud: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2010/11/how-to-report-tax-fraud/

    But it sounds like this guy is already being investigated so you don’t need to bother.

    As far as people selling their kids, well the IRS is on to them and now folks we be required to prove the kids live with them when they go to a tax office. Tax preparers like me would have to pay a $500 fine if we don’t check things out.

    Here’s some more information about what’s new with EIC: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2012/11/what%e2%80%99s-new-with-the-earned-income-tax-credit-you-need-to-know-this/

  416. Sue Gold on Fri, 7th Dec 2012 4:57 pm
  417. Hi,

    I’m in a disagreement with my sister’s husband about the Child Tax Credit. I was mildly complaining about how my son won’t qualify this year because he turned 17 during the summer. My bro- in law looked at me like I was nuts and insisted kids qualify until they are 18 (I know this isn’t correct) and he’s taken the credit for two of his 3 kids after they turned 17. How on earth could he have received the credit?
    Doesn’t the IRS check the birthdates of those listed?

  418. Admin Roberg on Fri, 7th Dec 2012 8:47 pm
  419. Hi Sue,
    You’re absolutely corrrect, you do not receive the child tax credit when your children turn 17. Here’s a link to the IRS interactive questionaire to determine if you are eligible for a child tax credit: http://apps.irs.gov/app/ita/app/investigate.action?screenId=s2%40TLC_ChildTaxCredit_Development_Screens_CTCLanding_xint&ts=1354933867728&ita=Child_Tax_Credit&factId=Child_Tax_Credit&entity=global&screenEntityInstanceName=global&itascreenid=Am+I+Eligible+for+the+Child+Tax+Credit%3F-s2%40TLC_ChildTaxCredit_Development_Screens_CTCLanding_xint&screenEntity=global&entityInstanceName=global

    Okay, that’s got to be the longest url in the world.

    Anyway, I have no idea how he gets away with it. If you e-file with the wrong birthday, your tax return gets rejected. Maybe he paper filed–but eventually you’d think they’d catch on. I don’t know what to tell you. The child tax credit ends at 17. How your brother-in-law managed getting it is beyond me.

  420. alex C on Sat, 8th Dec 2012 2:17 pm
  421. I just got an audit letter from the IRS, I just found out that I couldnt claim my cousins kids even though I support them. I did my taxes for the first time last year. Here’s my problem, I asked my tax person if I could claim them and she said “if she’s your blood cousin, then you can claim them” I went on and claimed them with the understanding that this was okay. What do I do now? I unknowingly commited fraud and need help. Do I just go to the irs office and explain this?

  422. Admin Roberg on Sun, 9th Dec 2012 7:41 am
  423. Hi Alex,
    I’m sorry that you were misled by your tax preparer. Since you know that your taxes were wrong, your best be is to just explain that to the IRS. You’ll have to pay the back taxes, but there’s no use dragging it out.
    Your preparer’s computer software program should have automatically kicked out the EIC credit when she wrote “cousin” in for your relative. Did she do the return by hand? (I was just curious, you don’t really have to answer that.)
    What you should do is request “an abatement of the penalties for a first time offense”. That means you’re asking them to not charge you the penaties that they normally charge in a case like this. You did not intend to do wrong, you were misled by your preparer, and you are working immediately to make it right now that you know there was a mistake.
    I can’t guarantee the IRS will grant it, but if you don’t ask — you don’t get. Those penalties are pretty stiff so getting the IRS to abate them is definitely a good thing. Good luck.

  424. Denise on Mon, 10th Dec 2012 1:30 pm
  425. My daughter had someone fill out her taxes last year. Well they reported too much earnings for my daughter, and now they want return her call to have it amended so that she can get it strait. I am filing her this year beause she and my grand-daughter lived with me, and I provided their necessities. Will this amendment hold up my tax return?

  426. Admin Roberg on Mon, 10th Dec 2012 8:13 pm
  427. Hi Denise,
    I doubt that the amendment will hold up your return, but be aware that tax refunds will probably be delayed this coming tax season. The IRS says that you should expenct your refunds to take 21 days, but if there’s been problems with who is claiming who–then refunds could take 75 days.
    Bottom line though, go ahead and file your 2012 return, but do get the 2011 taken care of as quickly as possible.

    Here’s a tip: how did the tax preparer over report your daughter’s income? She can get something from the IRS called a wage and income transcript. That will show exactly how much income she made for the year (or at least what was reported to the IRS.) You can’t get it, only your daughter can ask for it. The wage and income transcript shows you the numbers the IRS has to work with.

    Once you get that, she can take that, along with her old tax return, and probably get the IRS to help her with her amendment for free. That way you’re not waiting around for the tax preparer.

  428. Sharra on Sat, 15th Dec 2012 11:03 pm
  429. Hi, I got a question for friend of mine, she has been claiming her neice since 2004, no one else has ever claimed her. but her neice was not living with her, she was living with the mother. she just stop claimng her last year when her brother was release from jail but the only reason she was claiming the child was to help the mom ( not that it mattered) she wants to know if she can still get in trouble now? even though she is no longer claiming her or if someone else starts to claim her.

  430. Admin Roberg on Sun, 16th Dec 2012 3:12 pm
  431. Hi Sharra,
    Your friend could potentially have a problem. You see, EIC is only for people who actually live with and support children. So if somebody told on her, or worse, the mother decided to claim the child herself, then your friend could get caught and have to pay back all the EIC that she’s gotten over the last several years. (Plus penalties and interest.)
    I am required by law to tell you that she should go back and file amended returns for all the years that she claimed her neice illegally. And pay back the taxes. That’s the law.
    She might also want to get a second opinion. (Let’s face it, what I just recommended is going to cost her thousand’s of dollars.I’m guessing that she doesn’t have that kind of money lying around.)
    I recommend meeting with an enrolled agent in person for a face to face discussion of the situation. There may be circumstances there that I’m unaware of so that the situation might not be as bad as it sounds. This link will help you find an enrolled agent near you: https://portal.naeacentral.org/webportal/buyersguide/professionalsearch.aspx

  432. Nezz on Mon, 17th Dec 2012 1:27 am
  433. Hi, my uncle asked me if I would like to claim his two daughters this year in my taxes but I do not know if I want to do it because I’m afraid I can get in trouble. They have been claimed before by someone else who was not their father either. They have my last name but I’m 20 years old and they are 6 years old and 10 years old so I know I can’t say they are my daughters. They do not live with me and I do not support them at all. Will I be able to claim them as my cousins that they are and not get in trouble or am I better off not doing it. The reason why he does not claim is because he gets paid cash so has no record of any income and I’m not sure why the other person who was the girls uncle stopped claiming them but hope you can help me decide

  434. Michael Siebert on Mon, 17th Dec 2012 4:58 pm
  435. Nezz,


    Thank you for showing due diligence in this situation. Even though you may or may not be in touch with the law on this issue, it is refreshing to see that you want to do the right thing legally.


    You will not be able to claim them as qualifying children because cousins do not count as qualifying children. Also, you also cannot claim them as your qualifying relatives either because you did not provide over half of their support.


    Not only are you are better off NOT doing it, but it is against the law. Thank you so much for asking.

  436. Anyone on Thu, 20th Dec 2012 4:54 pm
  437. I claimed my taxes last year and I didn’t add my w2 form – it was only in the $100 range. However, when I make the amendment changes, Turbo Tax says that I’m entitled to $21 extra dollars that they IRS will send me. In this case, since I’m RECEIVING MONEY and NOT OWING money, can I just skip the amendment process and not get the $21 dollars? I really don’t feel like printing all these documents and sending them off for $21 extra dollars. Please let me know, thank you!

  438. Unknown on Thu, 20th Dec 2012 9:17 pm
  439. Hello,

    I filed my 2011 taxes in feb of this year, I claimed my two cousins who do not live with me, (my aunt who does not have custody of them because they are adopted told me I could since she was seeing them still & I was giving her money so she could buy them things since she does not work. I relieved my return & it gave her some of it. In march she tells me that the foster mother tried to claim them and it was denied. I went to H&R block and amended my return removing both children off my return. I was told if I amended before April I would be fine. I contacted the IRS and set up a monthly installment. I’m currently paying them now! Two weeks ago I received a letter saying the children I claimed were claimed by someone else and if I did not qualify to amend my return. I started freaking out & I called the IRS and they rd me its an automated letter that the computer sends out in December & to continue making my payments. I don’t wanna go to jail I’m not a bad person. Can I still get introuble for this? Please help!!! Since then I haven’t recieved any other notices. I even called IrS three times & they all told me my taxes were amended and to make my payments.

  440. Admin Roberg on Sun, 23rd Dec 2012 10:58 am
  441. Hi Anyone,
    I have a hard time understanding why you wouldn’t claim your money. But–usually the IRS doesn’t complain about you leaving money on the table. Now, there may be a situation where the IRS thinks that the extra $100 would bring them money and they’ll send you one of those “hello there, please pay us” letters. If you get one of those, then you’ll want to go ahead and file the amendment anyway.
    So–if you’re getting money back, you probably don’t need to file your federal amendment–but how is the state affected? Sometimes, you might get money back from the IRS but still owe the state. In that case, you’ll need to file both. Sorry.

  442. Admin Roberg on Sun, 23rd Dec 2012 11:06 am
  443. Hi Unknown,
    You already fixed everything and you’re making payments. You’re doing the right thing. And the IRS agent who said that those things go out automatically was telling the truth. It’s amazing what kinds of letters go out and scare the pants off of people.
    You already amended, you’ve been making your payments, you’re doing the right thing. You’re not going to jail.
    What’s even more important is that you corrected your return before April 15th, so the “bad” return shouldn’t even be on your record.
    It takes the IRS a little time to get things straightened out, but you’re all good. Just keep making your payments on time. You’re okay! :)

  444. Gregory on Thu, 27th Dec 2012 6:42 pm
  445. My spouse and I seem to separate each year. She usually leaves when I go to work and takes whatever she wants. I bought a house after we got back together in the spring of 2012. In cleaning up I ran across a tax return copy indicating my wife had filed a tax return for 2011 and claimed her 26 year old son (not disabled) and a nephew that I know is another person’s child. She got over 5,000 back. I suspected she had been doing this, but, now I have the proof. I don’t want her to drag me into problems with the IRS, but, I know she did it intentionally. I questioned her about the large sums of money she always had in the early spring. We are just about to get separated again for about the 8th of 9th time. What can I do to ease my separation. I have worked the same job for almost 25 years and have been married to her since 2003.

  446. Nancy Parker on Mon, 31st Dec 2012 12:52 am
  447. Hi! I filed someone else’s children on my tax return & I honestly didn’t know It was illegal. She reassured me it was ok if she gave me permission, & I foolishly went along with it. Well I never received money for it because they need verification that I was the parent. Obviously I couldn’t provide that. So now she has been convinced that I had received a check & was holding out on her but I never did because I couldn’t provide the needed documents. I have made arrangements with the IRS to make payments & I have been. Now that I have expressed to her I no longer want her apart of my life, she has said she’s going to press charges. Can she do that? I wouldn’t have had access to her children’s SSN if she had never given them to me. What can I do & how can I prove my innocence if she really does take me to court? And am I allowed to still file federal taxes, tho I’m sure they just keep whatever I would’ve received anyway. Thank you in advance

  448. Michael Siebert on Mon, 31st Dec 2012 10:39 am
  449. Nancy,

    I am not allowed to give legal advice (Though sometimes I would like to 😀 ). And to say that I am some sort of a “tax lawyer” is a farfetched assumption. But It seems to me like your friend (well, ex-friend) or acquaintance wanted you to claim her children to maximize the Earned Income Tax Credit and various other credits. If she doesn’t work or works very little, then you can probably guess that’s why she was doing what she was doing.

    I do not think the IRS is going to buy that you didn’t know claiming other people’s children on your tax return is fraudulent. After all, they have made instructions galore to hinder this but it does still happen. In my opinion, I do not think she would be wise pressing charges since she enticed you to do this (by giving you social security cards and what not) and she is just as guilty, if not more guilty than you I guess by means of entrapment.

  450. Angie on Mon, 31st Dec 2012 11:16 am
  451. hi there, i have a child from a previous marriage and my husband and i have both been unemployed this year and his aunt has been living with us, can she claim my son? as he is her step great nephew?

  452. Michael Siebert on Mon, 31st Dec 2012 3:31 pm
  453. Angie,

    She can claim your son as a qualifying child – assuming all the other test for qualifying child are met – age, member of household, and support.

  454. Dustin on Thu, 3rd Jan 2013 8:45 am
  455. Good Day. Quick question, but a little complicated.

    I (22 – full time worker – uncle to children) live with my mother and her three grandchildren. I support us all, but she gets food stamps. Can I claim them all on my return?

  456. Admin Roberg on Thu, 3rd Jan 2013 7:45 pm
  457. Hi Gregory,
    Okay, so your wife did the wrong thing and that’s bad. The problem is–she’s your wife so–do you really want to report her? I mean, she’s your wife.
    So–how have you been filing your tax returns? It seems to me that if you’re separated–you’re filing as married filing separately. If you did, that’s a good thing, because it provides you with a level of protection. If you didn’t, anything she did could be linked back to you.
    Look, I can’t tell you how to run your love life. But I am going to tell you to keep your money separated from her. You should never file jointly with someone that you know has been cheating on her taxes, it could come back to bite you in the behind something awful.

  458. ana on Fri, 4th Jan 2013 8:43 am
  459. I got a question my ex claim my aunt son for three yrs already n he claim my dauther too my aunt kid is in mexico since he got born n my ex put him in his income tax I wana report him cuz I don’t want him to keep doin that I just wana knoe wat r gona be the consecuenses?

  460. Tara on Fri, 4th Jan 2013 10:16 am
  461. My sister has a 17 month old son. From Jan to Aug she lived with her boyfriend in his mothers house. My sister did not work. Neither did the father.
    My sister left that home in August from an abusive relationship and has lived with our mother from Aug to present. My sister called me yesterday stating that she got an email from the ex boyfriend That his mother (the paternal grandmother) plans to claim her child on her tax return. My sister has not agreed to this, my sister plans on claiming him as he is her child. She has legal sole custody of the child. My sister will not get a refund because she did not work any place but it will just make her not owe any money, jut filing taxes with her and her son. Is it illegal for the grandmother to claim the child in her taxes?

  462. Admin Roberg on Sat, 5th Jan 2013 8:06 pm
  463. Dustin,
    The answer is Maybe. The big question here is, “Where are the children’s parents? Why aren’t the parent’s claiming the children?”
    So, here’s what you’re going to do. Go to the IRS website and answer the questions honestly about the children. Here’s the website: http://apps.irs.gov/app/eitc2011/SetLanguage.do?lang=en
    You’ll want to click on the part, “Is my child a qualifying child?”

    This is important–answer the questions honestly. Don’t change your answers to make it say what you want or you could be in a world of hurt.

    It’s possible that you can claim the children and even your mother, but dot your eyes and cross your t’s and make sure that you really are entitled to do so. I suspect that even if you are in the right, that you could have trouble, so make sure you’ve got your behind covered. Good luck.

  464. Admin Roberg on Sun, 6th Jan 2013 4:21 pm
  465. Hi Ana,
    If you really want to report your ex for fraud, here’s a link with information on how to do it: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2010/11/how-to-report-tax-fraud/

    But, you won’t know what happens to him. The IRS won’t tell you what happens. If you want the satisfaction of seeing him suffer–you won’t get it. But, sometimes, just filling out the paperwork helps make you feel better.

  466. Admin Roberg on Sun, 6th Jan 2013 4:25 pm
  467. Hi Tara,
    It’s not illegal for the child’s grandmother to claim the child, but she’s not going to win this one. The legal right goes with your sister–even if she doesn’t get a refund, she still is the parent. And, the child has been with her the most time.
    Normally I would recommend talking it over with the grandmother, but since it’s an abusive relationship, I say no. Have her file her taxes, claim her child, and when/if the audit papers come–be prepared to fight, but she’ll win.

  468. Elizabeth Lewallen on Sun, 6th Jan 2013 7:20 pm
  469. My niece and her husband split up in june, her and her daughter have been living with me and my son since then. My question is can I file them on my tax return along with my son who is in college? The childs father hasn’t worked any this year. My niece has worked a part time job, but hasn’t made but 2,700 dollars, and is recovering from cancer.

  470. Admin Roberg on Sun, 6th Jan 2013 9:29 pm
  471. Hi Elizabeth,
    You might be able to claim your neice’s daughter, but remember, if your neice claims her, you lose, so you will have to have her permission to do so. Here’s a link to the IRS website about claiming EIC. go through the questionairres and answer the questions honestly to determine if you’ll be allowed to claim your great neice. Here’s the link: http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Earned-Income-Tax-Credit-(EITC)-––Use-the-EITC-Assistant-to-Find-Out-if-You-Should-Claim-it.

  472. Scared on Mon, 7th Jan 2013 2:12 am
  473. Hi I am 24 years young and in big trouble with an audit. For 2 tax returns I claimed another person’s child as a “niece” dependent along with my mother as head of household, under the suggestion of a co-worker. It sounded like a good idea at the time, thinking it would be ok. I didn’t know then that it was wrong and illegal. I no longer am in contact with them to tell them what happened. I received a letter just a few weeks ago for an audit, and now I’m scared to death. I don’t need to be told how wrong I was because I know that already and hope others reading this take my lesson as an important one. But what should I do to make it through with the least amount of suffering? Should I immediately send 1040x forms even during the audit? Should I admit that I made a mistake? I just want to avoid criminal charges and such. I’m ok with paying stuff back, but what’s the best way to handle all of this, and who should I turn to to help reduce the pain even a little? I can prove the HOH claim with my mother as a dependant, but obviously not the EIC or child credit. Any advice would be nice please!

  474. Admin Roberg on Mon, 7th Jan 2013 8:58 pm
  475. Hi Scared,
    Here’s the thing, if you’re in a real audit, you don’t file a 1040X. If it’s just a “paper audit” where they send you a letter asking you about it, then file the 1040X.
    If you’re supposed to meet with an IRS agent–that kind of sit down audit, then just go right ahead and explain the situation. Yes, you shouldn’t have claimed the kids etc. And move on from there.
    Since you know you can prove the HOH claim about your mom–that’s good, the pain won’t be quite so bad.
    You probably won’t qualify for an abatement of penalties. Ask for it anyway–because if you don’t ask, you don’t get, but you’ll probably lose since it’s 2 years and not only one.
    Then try to pay it back as quickly as possible. You can set up an installment agreement. Take what you owe, divide by 72 and that’s the lowest amount they’ll take per month. Pay more per if you can, to get rid of the debt. If you can’t make the minumum payment, you can probably negotiate a lower amount, but it will require sending the IRS documents like your bank statements and stuff.

  476. Scared on Mon, 7th Jan 2013 9:55 pm
  477. Thank you for that, it eases my mind a bit but can I send the 1040x forms with the audit papers or should I send them separately? I ask because I’ve read that it takes 6-8 weeks to accept the 1040x.

  478. Scared on Mon, 7th Jan 2013 10:03 pm
  479. One more thing, sorry for the multiple posts, but would it be a good idea to seek representation from a tax clinic with my situation? How candid can I be about what I did without further incriminating myself? I don’t want to have to get an attorney until it (hopefully never) comes to it.

  480. Ashley on Tue, 8th Jan 2013 10:36 am
  481. Hello, here’s the deal. My Boyfriend has lived with me since March 3rd of last year. I have a 10 year old Daughter, I haven’t worked this last year, and my Daughters Father doesn’t claim her on his taxes, he doesn’t pay child support or anything like that.
    Anytime since my boy friend has lived with me, anything she has needed for school, or anything period he would get for her.
    He get’s food stamps, and I also get food stamps.
    But he don’t pay rent or bills or anything here. Just mainly does for my Daughter.
    Would he be able to claim EIC, for my Daughter if I let him? And would that interfere with food stamps, or anything to do with the state?
    Thank’s a lot…

  482. mary b on Tue, 8th Jan 2013 12:48 pm
  483. Hey I have a question. In 2011 I filed taxes. I had just had my daughter in november 2010. I didnt get my taxes because they said my eic was being investigated. So a whole year went by before I could get any info, and when I did it was a letter from irs saying they denied my eic, sent me the remainder of my refund and told me in order to get the eic i had to send a bunch of paperwork(leases, medical records etc) I didnt bother with it, but they also said from now on I would have to file a 8862(i think that was it, whatever form it is for eic) So my question is, is this going to slow my refund up this year, and also what do I need to file ths form? Birth certificates, school records, ss card? Oh, btw…I have 3 children…

  484. Admin Roberg on Tue, 8th Jan 2013 9:04 pm
  485. Hi Scared,
    You’re right that it will take about 6 – 8 weeks for them to process the 1040X. What you should do is call the number that’s on the letter you received. Explain the situation, tell them you’re going to submit a 1040X and when you’ll have it to them by. They’ll instruct you about where it needs to be sent.
    But more importantly, they’ll know that you’re on top of it and doing something. that’s good.

    About the tax clinic–yes, I recommend getting representation. When you speak with a professional, it’s against the law for us to “tattle” on you, so be honest. You’ll get the best information by giving good information. Example: I had a client lie to me about a bank account–thinking that if I didn’t know, the IRS wouldn’t find out. Instead, the IRS found out and since he lied–assumed all was bad. The thing was–there was nothing wrong with this bank account except for the lying about it, which made everything else he said seem like a lie.
    Use an enrolled agent–we have “privilege” up until the case becomes criminal. If you ever hear the IRS use the term “criminal” for you, then get an attorney, otherwise you’re okay. (And I don’t think you’re criminal–just letting you know when you would need to worry.)

  486. Admin Roberg on Tue, 8th Jan 2013 9:47 pm
  487. Ashley,
    do not let your boyfriend claim your child for EIC on his taxes. It is illegal. Don’t do it. Read this: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2012/01/can-my-boyfriend-claim-my-child-by-a-different-father-on-his-tax-return-for-the-earned-income-credit/

    If you love him–don’t let him get into trouble.

  488. Admin Roberg on Tue, 8th Jan 2013 9:53 pm
  489. Hi Mary,
    This is the 8862 form here: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8862.pdf

    Your return will be delayed. You’re going to wait about 75 days to get your refudn–if you get your refund.

    Bottom line–you lost an EIC investigation. You’re going to have problems.

  490. missk on Thu, 17th Jan 2013 12:30 pm
  491. Hello,

    I have a question regarding claiming a dependent. I am a single woman with no dependents. My older brother has four kids, but they’re only able to claim three and get the child credits. My brother asked me if I want to claim their fourth kid so I’ll get something back. I’ll be honest here. I do not support my nephews. I only buy them clothes for their birthdays and Christmas only. I occasionally take them to the movies or buy them McDonalds once every week. I do not support them financially at all. They do not live with me. They used to live next door to us, but have moved since the last few months of 2012. They now live a few blocks from me. I want to know if I can claim the nephew.

    Should I claim him? If I do claim them, is this consider a tax fraud? My conscious tells me to do the right thing and that is not claim my nephew because that would be cheating the IRS. I have a really bad feeling and most likely I will not claim, but I just want some more insight into this and I want to know I’m doing the right thing by not claiming the kid. I know so many people take advantage of this, but I don’t want to be one of those people. I don’t want to go with the flow just because everyone is doing it. I want to do the right thing. Please advise me. Thank you.

  492. Admin Roberg on Thu, 17th Jan 2013 7:44 pm
  493. Hi Missk,
    Don’t claim your nephew, it’s tax fraud. You know that and you want to do the right thing–don’t claim your nephew.
    Now, there’s something that your brother doesn’t know. He can claim his fourth child! He won’t get any EIC for the fourth child, but he will get a child tax credit and that’s worth $1000!
    So, here’s the thing, not only will you feel good about yourself because you don’t want to commit fraud (which is not only a good moral thing, it’s also just plain old smart), but you can also be a hero by showing your brother how to get another $1000!

  494. Kris on Fri, 18th Jan 2013 7:57 am
  495. So my husband’s ex has sole custody of his daughter. She doesn’t work, my husband does. Yet every year she lets her Dad (daughter’s Grandfather) claim her. She lives with her parents but shouldn’t my husband be allowed to claim her (even if he only has her every other weekend) over the Grandfather? He pays her child support and that equates to half of her support because the mother doesn’t make anything. Do we claim the child or do we allow the Grandfather to continue claiming the child?

    Thanks for the help!

  496. Rob on Fri, 18th Jan 2013 9:40 am
  497. Hello, I need help
    I started working at the end of 2011 & did not do taxes because havent worked long. I claimed 3 people without understanding the question. Now I been trying to change it after I found out what I put a 3 for,
    My girlfriend says I will owe. Mom says It won’t matter since its a mistake. I support myself only. Im an idiot.
    Do you know what could happen since i didnt know?
    Also I havent gotten any paperwork from irs so you know this will be first time wanting tax refund

  498. tee on Fri, 18th Jan 2013 3:18 pm
  499. I have two stepkids that i have been havimfg for the last two years, there mother and dad are divorced and we are married now but in the divorce decree it says dad cant claim them so i was going to cause the live with us but there mom already claim them so what can we do if any can be done to fix it.

  500. key on Fri, 18th Jan 2013 7:15 pm
  501. my wife and i owned a house and had three kids. we had a falling out in january and i left. i took care of them all by giving her money(cash) to pay all the bills and expenses. in may we sold our house and split the mo8ney 50/50. we agreed verbally that we would get an a place in the same city and then would have the kids live between us. well when she got her half she did not stick to that and moved out of state with another man. since then i have added money to her bank account multiple times(again with cash and yes i now realize how stupid that was). anyway she ran out of money and got evicted in the middle of december and moved in with her out of state(this is 3 different states now) brother. we made an arrangement that i would claim them and split it it 50/50 with her and she agreed but last week i found out she is 5 months pregnant and the father found out its a good chance he is not actually the father and obviously left her. now she is saying i cant “use” my kids for a tax return and she is going to let others(most likely her brother claim them) and if i claim them she is going to get me in trouble because i always gave her cash and i vant prove i supported them.is there any truth to this? also she cant claim them because she hasnt worked so shes going to use someone else. how should i handle my taxes? please answer asap as i have been manipulated enough. thank u

  502. key on Fri, 18th Jan 2013 7:20 pm
  503. now that i think about its actually her cousin she just called him her brother because they grew up in the same house. anyway blood pressure high and about to have a stroke. thanks

  504. key on Fri, 18th Jan 2013 7:25 pm
  505. and there has been legalities as far s seperatio or divorce if that helps

  506. Jan Roberg on Sat, 19th Jan 2013 7:39 pm
  507. Hi Kris,
    Since the child lives with the grandfather, then technically the grandfather has the right to claim the child for everything. If the ex was working and claiming the child, she could release the exemption to your husband so that he could have the exemption and the child tax credit–but he’s not claiming the child at all so she can’t release the exemption.

  508. Jan Roberg on Sat, 19th Jan 2013 7:50 pm
  509. Hi Rob,
    You’re on the wrong page. You haven’t commited fraud. Breathe. There, feel better?
    You claimed 3 exemptions on your W4 form–that just means that your employer didn’t withhold as much as you should have withheld. Yes, it’s your own fault, but it’s not a crime or anything like that. Lots of people have done that.

    So what’s going to happen? Well, I’m with your girlfriend–you’ll probably owe on your taxes this year. And I’m also with your Mom–it was a mistake–although you’ll probably owe, you won’t be hit with any penalties or things like that. (You’re hanging with some smart women–you must be really cool!)

    So, what you want to do if prepare you taxes and figure out just how much you do owe. It’s possible that you don’t owe anything although I doubt it. Basically, the more money you make, the more you’ll wind up owing. If your income was fairly low, it will only be a few hundred dollars at most. If you made a lot of money–well then you’ll owe much more.

    So figure your taxes now and know how much you’ll owe. If you can save up enough to pay by April 15th that’s perfect. If you really owe way too much to pay, then you can set up an installment agreement. But try to pay it all now and get it over with.
    Also, you’ll want to go to your employer and change your withholding so you don’t have this problem again. Good luck.

  510. Jan Roberg on Sat, 19th Jan 2013 8:06 pm
  511. Hi Tee,
    Do I understand this correctly? You and your husband live with your stepkids, right? And the divorce decree gives the exwife the right to claim the stepkids on her taxes, right?

    Here’s the thing–the kids live with you so you and your husband are entitled to EIC (if your income qualifies) but the ex gets the exemption and child tax credit. Here’s a post explaining it: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2011/11/split-exemption-claiming-one-child-on-two-tax-returns-%E2%80%94-the-legal-way/

  512. Jan Roberg on Sat, 19th Jan 2013 8:38 pm
  513. Hi Key,
    I think you know this already but I’m going to say it anyway: it’s against the law to “sell” your kids exemptions to people. Meaning, a cousin has no legal right to claiming the children.
    Now, you’re still married and your wife has no income. It makes a whole lot of sense for her to file jointly with you and have you claim the children on your tax return. You might not want to file jointly with her though–she sounds like she could have other financial problems that you don’t know about.
    Therefore, she should sign the form 8332 and have you file as married filing separately and let you claim the exemptions and child tax credit.

    Now, I don’t like to be nasty but sometimes you just gotta put up a fight–I think you’ve got a card to play here. Either she signs the 8332 or you will file an official “fraud” report that someone who isn’t related to your children is claiming them on their taxes. Oh–here’s the form http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f3949a.pdf

    Now this isn’t a tax question, but I think it’s relevant to your situation. If your wife is as bad as you say she is, why does she have custody of your children? You’ve got a bigger issue here than your tax return.

  514. Jan Roberg on Sat, 19th Jan 2013 9:23 pm
  515. Hi Rosie,
    Rosie, I deleted your post. I think you’re in big trouble and we wouldn’t want the IRS or Immigration to be scanning my website to find people.
    I would hightail it to a tax attorney. Here’s the thing–you’ve got a tax fraud issue going. There’s a fine line between “tax fraud” and “criminal fraud”. As an enrolled agent, I have “privilege” which means that I can’t tell on my clients by law. That privilege is gone if the case turns criminal. If you came to my office in person, I’d refer you to a tax attorney–attorneys have privilege even in criminal cases.

    What’s happened is you’ve managed to “cross the line” in several areas. First, claiming head of household when you’re married is a big no-no in the eyes of the IRS. Now I’m guessing that you received EIC, and you can’t receive EIC if you or your husband doesn’t have a social security number–so that your second strike.

    Now, it’s perfectly legal for your husband to claim his children in Mexico for the child tax credit–but you filed head of household without him so you can’t claim his kids. Ouch.

    And the whole ITIN issue for kids in Mexico is a major hot potato. You didn’t say where you live, but the case in Indiana forced the IRS go make some changes nationally–if you’re in Indiana though, you’ll have even more trouble than if you’re in another part of the country because of the media attention.

    You should also see an immigration attorney. You’ve got problems here that are out of my league. Sorry.

  516. key on Sun, 20th Jan 2013 12:15 am
  517. so i spoke to her and apparently she already had someone file at h&r block. she didnt tell me who it was but im going to file tax fraud. can u explain the details of how i go about this. and since they are already going to get the return do i have any chance of recouping the lost money?

  518. key on Sun, 20th Jan 2013 12:26 am
  519. i am a complete idiowhen it comes to taxes and such so ne detailed as possible and if i do get some money back i would be more then happy to vmake a “donation” to ur firm. u really should be compensated for ur free legal advice

  520. key on Sun, 20th Jan 2013 12:34 am
  521. im currently workimng on the custody issue. thats a very sore subject tho. thank u for ur geniune concern tho. that makes feel ur good at ur job as well a righteous person. God bless u

  522. lashawn on Sun, 20th Jan 2013 2:49 am
  523. My cousin has been claming my son for years on her taxes witouut me knowing a total of five What should i do or where do i go To get it stopped will she go To jail i dont no y h& r block would let her claim a kid with no birth record or ss card also can i file head of if my husdanb and i live together on and off more off than on

  524. key on Sun, 20th Jan 2013 12:33 pm
  525. also if shesbluffing and i do claim my kids since i paid her in cash all year can she get me in trouble with the irs? if she is not bluffing and i claim my kids as well as whoever she let claim them what are the consequences for me and the other person?

  526. Jan Roberg on Sun, 20th Jan 2013 7:41 pm
  527. Hi Key,
    Here’s my post about how to report tax fraud: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2010/11/how-to-report-tax-fraud/
    That should give you the directions on how to do that.

    About claiming your kid’s exemptions–If you file your return as married filing separate, and claim the exemptions for your children–just the exemptions and child tax credit–here are the possible outcomes:

    1. you ex was lying and nobody else claimed the kids and everything will be fine
    2. your ex wasn’t lying and she let a cousing claim them–two possible outcomes there:
    a. the IRS takes away the cousin’s claim because it’s illegal and you get to keep the refund, or
    b. the IRS takes away the cousin’s claim but doesn’t let you have the refund either

    So, you might want to claim your kids–recognize that you might not get anything for it–but that you will mess up the cousin. But there’s a risk there because your wife isn’t going to sign the 8332 for you, so the IRS could deny you getting the refund. The worst case here I think would be for you to get the refund and for your wife to file a complaint and the IRS ask for the money back plus penalty and interest.

    Do not try to claim EIC–that you’ll lose and you don’t have a good argument. You do have a chance at winning if you claim just the exemption and the child tax credit. It’s still risky–but I think you’ve got “reasonable cause” and if you did lose, you could probably have the penalties abated.

    Good luck.

    Now, if you decide to make a donation–I can’t accept a donation to me, but I have a charity that I volunteer for. It’s called Slaying Dragons, they try to help people learn about mental health issues by putting on shows. They just did a new show about Alzheimer’s today. They’ve been running a show about depression. Here’s a link to their “How You Can Help” page, it has a donate now button. Thank you for your kindness.

  528. Jan Roberg on Sun, 20th Jan 2013 7:46 pm
  529. Hey Lashawn,
    I don’t understand, how is your cousin claiming your child for five years without you knowing about it? Are you not claiming your child? I guess I’m missing something here.
    Anyway, I guess it doesn’t really matter. The best way to stop someone from claiming your child is to claim your child yourself. It will throw the return into an audit–you too, but that’s how the whole thing gets sorted out.
    You cannot file as head of household if you and your husband live together–that’s tax fraud and you’d get yourself into trouble with the IRS instead of your cousin.
    Either you file jointly with your husband, or you file married filing separate–now if you file married filing separate-there’s no EIC–but you haven’t claimed your child for 5 years so I’m guessing EIC isn’t something you’re looking for anyway.
    You may go back three years and amend returns to claim your child.

  530. Kacey on Sun, 20th Jan 2013 9:52 pm
  531. I have a question a friend of mine claimed her kids that were in foster care at the timeknowing that she shouldnt of.can she go to prision for this

  532. Krystal on Mon, 21st Jan 2013 11:19 am
  533. Hi Jan, I have a question for you. My fiance and I have lived together since november 2011, thats when we bought a house together. My fiance is the only one that works, I go to school. I have 2 children that live with us, there biological father pays child support. In our court agreement he is able to claim one child and i am unless he is behind on child support. Well he is behind and since I am not working I will not be filing taxes. My fiance called HR BLOCK to see if he could claim my children, they told him he could claim me and my children. But from what I am reading here I feel like it would be fraud if he did. He made 38,000 so I dont think he would be able to get EIC. But would claiming them be fraud or does he have a right since I wasn’t working and I am not filing.

  534. Jan Roberg on Mon, 21st Jan 2013 7:57 pm
  535. Hi Kacey,
    While it’s rare for someone to go to jail for claiming their own kids, your friend could still get into trouble. Most likely it will be owing the IRS back the refund money plus penalties and interest. If she really wants to avoid trouble, she should amend her return and take her kids off. That way she’s the one making the change and fixing things, not the IRS going after her.

  536. Jan Roberg on Mon, 21st Jan 2013 8:14 pm
  537. Hi Krystal,
    You’re asking the right questions, that’s smart. Here’s a post that you should read: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2012/01/can-my-boyfriend-claim-my-child-by-a-different-father-on-his-tax-return-for-the-earned-income-credit/

    But here’s something else to know–your boyfriend can’t claim your kids for EIC or the child tax credit, but he can claim them (and you) for a dependency exemption. That’s what the H&R Block lady was saying (I hope.)

    So–here’s something else to consider–your ex is behind on the child support, but if he claims one of the children (once again, your ex can’t get EIC either because he doesn’t have custody) but if he claims for the dependency exemption — your ex can qualify for the child tax credit and that’s worth $1,000. So you might want to consider letting him claim your child if it will help you get your child support.

    Weigh your options and do what’s best for you and your family. The point is–you do have options. :)

  538. Chris and Sami on Tue, 22nd Jan 2013 11:13 am
  539. My wife Sami and I won a custody case this fall for her two children(Joint Legal/Sami Primary Custodian). The father has notified us that he is claiming the children. We don’t think he is eligible to do so. The 3 year old was with Sami for 183 nights and with the father for 183 nights. The 1 year old was with Sami for 175 nights and the father 173 nights. I understand the IRS will have to investigate who the primary custodian is. Does the court order of Custody ruling in our favor help us out being that it is so close on actual days? And will we be penalized if we go ahead and claim them or should we file only claiming the 1 year old and possibly do an amendment later? The court papers say nothing about who can claim the children.

  540. Michael Siebert on Tue, 22nd Jan 2013 2:24 pm
  541. From Pub 17: “If the parents do not file a joint return together but both parents claim the child as a qualifying child, 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. If the child lived with each parent for the same amount of time, the IRS will treat the child as the qualifying child of the parent who had the higher adjusted gross income (AGI) for the year.”

    If Sami and Ex claim the same children, both of your returns will be flagged. Being that the days are so close makes things tough. But keep in mind that if Sami and Ex both claim the children, both returns will be flagged and the refund process will be considerably lengthy-approximately 75 days.

    If you don’t mind a non liquid tax refund, consider proving yourself in the audit process. Perhaps strike a deal where Sami claims one child and ex claims the other.

  542. Chris and Sami on Wed, 23rd Jan 2013 9:04 am
  543. We offered him 1 child to claim every year, he declined. We told him there would be an investigation, he replied, “bring em on.” I am pretty sure we have the Higher AGI. Is there any way to expedite the investigation? And what constitutes proof of a 2 year old and a new born infant staying the night?

  544. NENA on Wed, 23rd Jan 2013 7:45 pm
  545. i know a person who pays illegals for their kids ss number to claim the EIC credit and has being doing this for more then 10 years she claims them as her grand kids foster kids she has not been caught i don’t think its right for her to get all this money
    how can i report her i have 3 kids and i know how hard it is to take care of them and i don’t even get child support i work 10 hrs a day at my job and thats why im so gratful for the irs to give me the EIC credit that i do need thxs

  546. NENA on Wed, 23rd Jan 2013 8:19 pm
  547. i forgot she also gets food stamps , i don’t

  548. Jan Roberg on Wed, 23rd Jan 2013 8:50 pm
  549. Hi Nena,
    We were just talking about that in the office today. You’ve got the people who really need the EIC and then you’ve got the folks who are commiting fraud. There’s $14 Billion (yes, that with a B) worth of EIC fraud every year. The government’s running out of money and services to people who really need it are going to get cut because of folks to scam the system. Sorry, I’ll get off my soapbox now.
    Anyway, here’s a link that tells you how to report tax fraud. http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2010/11/how-to-report-tax-fraud/

    One thing to know–you’ll never know what the IRS does with the information. They won’t tell you because of the confidentiality laws. But you should know that they’ve stiffened up the rules to keep people like that from claiming kids that aren’t theirs. We’ll see if it works, but at least they’re trying.

  550. Jan Roberg on Wed, 23rd Jan 2013 9:24 pm
  551. Hi Chris and Sami,
    You’ve got your work cut out for you. The decree showing that Sami is the primary custodail parent may help a little, but the IRS doesn’t put much stock into them because so many are just plain wrong.

    Prepare for battle now. What do you have to prove the kids are with you? Lease? Daycare? A log book? Log book–calendar? I really like the calendar.Example: “kids were with me because of Gramma’s birthday.” “Kids with ex because of Barney show.” See what I mean? Can you account for where your children were for every single night? That would help.

    Now, it sounds like the ex isn’t going to be cooperative–that’s too bad because sometimes splitting exemptions is a win/win situation. I know some families that plan it out that way.

    The best thing you can do for your case is that when the whole audit process starts, answer the questions and submit the documentation as quickly as possible. I’m sorry, but I think this is going to be ugly for you. Good luck.

  552. David Silva on Thu, 24th Jan 2013 2:28 am
  553. Me and my wife were together for 3 years before we got married i been claiming her son for thos years but now we are married im i in any kind of troble with the irs

  554. Michael Siebert on Thu, 24th Jan 2013 12:02 pm
  555. David,

    Are you the biological father? If you aren’t, then you could not claim the children for purposes of getting the earned income tax credit-but only the exemptions. However, the IRS does not know this.

    If I were you, I would file amended returns and pay up.

  556. Maria on Fri, 25th Jan 2013 6:40 am
  557. Hi

    My husband’s ex gf was trying to claim their daughter, But she isn’t working at all, she only depends on the child support weve been giving them each month.and some food stamps.now, the ex gf wants to claim their daughter( she ask her sister to claim their daughter) and i would like to know if its possible she can claim the daughter? i dont think it is right because my husband has been working his butt to support our family plus her daughter on her ex’s.

  558. Maria on Fri, 25th Jan 2013 7:14 am
  559. I would like to really clarify the situation, im sorry for another post :)
    My husband takes her daughter every wednesday and sunday. and Child custody is still process on the court. He claim his daughter last year. and we gave the ex half of that return. My husband told me that he really doesn’t have the right to claim the daughter since the custody thing is not done yet. But weve been supporting that kid since shes born. (I dont understand why he cant claim her daughter since hes the dad and been paying child support) Now, the mother of the child (ex gf) told us that her sister will claim the daughter. Her and her sister together with her mom lives together plus another friend.She doesnt work and her mom. so that means we are supporting them plus her new baby. (from another man) I just want to understand if we have the right to claim my husband’s daughter?and is it possible for her sister to claim both her kids since she doesnt work? I hope you answer my question. i would really appreciate it. Thank you

  560. Jan Roberg on Fri, 25th Jan 2013 10:03 pm
  561. Hi David,
    So you claimed your wife’s son on your tax return before you were married. It depends–did you get EIC or did you just claim the exemption? It seems to me that you would have been legally entitled to claim the exemption if your wife wasn’t working those years. If she was working, or you claimed EIC–then you shouldn’t have claimed the boy.

    Of course, now that you’re married, you should be claiming your stepson.

  562. Jan Roberg on Sun, 27th Jan 2013 9:30 am
  563. Hi Maria,
    It sounds like the girlfriend has custody of the daughter. If they live with the sister, it’s possible that the sister could claim the daughter is she’s supporting the ex and the child–but if not–then it’s illegal.
    Here’s a link to the EITC website that has all sorts of questionaires to help you figure things out: http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Earned-Income-Tax-Credit-(EITC)-––Use-the-EITC-Assistant-to-Find-Out-if-You-Should-Claim-it.

    If your husband is supporting the child, but not living with her, she should ask the ex to sign an 8332 form so that he can at least claim the exemption and child tax credit. He cannot legally claim EIC if he does not live with the child.

    Here’s a post about splitting exemptions: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2011/11/split-exemption-claiming-one-child-on-two-tax-returns-%E2%80%94-the-legal-way/

  564. Mrs. Farmer on Mon, 28th Jan 2013 10:15 am
  565. I claimed my niece on my taxes because she lived with my husband and myself for 9 months out of the year. What will happen if my sister claims her? Will I be in trouble or her. It’s her daughter. I have proof that she lived with me. What should I do to make sure I will not be in trouble?

  566. Jodi on Mon, 28th Jan 2013 12:01 pm
  567. I have a train wreck here. I’m married, but my husband has been in prison the entire year. I also have three children. One turned 18 and moved out on his own in September. The other two I have joint custody of and we alternate weeks between their father and I. Last year I did not file a return, as I was in school full time and essentially lived off of student loans. My ex-husband claimed our two sons on his 2011 return. This year I took evening/online classes and worked at a restaurant and also cleaned houses. After checking the IRS documents, I seemed I could claim the income from house cleaning as Household Employee wages. I have started my return online and it shows my income broke down with the HSH notation beside it, plus another amount which I believe is the balance of my Pell Grant after tuition was paid. I am planning on claiming my son who turned 18 and moved after graduation and one of my other sons. With this information, is there any problem with filing as HOH and claiming EIC for the two qualifying children? Or will the lack of a filed return last year be a problem? My husband was employed in 2011, but was sent to prison in September 2011 and has remained there since and I did not file on his behalf.

    Thank you for your time!

  568. Priscilla on Mon, 28th Jan 2013 7:18 pm
  569. I have a situation where I am 24 years old and have lived at home for about 5 months. My mom wants to claim me so I wont see my $1500. Can she do that or will she get in trouble? I,havnt gone to school in two years.

  570. Jan Roberg on Mon, 28th Jan 2013 9:57 pm
  571. Hi Mrs. Farmer,
    Well it seem like you have a plausible argument–what does the mom have? That’s going to be your issue. Did the mom live with the child also? If yes, you have a problem, if no–you’re probably good. Here’s a link to the EITC assistant: http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Earned-Income-Tax-Credit-(EITC)-%E2%80%93–Use-the-EITC-Assistant-to-Find-Out-if-You-Should-Claim-it.

  572. Jan Roberg on Tue, 29th Jan 2013 6:23 am
  573. Hi Jodi,
    Wow, you are juggling to keep things going aren’t you? Let’s break this down a little bit (‘cuz I gotta to make sense.)

    Okay–the big thing that jumps out at me is the Pell Grant. Pell Grant is not income if you’re using it for tuition. And it’s not earned income if you’re going after EIC–so that probably doesn’t even belong on your tax return.

    Since your husband is in jail–head of household is probably the correct filing status.

    Not filing last year is not a problem.

    You probably don’t make that much money for an exemption to help. Maybe let your ex claim the exemption and CTC on his kids. Play with the numbers–see what you’re sacrificing.

    About your husband–he had income last year. You may be able to file jointly with him for 2011 claiming your child that you have together. You may need permission from the warden (or get power of attorney to sign) but that might help you financially. Now here’s the thing–if he’s in prison for some type of fraud or financial stuff–you might not want to file jointly with him. If he’s basically a stand up kind of guy but he done did stupid–then that’s different. You’re the one who knows him.

    Now–the house cleaning–are you a household employee? Or were you self employed? Did your employers withhold taxes on you? You may be liable for self employment tax. Lots of issues there. I’d get some help with your taxes–you’ve got too many things to juggle. You can find free tax help by clicking here: http://irs.treasury.gov/freetaxprep/
    And here’s the phone number: 1 800 906-9887

    Because you’ve got so many issues, you want to have a set of eyes with some training take a look to make sure you’re okay. Good luck.

  574. Mrs. Farmer on Tue, 29th Jan 2013 7:00 am
  575. Not sure i understand the question. What does the mom have?….. I had my sister sign a Temp. Guardianship paper and had it notarized. I also have her school records and text messages from her mom begging me to claim her even though she didn’t live with her cause she needs money. It’s pretty pathetic.

  576. Robert on Tue, 29th Jan 2013 8:00 pm
  577. 1.My 18 year old niece stayed with us for 6 months then moved out and got a job and made about 5,200 for that year do i claim her for the 6 months i provided for her or does she file on her own?

    2.My wife has a retirement plan were do i find it and were do i enter it on the tax form.

  578. Jan Roberg on Tue, 29th Jan 2013 8:03 pm
  579. Hi Priscilla,
    It sounds to me like your mom can’t claim you as a dependent. Do you made over $3800? If yes, then she really can’t claim you. If not, then how would you qualify for a $1500 refund? So, she probably can’t.
    Here’s an IRS link that tells you if you can claim a dependent–use it like you’re your mom to figure out if she can claim you: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Who-Can-I-Claim-as-a-Dependent%3F

  580. Jan Roberg on Tue, 29th Jan 2013 8:44 pm
  581. @ Mrs. Farmer–
    by what does the mom have, I mean what proof does she have that the daughter lived with her?
    Why would she beg you to claim her and then claim the girl herself? Sounds like you’ve got your work cut out for you. But the school records are a good proof.

  582. Jodi on Tue, 29th Jan 2013 10:20 pm
  583. That’s probably the best course of action, sitting down with someone. I don’t know how the Pell Grant ended up on there, I entered the information off the 1098T and that’s what it spit back to me on the return. I keep detailed records of when I clean houses, simply because without a schedule, it would be impossible to keep it all straight so that will help with determining quarterly, if I’d be considered self employed. The most I made from one employer was $1,300 over the year, but I had nine houses I worked for, so I entered it was household employee wages since it was under the cut off amount of $1,800. I admit, I have no idea what I’m doing so I’ll see if I can find someone reasonable and legit to help!

  584. leelee on Tue, 29th Jan 2013 10:58 pm
  585. What are the chances my friend could b audited for having claimed kids that weren’t hers or related the past 3 years? I mean really Whats the liklihood? Ive learned alot reading these blogs and I understand the Irs is cracking down. I just talkked to her after reading this and she wont b doing it anymore. But she just had her 1st baby and will b filing her. Do u think filing yet another child tho this time its hers, will possibly raise a red flag? Shes received about 1400 the past 3 years. Also one of my former employers didn’t take taxes out on me on my 2011 taxes… or next to nothing. The girl who filed for me said the w2 didn’t look right. Id have to find my returns (I really need to invest in a file cabamnet for gods sake) But it just didn’t seem right when I received the w2 They claimed I made a lot less than I really did. IF they did something fishy what would they have to gain in claiming their servers (restuaraunt) made much less than they really did? They had us hand write in a log book daily our tips. Btw ur free help and relentlessly answering these questions is amazing. God bless ur sweet exhausted soul lol

  586. leelee on Tue, 29th Jan 2013 11:14 pm
  587. Id have to locate the w2s from 2011 but I remember looking at it thnkkng how could I have made that little when I know I made $ 60-80 5 days a week I rem looking at fed taxes they took at it was nothing or next to nothing And I rem my friend whonfiled for me saying the fed taxes aren’t right somethings up but she filed anyway. B4 that job I always received about 4 grand with m son. With this job I had my son and my new daughter to file and received 4 for both. I thought wow that wicks but took. I was only at the job for the year of 2011 but it wasn’t much of an income difference than the previous year or atleast wasn’t suppose to b. I know they lied about my income but what do these private business owners havve to gain? Is it to late tonsay something?

  588. leelee on Tue, 29th Jan 2013 11:22 pm
  589. *I thought wow that sucks but oook (I know I shouldve been grateful but I was hoping for more)

  590. Jan Roberg on Wed, 30th Jan 2013 8:45 pm
  591. Hi Robert–
    There are so many questions involved in claiming a dependent. There’s a good chart in the IRS pub 17, here’s a link: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p17.pdf
    You want page 28. (There’s over 200 pages, you’ll never find it unless you know it’s there.)
    But here’s some quick and dirty issues for you:
    1. What’s the girls mother and father doing? Always an issue.
    2. Did she provide over half of her support? At $5700–I’m guessing no–but that’s a fair question.
    3. Usually, the income breakdown is $3800 where you couldn’t claim her–but since she’s only 18, she can still be claimed even if she’s not in college this year.

    But do check the pub 17 and make sure–there’s lot’s of issues in claiming a dependent.

    Now, part 2: You mean where’s the retirment plan on the W2? It should be in box 12, but sometimes I find it in box 14. Here’s some information on that: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2012/02/what-all-those-boxes-on-your-w2-mean/

  592. Jan Roberg on Wed, 30th Jan 2013 9:01 pm
  593. @Jodi—-
    JODI JODI JODI!!!! Are you still there? The 1098 might be money for you. There’s a college tax credit that goes with that form! Please–do get some help. You don’t want to miss out on that.

  594. Jan Roberg on Wed, 30th Jan 2013 9:15 pm
  595. Hi Leelee,
    Okay, the cold hard fact: 1.2% of tax returns get audited. So that’s about 1 for every hundred tax returns.

    Now, if the rightful parents decide to claim one of those kids she claimed illegally–well then the chance of an audit just went up to about 95% But only she knows how much risk she’s got there.

    About your W2–you’re a waitress–your wage probably is really low. What about your tips? Did you report them to your employer? Are they listed on your W2? Box 7 will show your tip income. Read this: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2012/02/what-all-those-boxes-on-your-w2-mean/

    Check box 7 and see if that makes more sense. If it doesn’t, ask your employer.

  596. Jan Roberg on Wed, 30th Jan 2013 9:31 pm
  597. Hey Leelee,
    you can get all of your 2011 w2 information from the IRS. Call 1 800 829-1040. You are going to ask for a “wage and income transcript” for 2011. It will have all of your federal W2 information right on there.

    (You will be on hold a long time, but they’ll get you the information. They will even fax it to you if you have a fax machine or access to one.)

  598. Robert Fillmore on Thu, 31st Jan 2013 12:47 pm
  599. My sister has been living with me for the last 8 and a half months. She has a son (my nephew) who lives with us as well. She is not working at the time and im the one that supports both her and her son. When i get my tax forms in the mail and go to a preparer is it possible for me to claim him as a independent? Or is that bad for me to do so. And what will i need to prove all of this to the preparer?

  600. Robert Fillmore on Thu, 31st Jan 2013 12:50 pm
  601. and i meant dependent

  602. kelly on Fri, 1st Feb 2013 10:07 am
  603. i have a question, just wanted to know. my sons god mother was my babysitter last year from march t dec 2012. she receives ssi for her newborn twins and foodstamps during 2012. if i claim her as a babysitter would that mess her up with ssi and foodstamps because of the extra money for babysitting ?

  604. Amy on Fri, 1st Feb 2013 2:39 pm
  605. So I think I have a bit of a sticky situation… My ex sister in law (my brother is non-existent) has 4 children all of which were removed from her home and placed in state custody on May 2, 2012. All of the children were placed with relatives while the state/court is involved. Specifically speaking about my niece, who came to live with me and my husband on August 14th 2012. In between she was living with another aunt. So she spent 122 days with the mother, 103 days with the other aunt and 140 days with my family. I have claimed her as a qualifying relative for the time (5 months) she has spent with us. I had told the mother that I was going to claim her and the other aunt thinks I should claim her since my niece will be adopted by us in a couple months and we will be continuing her care for the next couple of years (she’s just turned 16 at the end of 2012). The mother is throwing a fit since she’s broke and her unemployment has run out and she’s now surviving on her boyfriends’ unemployment income. I feel that I have provided at least half the support for my niece for the year, how do I prove this if needed? Also the mother brought up a multiple support declaration, how would this work if no one can agree to agree? Should I amend and no one claims her? We’re only getting $741 for her so the money’s not really a big deal it’s just that the mother has done nothing to provide for her even when the kids were in her care and I truly feel that she should not have the right to claim the kids. If I do amend and not claim her is there a way to alert the IRS so that no one else may claim my niece without my signature on the declaration also? It’s a big fat mess….. Please help!

  606. Jan Roberg on Fri, 1st Feb 2013 9:24 pm
  607. Hi Robert,
    Here’s a link that will help you gather the documents that you need to claim EIC: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2012/11/what%e2%80%99s-new-with-the-earned-income-tax-credit-you-need-to-know-this/

    You can probably claim your nephew, but the question you’re going to need to deal with is–what’s up with the father? Where is he in all this and does he have any rights to the exemption? He’ll be your biggest problem if he has any rights to the exemption.

  608. Trinity Parker on Fri, 1st Feb 2013 10:12 pm
  609. I need help, I have been waiting on a disability decision for 3 years now. I have 3 children. I have been in and out of surgeries and hospitals and have had to have help from a friend. She has been here almost every day and has helped pay bills that we were unable to pay, and bought all of their clothe. Is she allowed to claim my children, or one of them? My husband is their step father, he finally started working last year since she started helping me out. He wanted to “split” the children since we both took care of them, like he claim 2 and she claim one. Is this legal? I sure don’t want to get in trouble and my son is on SSI for his disability also. Please help me so I don’t risk losing my kids or fines, get in trouble or anything else. Thank you.

  610. Jennifer on Fri, 1st Feb 2013 10:20 pm
  611. HI,

    I was wondering… I was thinking of claiming my mother on my taxes. She has lived with my for the entire year and has no job or other income. I am her sole provider. My problem is this… she still owes some back child support and I am wondering if I claim her as a dependent on my taxes will they garnish my return to pay that debt?

  612. Jan Roberg on Sat, 2nd Feb 2013 12:49 pm
  613. Hi Kelly,
    Here’s some information about the nanny tax: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2011/11/nanny-tax-what-to-do-about-your-household-employees/

    You’ll have to check with social services and ssi to find out if your child’s godmother would be in trouble with them for earning the income.

  614. Jan Roberg on Sat, 2nd Feb 2013 1:26 pm
  615. Amy,
    Stick to your guns. It sounds like the mom just wants the EIC and she ain’t going to qualify for it. (Having the court take your children away is usually a warning sign that someone should not claim EIC.)
    Face it, by you claiming your neice, you’re helping the country. Seriously–you’re preventing EIC fraud, you’re keeping the national debt from going up a few thousand dollars, and you’re probably keeping drugs out of your ex-sister-in-laws system. (Okay, you didn’t say she was involved with drugs but if the court took the kids away–I made a leaping guess and drugs is probably the nicest option.)
    So–thank you for the service you provide to the country. That sounds a bit over the top, but you really think about it–Thanks.

  616. Jan Roberg on Sat, 2nd Feb 2013 1:39 pm
  617. Hi Trinity,
    Don’t try to “split” an exemption with your friend. You and your husband should file jointly and claim them on your tax return. If you get a little money to spare, than you may make a gift to her from your refund. But it’s against the law to let someone claim your kids in the manner that you describe and I don’t think you’re wanting to break the law, you just want to do right by your friend. I’d hate to see either of you get in trouble for that.

  618. Jan Roberg on Sat, 2nd Feb 2013 1:41 pm
  619. Jennifer,
    If you claim your mother as a dependent on your taxes the IRS will not levy your refund for her debt. Make sure you meet all the requirements before you claim her, but if you can, do it and don’t worry.

  620. Casey on Sat, 2nd Feb 2013 5:32 pm
  621. My ex boyfriend and I have two children. I recently prepared his taxes for him and allowed him to claim the children even though I am the custodial parent. The refund was split into two account his and my husbands ( I am remarried now). My ex is now angry that he didn’t receive more of the refund into his account. What should I do. What actions could he take. He was present while the taxes where prepared. He electronically signed them to e-file and gave his Tax ID number to verify that he was indeed there and it was him.

  622. Jan Roberg on Sun, 3rd Feb 2013 1:12 pm
  623. At Casey,
    You prepared you ex boyfriend’s tax return.
    He is the father of your kids.
    He is your ex–he doesn’t live with you anymore, right?
    He claimed EIC on the kids and he deposited the whole refund into your account.
    You kept the EIC and gave him the rest.

    Now he wants more money, right?

    If I have the facts straight here then this is my answer:
    1. It’s against the law for him to claim EIC on kids that he don’t live with. Even if they’re his own–if he didn’t live with them, he doesn’t get EIC.
    2. If you want EIC–then you claim your own kids on your own return–you don’t put them on his return and have him pay you. That’s tax fraud.
    3. It’s also against the law to have your refund deposited into your tax preparer’s bank account. Now I’m guessing that you’re not a professional preparer so you should be safe on that one, but just in case–I figure I should tell you that.

    So basically, what you two did was tax fraud. I’m required by law to give you this advice:

    You need to amend both of your tax returns and claim what is rightfully yours. Your refunds should go into your own bank accounts. If you fix your tax returns before April 15th the previoius returns will not go on your tax record.

    Now to anybody out there reading this–if you don’t want your money to go to somebody–don’t deposit your refund into their bank account. There is no way for you to get it back!

    Now, in this case, he might hire a lawyer and take you to court–but then he’s going to have to admit in court that he commited tax fraud. I’m not a lawyer, I can’t give legal advice, so you’ll want to talk to a lawyer. But from a non-lawyer, common sense point of view, I would not want to go before a judge and say I commited a crime and I’m suing my co-conspirator for my share of the loot. Maybe that’s just me–but that does seem kind of stupid. But like I said, you’ll need to get a professional opinion on that.

  624. Kimberly on Sun, 3rd Feb 2013 1:32 pm
  625. Hi Jan,

    You have another one of these sites/question and answer pages up somewhere with google and I asked a question on it, and now I can’t find it to get my answer :(

  626. Jan Roberg on Sun, 3rd Feb 2013 1:54 pm
  627. Kimberly,
    Your answer is over here: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2011/05/oops-there%e2%80%99s-a-mistake-in-my-taxes-how-do-i-fix-it-amended-returns/

    You are fine. Just amend your return. Everything will be okay. :)

  628. Miranda on Mon, 4th Feb 2013 11:36 am
  629. Hello Jan, I have a situation which Im sure you hear many times. I want to amend my taxes which I sent for this year. I still have not gotten my returns back but I need to amened to show some lottery winnings I failed to report and also after caluculating the time my niece were with me I noticed it was not 6 months. It was a little less so I would like to take them off but I am afraid if I do at this point that they are going to think I am reporting false EIC credit. Do you think they well penalize me for this? Or how about if they audit me and denie the EIC before I even send the Amended Form. I dont want to look like “hey I falsely repoted they were with me 6 months and now I want to report I lied.” Because I Do Not know how these people think sometimes you want to correct and error but they look at you like if it was not and error like you lied all along. I am still going to file an amendment but what happens if I recive an audit letter before I send in the amendment?? Im I screwed? I mean it was only by 1 month off they were with me 5 months but even if they ask for proff I would not have any other then a swoen statement from my sister that they were with me but it don matter at this point because it was not 6 months. I hope I dont get audit but I want to correct this I do not want to take the money and then be penalized and screwed after. Its better to talk with the truth and it well set one free

  630. Tanesha on Tue, 5th Feb 2013 1:48 am
  631. A friend told me she does taxes. Last year I trusted her. Until I recurved a letter in the mail from my school garnishing my taxes and saying I got over 6 grand back from returns. She put her kids on my claim and IDidnt know nor did I agree. When asked for my pin to claim my taxes this year, she said she had an associate do my taxes! I mever knew that! I’ve been up crying and sick about it because I don’t know what to d!

  632. Tanesha on Tue, 5th Feb 2013 1:59 am
  633. Please help, or inform me what to do next. Please email me! PS, I never signed any paperwork, what do I do?

  634. Michael on Tue, 5th Feb 2013 3:55 pm
  635. 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

  636. Jan Roberg on Tue, 5th Feb 2013 7:53 pm
  637. Hi Miranda,
    Get your amended return all set and ready to go. I still wouldn’t send it until you receive your refund. That said–if you get a letter or notice saying that someone else claimed your neice–you’ll have your amended return ready to go. Besides, you’re also amending your gambling winnings as well.
    I do understand that you want to amend as quickly as possible–but try to hold off a bit. Check the “where’s my refund” and follow the progress. If something goes wrong they should give you some type of code to tell you what the problem is.

  638. Jan Roberg on Tue, 5th Feb 2013 9:17 pm
  639. Hi Tanesha,
    You need to contact the IRS and let them know that you are a victim. You’ve got some issues that need to be resolved. I’m concerned that you could be in real trouble.

  640. mariah on Wed, 6th Feb 2013 1:26 am
  641. My step son lived with me and my husband from april 2012 till oct 2012 his mother was in and out of jail. we provided all his care when he was with us and on top of that fought and fought with child support to stop paying current child support since we had the child. we went to file our taxes and we got rejected stating someone had already claimed the child. she worked one month last year and that was it. We are not sure if she claimed him or her father. he has been claiming him for 5 years to give her the money. but my husbands son had not lived at his grandfathers house at all last year and we have documents to prove he was in our care and that he was the custodial parent durning that time. What can we do i feel he should have the right since we cared for him more then half the year.

  642. Leann on Wed, 6th Feb 2013 7:31 am
  643. Hi, A friend of mine got married last year. She wants to claim the EIC. I told her that if her income is above a certain amount, then she won’t be able to. Well, her tax preparer told her that if she hasn’t changed her social security card to her married name, then she can get the EIC. Her and her husband did the married filing separately. I don’t get how they did this. Isn’t it fraud?

  644. ashlee on Thu, 7th Feb 2013 1:44 am
  645. I’m in a bit of a rut. I’m not for sure what to do. My ex step sister has 3 kids and when her husband got deported I stepped up and moved in with her to help support her and the children everything was already in their name so I didn’t change anything to my name. But I did give her cash or money orders for rent and bills. Now Im being reviewed what do I need to do I claimed head of house hold and the children as my neices and nephew I was sure I could do it but after research I’m beginning to see that it wasn’t Okay..what do I do?

  646. rose on Thu, 7th Feb 2013 4:21 pm
  647. hi,
    my question is, is there anyway to charge someone with a crime against filing taxes on their biological child that has never lived in their home, been in their custody an does not pay child support on?
    my childs father has filed taxes on our two daughter for the past four years. everytime i try to claim them i get rejected. i know that i must submit documents an all. ive spoken with the irs. but did not ask them what can i do to stop him in the future from filing again. i mean basically he is stealing money that he dont deserve & my kids he claimed see no benifet from that money cause he dont ever see them talk to them or send any money or gifts. what to do????

  648. Sara on Thu, 7th Feb 2013 9:27 pm
  649. So my two uncles have been putting me and my 2 other siblings in their taxes, even though we’re clearly not their children, and we don’t live with them. This has pussed me off for so many years, because our parents should use us in their taxes, but my uncles don’t let them. They have been illegally using us in their taxes just to get money. This has been going on since I was 6 years old and now I’m 17! We’re way too scared to tell on them. That’s why I hate the law here! I mean, why doesn’t anyone do background checks on the people that do their taxes so they could see if the person that’s using these children in his taxes actually have kids! My uncles don’t even have kids! It kills me that they’ve been getting away with this for so many years. CLEARLY, whoever does the tax returned needs to actually start doing some background Check on the people that turn in taxes. This is so messes up right now. It needs to change!

  650. liza on Fri, 8th Feb 2013 6:35 pm
  651. im 23 years old….my half sister lives in new jersey which is where her daughter used to live at 6 months ago till there was a lil family problem and her daughter ended up living with me and my boyfriend for the past 6 months…we have been providing her with everything she needs…the only thing is that she is 16 years of age and she goes to school but in jersey which we take her to school since is only 45 min away….i didn’t change her school cause idk she almost done so i didn’t want her to start new some where else….my only problem is i don’t really have any prove that she here with me beside the fact that my half sister is okay with it….so idk if it was okay for me to claim her or if i wasn’t supposed to? also I’m guessing can they find out her school isn’t in the same state as where i file my taxes….??? will they probably question me about that??…i still haven’t receive no money from them so idk what should i do??… I’m really scare cause I’m not sure if i did the right things…

  652. liza on Fri, 8th Feb 2013 6:43 pm
  653. i forgot to mention her daughter has never been claim in the past since her father is in another country in the caribean and my sister has never worked on the books

  654. Concerned on Sat, 9th Feb 2013 6:56 am
  655. For EIC fraud – when does the IRS prosecute? I mean if someone is willing to pay the amount owed, will they still go on and take them to court? Especially if the amount is under $15,000?

    These are just questions I am asking – no one that I know of is in trouble.. not at all.

    I mean EIC fraud is not a major deal like the Wesley Snipes case (not filing his taxes at all) right?

    How far can they go back for EIC fraud? as long as they want… I mean I see a lot of people who get away with this stuff all the time and years have passed and they are absolutely fine. Can you please explain further?

  656. brandy h on Sat, 9th Feb 2013 10:12 pm
  657. For the last 3 years someone I don’t know who has been using my 9 year olds social security number on their tax returns. The first two times I was told by my tax preparer someone had used the number but it could be a simple clerical error and if anything came up we would have to prove he was our child, nothing ever came out of it so we didn’t worry and we recieved the money. They just started sending letters in the mail that we need to prove residency and we went to file again this year and was told we were rejected due to someone using our sons social security number. So now we are going to file by paper hoping it will throw up a red flag. No one that we know has his number and me and my husband are together and we always file jointly so we have no idea who it is. We have tried calling the fraud hotline but they don’t seem to care, have visited the irs in person they don’t seem to care. I have put together so much proof to give them, but still feel uneasy because this is my child and no one but my husband and I seem concerned. I have asked them to give me a pin but they said we didn’t need one. I’m looking at what is my son going to do when he becomes an adult. Anything could happen. I just need some advice on what else I can do to show the irs I mean buisness and want this situation solved and someone prosecuted as this is SO very stressfull. Thanks so much.

  658. AJ on Sun, 10th Feb 2013 1:54 am
  659. Hi

    What can I do in this situation? I am a paid tax preparer. I was told that a angry family member of mine falsely reported me to the IRS claiming that I committed fraud with her boyfriends tax return. The truth of the matter is that she wanted me to and I told him about it anyway. He was audited and she is angry at me saying I did something to cause the audit. This is ridiculous. She doesn’t understand that I did the work, spent the time and was never paid. Why would I do something to cause a red flag to go off? I DONT LIKE WORKING FOR FREE. So what can I expect from the IRS by her accusing me of misconduct?

  660. Brandi on Sun, 10th Feb 2013 12:33 pm
  661. Hello Jan,
    Here is my issue: My fiance filed his taxes online by himself this year. I didn’t work, so he is claiming me, my 2 kids and our 1 child that we have together. He assumed that since he is able to claim my 2 kids that the would also be able to get the eic for them too, so he checked yes next to their names on his returns. I know that he is only allowed the eic for our 1 child together. So what should we do to correct this? It was an honest mistake and I don’t want him in trouble for something he thought was right.

  662. gerald gray on Sun, 10th Feb 2013 3:31 pm
  663. i know a woman who claimed her daughter for a dependent,she pays child support but i know for a fact the child doesnt live in with her because the child is in states custody for almost a year can woman get in any trouble claiming child for all that extra money?

  664. Jan Roberg on Sun, 10th Feb 2013 5:04 pm
  665. Michael,
    I told you on another page, no EIC unless you have actual custody of the child. She must live with you.

  666. Jan Roberg on Sun, 10th Feb 2013 5:06 pm
  667. Hi Pam,
    So much for the promises to fix it. The Office of the Treasury Inspector General made a report and made suggestions to the IRS about this saying that people like you should be given a PIN number for their kids. The IRS said, thanks for the suggestion, we’re going to do our own thing.
    Well, you see how that’s working. Sorry.

  668. Jan Roberg on Sun, 10th Feb 2013 5:08 pm
  669. Hi Mariah,
    submit your tax return by mail. Line up those documents and be ready for the IRS audit. Sounds like you’ve got a winning case.

  670. Jan Roberg on Sun, 10th Feb 2013 5:10 pm
  671. Hi Leann,
    Married filing separately gets no EIC. If they live together and say they’re not married, (claiming head of household) well yes that is tax fraud.

  672. Jan Roberg on Sun, 10th Feb 2013 5:15 pm
  673. Hi Ashlee,
    Are you sure you’re in the wrong? You say your “ex-step sister”. She’s your step sister. Just because your parents divorced, aren’t you still step sisters?

    If that’s the only reason you’re in the wrong–I’d fight on that one. If there’s other reasons you’re in the wrong–then okay. Here’s what you do–go ahead and explain to the IRS that you made a mistake. You’ll have to pay back what you owe, you’ll probably need to set up an installment agreement–I’m guessing it’s too much to just pay off.

    It’s no fun to pay back the IRS, but if you’re truly in the wrong, that’s really your only option. Maybe you could do an offer in compromise or something, but check out all your other options first. Good luck.

  674. Jan Roberg on Sun, 10th Feb 2013 5:17 pm
  675. Hi Rose,
    The best way to get your ex into trouble is for you do go ahead and file your documents. That’s the best way to get at him. Nothing is more effective. Don’t be lazy about that.

  676. Jan Roberg on Sun, 10th Feb 2013 5:20 pm
  677. Hi Sara,
    I agree with you. The IRS has new rules that people are supposed to do more what they call “due diligence”. But if tax preparers don’t bother, it won’t get better. Sorry your parents are being bullied.

  678. Jan Roberg on Sun, 10th Feb 2013 5:25 pm
  679. Hi Concerened,
    I honestly don’t know when the IRS decides on “jail” versus just fines. There’s actually a formula that I saw once related to dollar amounts (like you said, Wesley Snipes owed over a million–definitely jail). That said, every so often they get a bee in their behind about someone.

    Usually, with EIC fraud, if it’s truly a family member–there’s not jail, it’s just a fine. But if it’s a person who is not related–the likelihood of prison jumps up and up with the more children claimed and the amount of cash–and then it doesn’t have to be millions. If read of lots of cases in Florida where they’ve caught EIC fraudsters and tossed them in jail–I’m not sure if that’s because they have more fraud in Florida or if the IRS prosecutors are more aggressive there.

    That’s about as much information on that as I’ve got. Sorry.

  680. Jan Roberg on Sun, 10th Feb 2013 5:32 pm
  681. Hey AJ,
    Truth be told, you did commit fraud didn’t you? Now I’m guessing that you’re not an EA, RTRP, or a CPA are you? So you’re not covered by the ethical standards that professional preparers who must follow circular 230 are under. Otherwise, you’d look up the sanctions listed there.
    Do you work for a big company like H&R Block? I’d expect to get fired. Or do you work for yourself? I’d expect the IRS to show up at your doorstep and audit your EIC documentation.
    If this is the only naughty thing you’ve ever done, you’ll probably be okay in the audit. If you’ve been playing fast and loose with the EIC rules, remember the the penalty has gone up from $100 per return to $500 per return for not having proper due diligence. You should probably get your ducks in a row.

  682. Jan Roberg on Sun, 10th Feb 2013 5:33 pm
  683. Hi Brandi,
    Have your fiance amend his tax return. If he does it before April 15th, it won’t go on his permanent record.

  684. Jan Roberg on Sun, 10th Feb 2013 5:36 pm
  685. Hi Gerald,
    Yes, people can get into a lot of trouble for claiming children they shouldn’t be claiming. But there may be more to the story that you don’t know –it’s quite possible she’s doing the right thing.

  686. Jan Roberg on Sun, 10th Feb 2013 9:44 pm
  687. Hi Liza,
    your niece has lived with you for 6 months, but probably not 6 months in 2012. Also, she’s going to school in a different state? That’s also a problem.

    You may wish to talk to someone in person, just to make sure. You can find free tax help on the IRS website.

  688. Jan Roberg on Sun, 10th Feb 2013 9:48 pm
  689. Hi Brandy,
    I’ve been lobbying about that issue for a year now. I understand. The Treasury Inspector General actually did a report on the same issue and asked the IRS to issue PIN numbers to parents like you. The IRS said no. So there you have it.
    Keep plugging away. You are a victim of identiy theft. I once worked on a case, turns out someone was going into the hospital and stealing babies SSNs from the nurse’s desk. It’s amazing what they do. Good luck.

  690. Concerned on Sun, 10th Feb 2013 10:54 pm
  691. So, if a person hasn’t been caught for EIC fraud… should they just amend the tax return and pay all the money back? Will this prevent them from getting into trouble?

    Also, how long do you have to amend a tax return? I know the standard time is 3 years but do they allow exceptions or a grace period?

  692. Brandi on Mon, 11th Feb 2013 11:32 am
  693. Hi Jan,
    Brandi here again, you advise me to have my fiance amend his tax returns. Well now on the where’s my refund site he gets a message saying that his return is being review and should recieve a letter within 30 days. So, do you think he should wait for the letter or go ahead and do the amended return today?
    Thanks so much for your help!

  694. Irene in Colorado on Mon, 11th Feb 2013 5:12 pm
  695. My exe and I have been alternating years to claim our child per our divorce agreement. That is about the only financial part of the divorce agreement that is being followed. We were awarded joint custody but I pay all of the medical and school expenses even though we are supposed to split them. For years I have been frustrated by not being able to claim our child when I am being forced to carry a heavier financial burden. I am considering claiming my child this year even though our divorce agreement stipulates that it is my exe’s year. Do I have any chance of winning this battle? If I file and the IRS rules against me, how large would the financial penalties be?

  696. ChiChi on Mon, 11th Feb 2013 10:53 pm
  697. i got a letter in the mail from the city treasurer saying that i have an amount due for for a business license tax. i dont have a business license nor have i ever had one or owned a business. the amount is very small but the point is if i call them and tell them that i dont have a license will i get in trouble for it. Because im afraid they will think i lied about having one, when i didnt. it also says business licenses are due by 1/08/2013, and penalty and interest will be charged after that date., i dont even know what that means….its past that day.
    what should i do? i dont want to get in trouble and i dont want to keep paying for something i dont have. Please help.

  698. mark B on Tue, 12th Feb 2013 1:11 am
  699. Hi.. I added a parent to my tax that I help out occasionally and put myself as head of household. (they dont live with me) I have no other dependents. my tax preparer told me that it was okay a parent does not have to live with you if you assist them… Never did it before. For 2012 I have to pay and I am on a payment installment for my 2011 taxes. Thing is I am not comfortable with it but he assured me I it was legit… At this point I rather just do an amendment and pay the $1000 extra… But he is advising me not to do an amendment which makes me think he is shady. If I do not have enough proof I helped my parent what will happen if audited.. will they just change the filing status and I have to pay the $ back with interest?

  700. brandy h on Tue, 12th Feb 2013 7:13 am
  701. Thank you so much for answering back. I feel like the govt is not concerned with my child’s situation. I am an American citizen and feel as though people who aren’t citizens have more rights than we do. The only other thing I know I may can do is go to the social security office and apply for my son a new social security number. But I have to wonder if the irs doesn’t care if my sons number has been stolen and repeadtly used will the social security office care enough to even change it? I feel like my son is stuck and he’s only 9. I don’t know where to even start on something like this. Thanks do much.

  702. Chichi on Tue, 12th Feb 2013 12:45 pm
  703. i got a letter in the mail from the city treasurer saying that i have an amount due for for a business license tax. i dont have a business license nor have i ever had one or owned a business. the amount is very small but the point is if i call them and tell them that i dont have a license will i get in trouble for it. Because im afraid they will think i lied about having one, when i didnt. it also says business licenses are due by 1/08/2013, and penalty and interest will be charged after that date., i dont even know what that means?.its past that day.
    what should i do? i dont want to get in trouble and i dont want to keep paying for something i dont have. Please help.

  704. melissa on Wed, 13th Feb 2013 9:26 am
  705. my eic is being reviewed for this year. i claimed my half brother. due to montana law i cannot get his birth certificate because i dont have power of attorney, am not a spouse, parent or child of his. (he isnt married and no children) i dont know where my half brother is, he left and went somewhere in oregon and our dad is out of the picture. then i found out i was being reviewed for the eic. im gonna wait on the papers to make sure that is what it is. if that is what it is, i dont have proof of the relationship so can i amend my return at that point and take him and the eic and head of household off?? should i wait for the letter first and then call and tell them that is the situation and ive amended it and amend it?

  706. theresa on Thu, 14th Feb 2013 7:55 am
  707. Hi, i know someone who’s been recklessly claiming EIC for the past 5 years, will the irs eventually catch them or should i report them?

  708. Jason on Thu, 14th Feb 2013 6:05 pm
  709. I have a question. My brother needed to use my pc to do his taxes and was going to do mine also. I told him to wait till i was home to do mine so i can make sure things were right.
    Well, he didn’t listen to me and went ahead and did mine anyways the day he did his. Which isn’t a big deal as he found a little more for my return then i did when i tried doing it, but he went and put his 2 kids on my tax form as dependants.
    I did live with them 6 months, but he was the head of household, paying their bills. He did not ask me ahead of time if he could do this, for my permission, or anything and just did it. He even used his bank account for the depisit cause he didn’t know mine. Said he’d give me what i was owed if i didn’t claim kids, which he did give me.
    I found out the next day and he said he ckecked it online and said it was legal, but i’m not so sure. Now i got a letter from the state asking for more information on schooling and why parents didn’t want to claim the kids, Got me worrying. He’s my brother and i love him but i dont wanta get in trouble if he shouldn’t have done this, but i also dont want him to be in any trouble either.

  710. amanda on Thu, 14th Feb 2013 6:33 pm
  711. Ok i made less than 3000 last year cleaning houses for a friend, she is under the impression that if i claim to make more than 1800 she will have to pay taxes instead of me paying them… is this true? because i made more than that and if i get the eic im entitled to than i will also pay in my taxes im supposed to, but will it fall back on her??

  712. Jan Roberg on Thu, 14th Feb 2013 7:34 pm
  713. Irene,
    The financial penalties for claiming a refund that is not yours depends upon how high the dollar amount of your claim is. There is a “failure to pay” penalty–that amounts to 5% per month for 5 months–that caps at 25%. There is of course interest–and that is tied to the market rate. If the amount of money you receive is over $5000–then there is the civil fraud penalty and that’s an additional 20% of the amount of the money in question.
    Usually, the actual parent isn’t charged with criminal fraud–but if you do get charged with criminal fraud, there are prison penalties.

  714. Jan Roberg on Thu, 14th Feb 2013 7:36 pm
  715. Hi ChiChi,
    If you don’t have a business–well then you don’t need a license. You need to tell the city people that. If you do have a business–well then you need to pay for the license. It’s that simple.
    If you’re claiming self employment on your tax return–you have a business and you’ll need to pony up for the license.

  716. Jan Roberg on Thu, 14th Feb 2013 7:41 pm
  717. Hi Mark,
    To claim that you supported your parent, you would have to provide more than half of her support. So, if she gets $10,000 of social security then you need to give her more than $10,000 of support. If you’re not doing that, then you should amend your return and take her off.
    If you are caught, you could pay up to a 25% penalty plus interest in addition to the tax difference.

  718. Jan Roberg on Thu, 14th Feb 2013 7:46 pm
  719. So Melissa,
    You claimed someone who left and you have no idea where he is? So did he even live with you for 6 full months? Does he qualify in anyway for you to claim him?
    Since you’re already been caught you will not be able to amend, they’ll do it for you and charge you the taxes and fines.

  720. Jan Roberg on Thu, 14th Feb 2013 7:47 pm
  721. Hi Theresa,
    You can report them. I suspect the IRS will catch up with them soon enough.

  722. Jan Roberg on Thu, 14th Feb 2013 7:50 pm
  723. Hey Felipe,
    You may claim a dependent with an ITIN number but you will not get EIC for that child. Be sure that you really have a right to claim that child as a dependent–there have been many scandals involving people claiming dependents with ITINs. It’s been all over the news and the IRS has been investigating them.
    It is perfectly legal to claim a dependent with an ITIN–just make sure you are claimng a legal dependent.

  724. Jan Roberg on Thu, 14th Feb 2013 7:52 pm
  725. Hi Amanda,
    You can claim that you are self employed and pay your own self employment taxes.

  726. Jan Roberg on Thu, 14th Feb 2013 7:54 pm
  727. Jason,
    Let me be blunt–your brother used you for income tax fraud. Sorry, that’s what it is. You’d better contact the IRS, fess up and get your return fixed.

  728. Chichi on Thu, 14th Feb 2013 11:13 pm
  729. Hi jan, the issue is that I never had a business and do not kno where this is coming from. The lady at the IRS told me that like 3 years ago I was self employed and made like 3,000$ . I told her it wasn’t possible. But now I got this letter for this payment for this license, that I don’t have. How can I get rid of future bills for this? And how can I get it canceled. I don’t know what to say to them because I don’t want to get in trouble for something I didn’t do. Please help. Thanks

  730. melissa on Fri, 15th Feb 2013 7:48 am
  731. i noticed that you had responded to someone else in an earlier thread that when they were getting a notice from the irs that they could amend their return regardless and take off the dependents in question so why can i not just amend my return for this year and take off the dependent since i cannot prove i can claim him?

  732. melissa on Fri, 15th Feb 2013 7:59 am
  733. i think the poster was named lisa and it was from last year and even though she was being questioned you did tell her to amend her return right away so can i do that same?

  734. TAMEKA on Fri, 15th Feb 2013 8:24 pm
  735. IF you carried a child that is not yours and get audited and you never got your money, but you knew you was wrong and dont worry about sending in the proof because you know you cant prove it. Will the IRS forget about it cause you never proved it. Or what will happen

  736. Jes on Mon, 18th Feb 2013 6:38 pm
  737. .I know a person who are filing eic and the kids arent theirs – can i report this to the irs?

  738. john on Tue, 19th Feb 2013 8:18 am
  739. I know someone who has commited irs EIC fruad what can I do about that? Can I report them

  740. Dave on Thu, 21st Feb 2013 12:40 pm
  741. I’m going to current situation right now that I need some advice on maybe you can help me my fiance had been taken to court over child support issues that was resolved in the father of the child being told that going through with this he would end up paying her 20 dollars in child support every month for 2 kids because we split up the days about 6 months apart
    When the conversation was brought up to the Clerk of the Court who was seeing what was going on with the case in having them come to an agreement my fiance spoke up and said well I would rather pay 100 dollars in child support to him and give him 100 dollars a month to make sure that my kids have their medication and their healthcare taking care of the clerk of the court said wow that’s very giving of you and in doing that we will word you to be claim one of your children on your taxes for 2014 and to continue until he is 18 the case was settled everything was agreed upon and was also stated that if he wanted to let her claim him on taxes this year he could he stated to her in front of the courthouse that she could claim on taxes he was working full time and everything else and everything was supposedly copacetic and she said okay I’ll claim this year you don’t have to tell me twice so we went ahead and filed our taxes as soon as we got our w2 forms taxes were filed on the third of February and yesterday i.e from the date this was posted we get a phone call from his new wife who is trying to file taxes and says that we weren’t supposed to file Kenny on her taxes she said that’s what you said that we could do at the courthouse and now she is demanding that we file an amended return what happens if we don’t file an amended return thank you for your time

  742. Jenna on Thu, 21st Feb 2013 4:56 pm
  743. I have not worked for the past 10 years. My ex-husband has. We’ve been divorced for 12 years. Each year he claims the kids on his tax return. It’s never been a problem until this year. He received a letter that they were going to hold his tax return until they could review it. The letter was a CP05.

    He is the dad of all 3 kids, his name is on their birth certificate. And, it was his understanding that he could still claim the kids as long as no one else could claim them on their taxes.

    They have not lived in his for 6 months…However, we are trying to work things out so he’s either at my house or we are at his.The only time he’s not with us is when we come home to go to sleep or when the kids are in school.

    He says that he had to write a statement that the kids were with him last year. Technically that is true. But I received food stamps and medicaid for the kids. He’s not listed on our case.

    The tax agency says not to worry that he should receive the check in a week or two.

    What does he need to do? Did he do anything wrong?

  744. Jan Roberg on Thu, 21st Feb 2013 8:12 pm
  745. Hey Tameka,
    I don’t think the IRS will “forget about it”. I’m guessing that they “amended” your return. But it’s probably worth checking out what’s on your record. You’re probably a likely target for future audits (you know the IRS, once they “like” you, they tend to keep coming back.)
    It’s worth a phone call anyway.

  746. Jan Roberg on Thu, 21st Feb 2013 8:16 pm
  747. Hi John,
    Here’s a post to help with reporting tax fraud: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2010/11/how-to-report-tax-fraud/

  748. Jan Roberg on Thu, 21st Feb 2013 8:25 pm
  749. Hi Dave,
    well for one thing–no matter what this is not a “jail” type of offense. Thought I’d get that out just in case you were worried.
    Now it sounds to me like you’re fine claiming the exemption in 2014, but all you have for 2012 is her word at the courthouse.
    You probably have a problem proving your case. Sorry.

  750. michelle on Sat, 23rd Feb 2013 9:59 am
  751. I am facing a similar situation as some people above. My son and I live with my . I let him claim my son on his taxes because he pays back the yearly 500$ homeowners credit. Now his refund is under review and he’s waiting on a letter. Can I amend his taxes and send a letter in or something? Last thing I want is for him to be in trouble. Do I also amend mine to add my son?

  752. sarah on Sat, 23rd Feb 2013 12:54 pm
  753. my sister has no kids but was claiming eic of other folks kids for 4 years straight between 2006 to 2010, when she realized she was breaking eic rules and that she could get in trouble she stopped claiming eic in 2010. Will the irs eventually audit her for those years she claimed eic she wasn’t entitled to?

  754. Chelsea on Sat, 23rd Feb 2013 8:32 pm
  755. I just got a letter that says that i owe $2,418.31 to the irs because it says they have disallowed the american opportunity credit i looked this up online and it said it was an education credit. That year i was not in school but my tax guy asked if i wanted the max refund and i told him as much as i can legally and he added that onto my taxes…without up front asking me but i signed a letter saying that everything that he was fileing was true …what can i do can i just pay the amount i owe ? and also if they find that i lied for the 2010 year will they audit me again for 2012 tax year?

    also will i get this years taxes if i dont pay for this first …i want to use this years taxes to pay them

  756. michelle on Tue, 26th Feb 2013 9:46 am
  757. Hello, I am in the same boat as many of the people above I believe. My brother and I live together with my 4 year old son. I let him file as head of household and claim my son as a dependant because he pays back the yearly 500 homebuyers credit. He did get some EIC as well. Now, as we all know they are seriously cracking down on EIC claims. His taxes have been pulled for review and although we have not gotten a letter I would assume its for EIC. Can we amend his taxes and just add my son back to my taxes? I understand there may be fines but can we go ahead and just amend them and mail them in?

  758. Jan Roberg on Tue, 26th Feb 2013 9:52 pm
  759. Hi Jes,
    If you want to report tax fraud check out this post: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2010/11/how-to-report-tax-fraud/

  760. Sarah on Thu, 28th Feb 2013 5:07 pm
  761. i claimed my sister 3 kids on my return this year because she only worked for 3 months in 2012 and i’ve been taking care of them financially and lived with them for well over 6 months. She agreed to let me claim them since i give her money to buy diapers, clothes, and other things that the kids may need. We thought it would be fine since i lived with them for more than 6 months, i financially support them, and i claim them as my nieces and nephew. Last week, i went to go check on the status of my refund on where’s my refund website and it says that they have received my returns and it is being reviewed and that i will received a notice within 30 days requesting for more information. what does that mean? am i being audit? what will i need to do? and oh yeah i received part of my returns but not the eic. advice on how should i handle this please? i am freaking out about it.

  762. Nicole on Fri, 1st Mar 2013 11:48 pm
  763. Please let me say i think its great that you taking the time to advise us unadvised people. I have quite a problem here and would love to hear any advise. I have two children with the same man and we pretty much have them an equal amount of time. Im on ssdi so he has to step in alot. Of course he files the kids every year and of course he spends the money to help take car of them. However this year they are reviewing his return for eic and he thinks its me out to get him. I gave him the right to claim them however i didnt enclose the 8332 for the child tax credit. And what does the eic mean ive done some reading well our kids really could go either way for claiming purposes ( or at least we though so i guess im not sure) he does have the higher agi as well. However in reading online they want proof well we dont change address everytime our kids go to the others house so really there nothing to back him up. To amend or not Hummm . Im just sick of him asking about it and would like something to tell him. He says the irs is not saying anything and he should he something by april 15th.

  764. Jan Roberg on Sun, 3rd Mar 2013 4:22 pm
  765. Jenna,
    How shall I put this delicately? For the past 10 years you haven’t worked. You’ve been claiming that your kids live with you to get food stamps and assistance. At the same time your ex claims the kids live with him so he can get EIC. The country is suffering from a huge deficit and you’re asking me if this is okay?
    Seriously? He’ll probably get away with it this time, but I’m guessing that either someone turned you in, or the government started checking records. Don’t be surprised if you get a notice about your food stamps.

  766. Jan Roberg on Sun, 3rd Mar 2013 4:25 pm
  767. Hi Michelle,
    Since he got caught it’s too late to amend your boyfriend’s return. Once the air clears, then you can amend yours. The IRS will adjust your boyfriends return.

  768. Jan Roberg on Sun, 3rd Mar 2013 4:29 pm
  769. Hi Chelsea,
    That’s why you always want to read your tax return before you sign it. There’s been a lot of fraud with the American Opportunity Credit. Since you got caught–you are more likely to be audited in the future. The IRS likes repeat business. If you’ve claimed the AOC again, you’ll definitely hear from them.
    The IRS may hold up your refund if they’ve already processed the audit. If they haven’t, you’ll get the money and you can use it to pay them back.

  770. Jan Roberg on Sun, 3rd Mar 2013 4:45 pm
  771. Sarah,
    I don’t know if the IRS will catch your sister or not. It all depends on if someone turns her in or not.

  772. ebony on Tue, 5th Mar 2013 2:27 pm
  773. my sister was evicted from her apartment in 2011. my niece and nephews lived wiht me until nov 2012. she allowed me to claim them for 2012. the irs red flaged my return and the sent me out a letter of everthing in need to send. my niece and nephews records have her old address for school and dr. because she was evicted. i sent the irs her court docs medical and school records. birth cert socials and my sister wrote a letter. do you think thats good enough

  774. ebony on Tue, 5th Mar 2013 2:29 pm
  775. court docs of my sisters eviction

  776. Keena L on Tue, 5th Mar 2013 5:03 pm
  777. hi.. i took care of my nephew for six months and my sister agreed to let me carry him on my taxes. She is telling me to pay her a certain amount and i refused. I have gotten auditted for my nephew and since i refused to pay her anything, she will not give me the information to clear my audit.

  778. Jan Roberg on Thu, 7th Mar 2013 8:50 pm
  779. Hi Michelle,
    I’m wrong–it’s your brother, not your boyfriend. This might not be so bad. A brother may be able to claim EIC–the big issue is–could you claim your son? Did you have any income? If not, then he should be okay.

  780. Jan Roberg on Thu, 7th Mar 2013 8:56 pm
  781. Hi Sarah,
    Technically, you cannot claim a child for EIC if the parent is able to claim the child. I think you might have a problem because your sister should have claimed her own children.
    But, you might have a chance. If you’ve really supported the children and lived with them for over 6 months, you might win–the thing you’ve got going for you is that you really are their blood aunt.
    So, get your papers together. Show that the children live with you, that you’ve paid the bills, that they go to school in your district. You might actually be okay.
    At least you have a decent explanation–if you do lose you should be able to get out of the penalties.

  782. Jan Roberg on Thu, 7th Mar 2013 9:03 pm
  783. Hi Ebony,
    If you had the children for over 6 months–it sounds like you should be okay. Your sister being homeless is a pretty compelling argument in my book. If the IRS denies your claim–I’d appeal.

  784. Jan Roberg on Thu, 7th Mar 2013 9:05 pm
  785. Hi Keena,
    It sounds like your sister claimed her own children. You’re probably going to lose this case. Sorry.

  786. Jan Roberg on Thu, 7th Mar 2013 9:40 pm
  787. Hi Nicole,
    It sounds like your children’s father has a legitimate claim. You don’t want to give him an 8332 form if he’s claiming EIC. The 8332 form means that you have the kids and you’re letting him claim the dependency exemption and the Child Tax Credit.
    Since he’s claiming EIC–no 8332 form should be filed. I wouldn’t try to amend. I would work to prove that the kids have been with him. There’s got to be something. If they’re sleeping over there–who sees them? A neighbor? A landlord? Who can vouch for him? Just because you don’t have the school records doesn’t mean you need to roll over and say die.

  788. Jan Roberg on Sun, 10th Mar 2013 8:24 pm
  789. I’m responding to some old posts that hit an inbox but I didn’t get them in my regular posts. Sorry these are so late:

    First to Melissa–the reason I said it’s too late to amend after the IRS contacts you is because that’s what the IRS just said to me recently. Now I have amended returns, but generally, if the IRS is working on the return, there’s no need to amend–they’ll do it for you.

    Next, to Chi Chi–
    I think you’re going to need some help. You need a body to help you scout this out. I’m guessing that someone paid you under the table and then they were getting audited and so they issued a 1099misc to cover their behind.

    I would amend your return, arguing for not being self employed. If you received the funds. If you haven’t received funds–you might be a victim of identity theft. You might want an identity theft expert help you with this.

  790. Jan Roberg on Sun, 10th Mar 2013 8:28 pm
  791. Hi Brandi,
    Sorry this is so late. If your fiance has already received a letter, he shoud wait and find out what the IRS says/wants etc and go from there.

  792. Jan Roberg on Sun, 10th Mar 2013 8:30 pm
  793. A message for Concerned:

    If a person has commited EIC fraud–but hasn’t been caught yet, the best course of action is to amend the tax return and pay back the tax owed. Better to amend and pay than to get caught and get hit with all the penalties.

  794. shaun on Mon, 11th Mar 2013 3:50 am
  795. Hi, I have a problem with my income tax return I have been claiming my son for the past 3 years until this year me and my ex claim him this year at the same time without her giving me any notice that she was gonna do that now I get a letter from the IRS saying there gonna hold the refund until they review the tax return. I know for sure that my ex already got her refund since she did it before me so what should I do in this situation?

  796. michelle on Wed, 13th Mar 2013 2:59 pm
  797. Yes I did work actually. Before I got your first response I amended both of our taxes. I may have jumped the gun and delayed the process more but I am scared that I am getting my brother in trouble with this. I honestly did not think it was a very big deal but reading everything i see online, it appears to be a big issue.

  798. Jan Roberg on Wed, 13th Mar 2013 8:53 pm
  799. @Michelle,
    The bottom line is that you know what was wrong and you tried to fix it. If you do get charged penalties, you’ll want to ask for an “abatement of penalties”. The IRS will usually grant that if you haven’t had tax problems before. It’s possible they won’t even attach any penalties since it was caught before April 15th.

  800. Jan Roberg on Wed, 13th Mar 2013 9:27 pm
  801. Hi Shaun,
    So you’re playing the waiting game. You will probably be asked to prove that you are the person who should claim you child. Here’s a link to the IRS website about qualifying children: http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Qualifying-Child-Rules

    I’m guessing the issue is EIC–so I sent you to the EIC page. The top issue is where does your child spend the most time? If you are not the parent your child lives with, then you cannot claim EIC. If you are the custodial parent, then you’ll win.

    Your job is to get your ducks in a row and be able to prove your case.

  802. Shaan on Fri, 15th Mar 2013 2:24 pm
  803. I moved to Atlanta, Georgia, US on 05th March 2012 with spouse. I am on L1A Visa & My wife has L2 Visa. Both of us have SSN Numbers. I am working for a software firm & My spouse is not working. We blessed with a baby boy on 07/29/2012 & he has SSN. My wife went for vacation with child on 09th Oct 2012 & returned on 31st Jan 2013. Average Gross Income is less than 35000USD.
    We are filing “Married filing jointly” & I would like to know if I can claim EIC for 2012. Please help.

  804. Robin Redifer on Mon, 18th Mar 2013 7:09 pm
  805. What if the Mother of the child who has not had her child for 3 years and his step-father claimed them to get the earned income credit, and did it before the qualifying parent (the biological father) had a chance to file his taxes and claim the child he has had for 3 years??

  806. Willie on Wed, 20th Mar 2013 1:48 pm
  807. I left my wife when i found out she was cheating, she let a couple of people claim my step children. I claimed them last year and was planning to claim them again. My tax preparer already put in the paper work. Is my wife liable for the fraud committed? I did leave in the home for over the six month period and the other people didn’t even live there.

  808. Willie on Wed, 20th Mar 2013 1:54 pm
  809. I’m sorry i meant lived in the home for over the six month period.

  810. Rick James on Thu, 21st Mar 2013 2:05 am
  811. Hello Jan,
    I have read similar situations as mine in the previous questions. My ordeal goes like this; my ex and I have joint custody of our son. In the court stipulation it says that we do odd even split on claiming him. Every year since he was born she claims him for the years that are suppose to be my years. I have to paper file and send all of the court doc.’s and so on… My question is can she be criminally punished for habitually trying to commit fraud? She knowingly does it this, so she shouldn’t be able to say it was a mistake for the forth time. Right? I know she has to pay the penalties and interest, because she is very unpleasant for a few months afterwords. I don’t want her to go to jail, I just want her to follow the court stipulation as agreed upon. Thank you in advance!

  812. TaxIdiot on Thu, 21st Mar 2013 3:26 pm
  813. My problem is I added my friend’s two children as nephew. I get the review/audit letter to show proof of EIC, dependency & Head of Household.

    I should have clicked “other” in TurboTax :/ I just felt that my friend has been there for me since age 10 and I consider her family. I guess this isn’t a legal relationship or valid test, but that is reason I selected “nephews”. The kids actually stayed with me, but I do not have their mail coming to the house (goes to grandma’s house).

    How can I get out of this mess? I was awarded a small portion of my refund until I verify the other parts. I don’t think I will come up with paperwork that will support this, since I can only prove by Lease with Occupants listed and written letter from my friend that they lived with me & supported by me.

    Can I just tell them I selected the wrong option in TurboTax? I feel guilty since I did see “Other”. Can I amend my return in a way where they are removed? …should i add my friend to my return? ~ Or can I successfully reduce the EIC by telling them it was error on my behalf while still get Head of Household?

    Please help. ~Great writeup & very informative! THANKS!

  814. Jan Roberg on Thu, 21st Mar 2013 9:25 pm
  815. Hi Shaan,
    You’re near the upper income limit for EIC, the maximum income limit for EIC with one child is $36,920. Just be aware that the EIC amount you’ll qualify for is very small.

    Now–you, your wife and your child all have social security numbers–that’s important because you can’t get EIC without them.

    You’re so close–but you’ve got one big problem–you were a non-resident alien for part of the year. You didn’t come to the US until March–so you don’t qualify for EIC. Now if you stay here and your income doesn’t increase–then you’d qualify. But not this year. Sorry.

  816. Jan Roberg on Thu, 21st Mar 2013 9:28 pm
  817. Hi Robin,
    I guess the biological father that the child lives with will need to file a paper tax return and mail it in. Then the IRS will have to process it and then give the tax refund to the rightful dad (let me guess, his name is Robin?) And the absentee mother and her new husband will get stuck having to pay back the money.

  818. Jan Roberg on Thu, 21st Mar 2013 9:41 pm
  819. Hi Willie,
    So the children are your step children–so that’s a legitimate relationship. You lived in the house for over 6 months. That’s important.

    But, she lived with the kids longer, right? So she’s got the right to claim them.

    But–you say she’s letting other people claim the kids–that is fraud. So, you’ve got a good case, but make sure you get your ducks in a row and be prepared to have to prove your case.

    Here’s a link to the EIC home page: http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/EITC-Home-Page–It’s-easier-than-ever-to-find-out-if-you-qualify-for-EITC

    This is where I think you might have a problem:
    1. you say “your wife”. Are you still married? If yes, then you can either file as married filing jointly or married filing separately. You won’t be filing jointly–at least I’m pretty sure you won’t.

    You can’t file as separately and get EIC. No EIC for MFS.

    The other option would be to file as head of household. You can only file as head of household if you lived apart of the last 6 months of the year, AND you had custody of the children. Since they’re your step children, I’m guessing that you don’t have custody–and that’s where you’re going to lose.

    Now, if you’re not claiming EIC–there’s no problem with you claiming the kids for the exemptions and the child tax credit when your married filing separately. And that might be what you want to do–it will at least highlight that there’s fraud going on with other people claiming those kids and you’ll still benefit financially–you just can’t get EIC.

  820. Jan Roberg on Thu, 21st Mar 2013 9:46 pm
  821. Hi Rick,
    Your wife is the reason the IRS is holding up some people’s refunds for 75 days. Your wife and people like her. They do the same crap every year.

    So–no the IRS is taking those returns and holding them until people like you–the ones who are supposed to claim the children, have time to file their returns and the IRS is going to sorth things out before they mail out those refunds.

    Is this a perfect solution? No–I wanted them to issue PIN numbers. But–it’s better than nothing. Anyway, that’s what they’re trying this year. We’ll see if it works or not. But technically, your wife’s refund should be help up–if it’s working right. (No guarantees, it’s the IRS.)

  822. Jan Roberg on Thu, 21st Mar 2013 10:05 pm
  823. Hi Tax Idiot,
    I hate calling you an idiot, that’s a bit harsh. Anyway, Things are going so well for you.
    You won’t be able to claim head of household at all. Here’s a link to the IRS website that has a questionaire to show if you can be head of household or not.

    Okay, that’s a realy long screen name.

    Anyway, the boys are not related to you in any way. So you won’t be able to claim head of household. If the boys lived with you for the entire year, you might be able to claim them as dependents–but not head of household.

    Now–why didn’t the mother claim them? If she made no money, you probably should have claimed her as well. But if she made money–then she should have claimed the boys herself.

    So–maybe you can still claim the boys–but losing the EIC is big. I think your best bet is to call the IRS–explain the situation–and that you know you need to fix it–and see what they want you to do. Generally, you don’t “amend” a return that’s already being processed. But you know your return needs changing and working with the IRS to close the case as quickly as possible is in both your best interests.

    Good luck.

  824. martha on Fri, 22nd Mar 2013 7:34 pm
  825. hi so my fiancé claimed my nieces on his taxes this year with the approval of my sister of course im guessing he got audited because he got a letter saying they need proof such as school records and doctors letter but the thing here is that he wasn’t on their school record because he was always working we lived with my sister so we have the rental agreement ,, I was wondering if my sister can do a letter and have it notarized or is there something we can do because he did financially support them at the time because my sister was laid off.

  826. martha on Fri, 22nd Mar 2013 7:40 pm
  827. by the way she was laid of in the beginning of January so she didn’t work all year

  828. martha on Fri, 22nd Mar 2013 7:53 pm
  829. also he claimed em as his nieces is that bad ??? please help

  830. Willie on Sat, 23rd Mar 2013 11:17 am
  831. I lived in the home until Dec.26,2013 and my wife doesn’t work. she then let some people claim the kids so that she could get the money. I was the one working and getting the taxes taking out of my checks.

  832. Willie on Sat, 23rd Mar 2013 11:18 am
  833. sorry again I meant Dec.26,2012

  834. kelly on Sun, 24th Mar 2013 3:59 pm
  835. Hi! I am 23 and just finished college, my parents are divorced, but in the paperwork, it says my dad can claim me on his taxes. So last year I claimed myself, (not knowing he was claiming me all these years) and I was supposed to get back 1,000 from my college (which I pay for). He ended up getting that money, and might possibly get it again this year.
    My question is, how can he get that money if he doesn’t pay for my college at all? He pays $17 a day for me for child support, which barely covers food and travel to get to school each day! Is there any way I can get my money, and stop him from taking it? Also, we are estranged, as he has caused me so many problems in my life (causes extreme problems for my mother, and uses me and doesn’t care if i get hurt in the process) We tried contacting him last year about this matter and he ignored us.
    Can we get him audited? Will I get anything back? I just don’t see how he can legally claim this on his taxes when he doesn’t actually pay for it.

  836. kelly on Sun, 24th Mar 2013 4:33 pm
  837. also! i forgot to mention, he was only supposed to pay my child support until i turned 21, and then he was supposed to stop, and then would not be able to claim me at all, and then id be able to claim myself… he has continued to pay the support, we have no idea why, and it has further given him the ability to then claim me still on his returns… should we call the IRS? i have no idea what to do!
    thanks again!

  838. Tamara on Mon, 25th Mar 2013 11:35 am
  839. my husband has not done his taxes in 6 years, Now that we want to start his immigration process we were told I HAVE to go back and redo all our taxes. So i have filed head of household for all this time claiming our kids and recieving EIC. Now that i have to ammend them what is going to happen. he does not have a social only a itin. I need some good advice. So terrified and the deadline is coming up soon. Will I have to pay back all the eic even if we were under the guidlines and I’m the money maker of the house. Should I go speak to them face to face? I don’t know what to do and I don’t want to be in more doodoo than I have to. Have 4 kids and barely making it but we’re making it

  840. Jan Roberg on Mon, 3rd Jun 2013 8:57 pm
  841. Hi Martha,
    Your fiance’ claimed your neices with your sister’s approval. So here’s my question: did he claim EIC? If he claimed EIC then he’s ihas a problem because he has no legal claim to the girls.
    Now, if he only claimed the girls as dependents, and no one else can claim them–meaning your sister has no income–then your sister could write a letter for him.

    Even if he did claim EIC–he might still want to have your sister write the letter so that he can keep the dependency exemption even though he’ll still lose the EIC.

  842. Jan Roberg on Mon, 3rd Jun 2013 8:59 pm
  843. Oh Martha,
    He shouldn’t have claimed them as his neices–that sort of implies that he lied about the EIC. Well, fix it and pay up. That’s the best advice I can give. Sorry.

  844. Jan Roberg on Mon, 3rd Jun 2013 9:01 pm
  845. Hi Willie,
    If you lived in your home and supported your children, you should be able to claim them. Your wife cannot let other people claim your kids. That’s tax fraud. You have rights.

    I recommend paper filing your tax return.

  846. Jan Roberg on Wed, 12th Jun 2013 8:39 pm
  847. Hi Kelly,
    I’m sorry about your dad. Sounds complicated. Here’s the tax rules:

    The person who claims the dependency exemption, claims the college tax credit.

    So–can he claim you? It sounds like yes he can, you say it’s in the paperwork. I’m guessing that the divorce was before 2009, but just in case, here’s a link that might help: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2012/01/court-ordered-exemptions-and-the-irs/

    Here’s the really nasty part: it doesn’t matter that he didn’t pay for your college, the credit goes to him anyway. (Yes that rule stinks, especially for people like you.)

    The upside is that you’re 23! Most divorce support decrees end at 18, the rest at 21. Yours has to end soon. By most accounts, he shouldn’t be able to claim you next year.

    That said, maybe he’s just paying but not able to claim you. I think you could fight this. The divorce decree says no payments after 21. It might be worth filing an amended return claiming yourself and claiming the credit. By doing it as an amended return, the worst that could happen is the IRS could say No. But that would be it, you wouldn’t get into any trouble for claiming something you couldn’t, you’d just get a “no.” I think it’s worth a try.

  848. Jan Roberg on Wed, 12th Jun 2013 8:52 pm
  849. Hi Tamara,
    So your husband hasn’t filed taxes in 6 years and now he needs to file in order to apply for his green card? You had filed as head of household.
    I would not want to refile as married filing jointly. I think he may be better off filing as married filing separately.
    Were you living together? If yes, then that’s a problem, but if you were not living together for those six years then you’re good.
    Now if you were living together, your options would be that you file as married filing jointly, or you both file as married filing separately–either one of those would have you losing your EIC. Ouch.

    Now, if you’re only losing the EIC because he has an ITIN, if he can get a social security number out of this, then you can refile and at least reclaim your refunds the the past three years.

    If you have to put your husband on the return, and you have 6 years of EIC, that’s going to be a lot of money. You may need to consider an offer in compromise or some sort of payment agreement, that way too much money for someone who’s “just making it”.

    Sorry, I wish I had better advice for you. It seems to me like you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. Good luck.

  850. ecphx on Sat, 29th Jun 2013 9:26 pm
  851. I sent you a question but I don’t see if you ever commented on it. thanks!

  852. Jan Roberg on Mon, 1st Jul 2013 7:55 pm
  853. Hi exphx,
    I’m sorry, I’ve got a backlog and I can’t seem to find your earlier question.

  854. Jen on Wed, 17th Jul 2013 3:23 pm
  855. My child’s estranged father claims him every year. He e-files before me and every year my efile is rejected. I had called the IRS to let them know and they told me that they wouldn’t be able to do anything about it until they ‘caught’ it themselves. It took three years and I was finally audited. The IRS is impossible to work with. I have called and sat on hold for literally hours every single time. All the workers tell me something different. I have been mailed forms to fill out and when I call to confirm that I am completing them correctly only to be told that these are forms that haven’t been in use for years. After being fed up with trying to battle everything on the phone I went to my local IRS building only to be ‘bullied’ by the woman there. She bluntly told me I owed over $7000 and I was required to set up payment before I left her desk. It was only when I insisted that she call someone else that she discovered that I could open my case up for review. I left their frustrated with a system that NOBODY, not even the people who ran it, could make sense of. I took all of my paperwork, letters, and filings to an accountant who told me to do everything that I had already done on my own AGAIN. It is now 2013. I have been fighting this for 3 years. The IRS owes me over $10,000 and growing. I have been banned from claiming the EITC since my custody papers stating that I was the sole residential and legal custodial parent weren’t sufficient in proving that my child lives with me.

    I am severly tired of attempting to find help and instead find people who are in a position to not care or take any kind of responsibility for the establishment in which they work.

  856. Jan Roberg on Tue, 23rd Jul 2013 5:10 pm
  857. Hi Jen,
    I’m hearing you. It’s really frustrating when the people who are supposed to help you treat you like a criminal. And let’s face it, if you’re qualifying for EIC, you’re not made out of money! I would suggest you hire someone to help you–but that’s not always easy when you’re trying to put food on the table.

    But, this might be the time to take the plunge. Especially if three years have passed. If you wait too long, you could lose out on the refunds you’ve got coming.

    Here are my best tips:

    1. Find somebody local. You want a face to face kind of person that you can talk to. You can go to this website and plug in your zipcode, it will find an Enrolled Agent close to you: https://portal.naeacentral.org/webportal/buyersguide/professionalsearch.aspx

    2. It sounds to me like the IRS did not accept your custody paperwork as proof that your kids live with you. They generally don’t accept that. Lot’s of people’s paperwork says the kids live with them, when the children really live elsewhere. What the IRS is going to want from you is school records, or medical records. Maybe daycare paperwork. Something that shows your children really do live with you.

    I know, you’d think a legal court document would hold sway–but in this case it doesn’t. Go figure.

    3. Your biggest problem is that somehow you got tagged with the “cannot claim EIC”. That is going to be a mound of paperwork to fight. The thing is–you’re going to need somebody who can help you wade through it. In all fairness, you’re going to be the best person for the job, but I think you need some help. For what it’s worth, I’m in St. Louis. I’d be willing to help you.

  858. sam on Mon, 30th Sep 2013 11:52 am
  859. Hi maybe you can help me? I claimed my half bro and sis. I got audited cant prove they lived with me all other proof i sent in. Now they want me to pay bunch money plus penalties if i dont respond with a good answer by tom. Is it too late to make an amendment? what are my options?

  860. Jan Roberg on Tue, 1st Oct 2013 7:51 pm
  861. Hi Sam,
    My first question is: did they live with you? This is important because if they did–well then if I were you, I’d fight.

    Now, if they didn’t live with you–you can’t prove it, then you’re going to owe. Taxes, penalties, the whole bit.

    Now–if the IRS is right, you don’t need to amend since they basically re-did your taxes for you. UNLESS–and this is the big part, you don’t need to amend unless there’s something else you can do or claim that would help your tax situation.

    Now, you have one other problem. The IRS office is pretty much closed. The people who collect money are supposed to be working, but getting through to someone who can help you could be a bit of a problem. If you can’t get through on the phone at the number they gave you, send a letter saying that you tried to reach them and want to resolve your account. At least you’ll have covered your behind on that point.

    If you owe a bunch of money, you might need to set up an installment agreement so you don’t pay it all at once. Good luck.

  862. lamont on Sat, 30th Nov 2013 4:23 pm
  863. I have a girl friend that’s on welfare and she did a fake tax refund and got back $7500. she hid it from me but I was home and got the refund. she told her friend and her friend boyfriend told me how much and that she was hiding it from me. I was like you go end up going to jail. she did not work and is on welfare. will they catch her and what could be the penalty. I didnt want none of the money cause that’s on her to pay it back.

  864. Jan Roberg on Sun, 8th Dec 2013 1:39 pm
  865. Hi Lamont,
    It’s a little scary what your girlfriend did. Generally, people won’t see jail time for tax fraud if the amount is under $40,000–that’s sort of the baseline where the treasury agents (the guys with the badges and guns) get involved.
    That said, she can still get caught and still be required to pay the money back. And the price tag can be pretty hefty. Also, she can get in trouble for welfare fraud too.
    If you’re thinking of marrying her, you’re going to want to make sure she straightens out her taxes first–otherwise you could wind up paying her penalties and that’s not fair.

  866. Marie on Tue, 21st Jan 2014 8:53 pm
  867. Question? My husband and I claimed my daughter last year. It was kicked back because of her father claiming her before we did. Long story short the irs sided with us. It took some time but we did get our full return back. My question is her father also received a return for her. I spoke to him and let him know what was going on. He says he still has not been notified from the irs that he was in the wrong or any thing. Is this going to happen again this year when I claim her? Is the irs ever going to catch up to him?

  868. Jan Roberg on Wed, 22nd Jan 2014 9:30 pm
  869. Hi Marie,
    The IRS is trying to catch up. They tell me they will (not your ex specifically, but your type of case in general) but who knows for sure. The Treasury Agents (IRS dudes with guns) don’t go after anyone with less than $40,000 in debt. EIC fraud is less than that, unless you add the years together, with they don’t. So. supposedly he’ll get caught, but when I don’t know.

    That said, the IRS is doing all sorts of things to keep the money from getting into the wrong hands. We’ll see how that works out. You might notice that your preparer will ask you for a copy of your daughter’s report card from school or her medical records. That’s a new rule– the IRS is making tax preparers get evidence that a child lives with someone. The penalty for not getting documentation is $500 a return. So, maybe there will be less fraud this year. Let’s hope so anyway. Good luck.

  870. Frank S. on Fri, 7th Feb 2014 2:05 am
  871. I’ve been reading all these reader responses, and I just want to clarify about my own situation. Over the last few years, my girlfriend has let me claim her youngest son on my taxes. At the time – in 2007 – I wondered if it was legal. She said that since she had 3 sons in all, that she could only claim the two older ones, so why not I claim the youngest.

    I do provide for his physical well-being, provide clothing, food etc. for him. The thing is do not live in the same place he does (with his mother) on a full-time basis.

    I’ve been doing this the past few years with no problem. Recently I got a message on my the IRS refund tracking site that my return is under review. According to them I should be getting a letter in the mail requesting additional information – about what I don’t know. I’m wondering though if its about the EIC.

    If it is – I would just claim guilty. In all honesty, I was never sure if claiming another person’s child on your taxes was legal or not. I know many people do it (claiming numerous children on their taxes no less).

    With this said, what’s the worst that could happen to me? Fines? Would I have to pay back the EIC with penalties? Also, presently I am mostly unemployed (on a part-time basis, I provide tutorial services to kids as a self-employed 1099), and if hit with penalties I would be unable to pay much of anything until I find another full-time job – so in that event what would the IRS do?

    None of this has actually happened, but I am wondering in the event that this “review” is indeed about the EIC. Right now I am panicking wondering what’s going to happen. Whatever the outcome I know 2013 will be the LAST year I claim anyone’s kid on my taxes unless they are biologically mine.

  872. Frank S on Fri, 7th Feb 2014 2:13 am
  873. I’ve been reading all these reader responses, and I just want to clarify about my own situation. Over the last few years, my girlfriend has let me claim her youngest son on my taxes. At the time – in 2007 – I wondered if it was legal. She said that since she had 3 sons in all, that she could only claim the two older ones, so why not I claim the youngest.

    I do provide for his physical well-being, provide clothing, food etc. for him. The thing is do not live in the same place he does (with his mother) on a full-time basis.

    I’ve been doing this the past few years with no problem. Recently I got a message on my the IRS refund tracking site that my return is under review. According to them I should be getting a letter in the mail requesting additional information – about what I don’t know. I’m wondering though if it’s about the EIC.

    If it is – I would just claim guilty. In all honesty, I was never sure if claiming another person’s child on your taxes was legal or not. I know many people do it (claiming numerous children on their taxes no less).

    With this said, what’s the worst that could happen to me? Fines? Would I have to pay back the EIC with penalties? Also, presently I am mostly unemployed (on a part-time basis, I provide tutorial services to kids as a self-employed 1099), and if hit with penalties I would be unable to pay much of anything until I find another full-time job – so in that event what would the IRS do?

    None of this has actually happened, but I am wondering in the event that this “review” is indeed about the EIC. Right now I am panicking wondering what’s going to happen. Whatever the outcome I know 2013 will be the LAST year I claim anyone’s kid on my taxes unless they are biologically mine.

  874. Brandy on Sat, 8th Feb 2014 2:05 pm
  875. My brother has been living with me for the past year to help with bills and the financial support of my children while I finish my college degree (I am not working at all, just attending school). He is not on my lease but does have bills in his name here where he has been living with me. I allowed him to claim his nieces and nephew because he has been our support other then $60.00 a month in child support I receive. The children’s father cannot claim them so there should be no issue there. However we received a notice that his return was pulled for review and that we would be receiving a letter within 30 days requesting more information. What type of information do they usually need to prove eligibility. I can prove their relationship and that the children live here, that I’ve had no income and am in school and I have some proof that my brother lives here but nothing concrete since he isn’t on my lease. I was sure he had a legal right to claim them since he supported them and they’re related to him. Did he have a legal right to claim them? And if so, what type of “additional information” are they likely to ask him for to satisfy the inquiry?

  876. Jan Roberg on Sun, 9th Feb 2014 1:50 pm
  877. Hi Frank,
    First, you said that 2013 will be the last year you claim anyone’s kid on your taxes unless they are biologically yours. Let’s change that to 2012. Even if you’ve already filed, you still have time to go back and amend 2013 and repay that refund.

    Or at least, when you get that refund, don’t spend it, stick it in the bank and be prepared to give it back because I believe that you’ve been caught.

    The “review” I’m pretty much guessing is about EIC. Why–because you think it’s about EIC. If you had suspected you’re being reviewed about anything else you’d be asking about that, right?

    And, quite frankly, let’s say your review was about something else–you mentioned you had self employment income, those reviews tend to spill over and the EIC will wind up being revealed even if that wasn’t what the review is about.

    So, let’s assume the review is about EIC, and they determine that you don’t live with the child and you’re not the biological father–so you lose the EIC, the head of household tax designation, and the child tax credit. The IRS is going to want that money back.

    You have no job–you can probably get placed on the “currently uncollectable” status. That will bide you some time while you’re out of work. Once you start working again, then they’ll expect to be paid. I’m thinking you’re going to want to do an offer in compromise to try to reduce that debt.

    Your girlfriend will be able to file back taxes for a few years claiming the child. Hopefully, she’ll get some money out of the deal and help you financially. That said, you don’t know if she’s the one who turned you in or not. (I would certainly hope she didn’t.)

    Will you go to jail? It’s doubtful. Generally, the treasury agents don’t go after people for less than $40,000 in a given tax year. Although you may owe the IRS over $40,000, it will be for a number of tax years, not just one. Your issue will be figuring out how to pay, not prison.

    Good luck with your case.

  878. Jan Roberg on Sun, 9th Feb 2014 3:46 pm
  879. Hi Brandy,
    it sounds like your brother is okay claiming your children. You have no income, the father doesn’t claim them, and your brother really does live with you. The utility bills are in his name and the address is on the bills–that sounds like pretty good proof to me. You can prove he’s your brother, and I’m assuming that you can prove the kids live with you. Looks good to me.

  880. Laura on Mon, 10th Feb 2014 4:37 pm
  881. I just filed with H and R Block. I have two children. For the past two years my ex had the children living with him. So he claimed the EIC on them. Now the children are back with me and for good. I have sole custody of them. Well today H and R called me informing me that someone has already claimed my daughter. I know it not my ex as he is in jail for sex battery and molestation. And the only other person that has access to his records is his mom. Now I have been reading thru a lot of these comments and your responses. So it is safe to say the once I go to the local IRS building tomorrow and fill them in on what’s been going on that they will put a stop to it? Right? I mean she is a paralegal I would think she would know better than to do this. And I have had the kids since the beginning of May. And she has never had them at all! Sorry to get so detailed. Its just that this is all so frustrating!! Thank you!

  882. Jan Roberg on Mon, 10th Feb 2014 10:20 pm
  883. Hi Laura,
    First job is to make sure you’re in the right. I realize it seems obvious, but for some moronic reason, the IRS doesn’t take into account things like molestation. They only take into account how many months the children lived with a parent. Were the kids with you for more than 6 months? I hope so, then you’ve got the winning case.

    Now, I strongly urge you to not go to the IRS office in person to put a stop to it. You’re being logical. Clearly once they hear your story they’ll fix it, right? Quit being logical! You’re dealing with the IRS!

    I think your best bet is to paper file your tax return. That will start the audit process. It will take time, and you’ll have to fill out paperwork proving that you’ve got the kids etc. It seems to me you’ve got pretty good proof and will win your case easily.

    But I don’t think you’ll have much luck going to the IRS in person. Then again, you’re probably more patient and understanding than I am. I get a little frustrated and um….mouthy? It doesn’t always go so well.

    So if you can control yourself really well, you might try going to the local office, but don’t have high expectations of anything getting completed quickly. The whole process will still take several weeks to settle. But you might cut some of the time by going in person. Just keep your expectations in check (because I don’t have high hopes of you getting anything resolved quickly.)

    Good luck.

  884. Laura on Tue, 11th Feb 2014 9:28 am
  885. Thank you so much I am going to H and R tonight to amend so I will just do that. I have had to do this before. Because of my ex for the first 3 years we were split up. But I always felt that maybe had I went to the irs in person then I would’ve had better luck. However I am taking your advice. I am very level headed, but my husband is a different story. LOL. And I definitely don’t need him to cause a scene. Again thank you so very much!

  886. Megan on Thu, 20th Feb 2014 5:56 pm
  887. My return was selected for review. My brother has been in prison and Ive been supporting him sending him money etc. I claimed him on my taxes. What will happen next? I am unsure. Will they just tell me to correct my taxes or will they just correct it themselves? Will I have to file an amended return. Just unsure what will happen. I looked up if I could claim him and I get mixed answers.

  888. jared on Fri, 21st Feb 2014 1:45 pm
  889. I have a question my fiancé doesn’t work and is hardly around and ive been taking care of her 2 kids they are just like mine they have lived with me for about a year and a half I provide all their needs as in diapers clothes food shelter my son is only 3 and my daughter is 1 I claimed them on my tax return and no one else did and I put them AS my step children because me and my fiancé are common law which goes in texas but now I cant provide proof that they lived with me for 1. they don’t go to school and family members watch them 2 we have no lease because our home was givin to us. so what do I do I don’t want to get in trouble

  890. jared on Fri, 21st Feb 2014 1:48 pm

  892. desirae on Fri, 21st Feb 2014 2:11 pm
  893. i don’t work so I let my boyfriend claim my 2 kids and he filed them under step children because that’s what they told us to do we have been living together for the past 2 years and he provides everything for my kids my kids are still little so they don’t go to school and we have a home but like the guy before me it was given to me by my grandparents and we just pay them rent and the light because its all in one because we live in the country so my question is how can we prove my children and him lived in the same home

  894. Jo on Fri, 21st Feb 2014 7:50 pm
  895. Hello.. my cousin recently filed his taxes but he put a dependant that wasnt his and he recieved a few dollars over 5000 but the irs has sent him a letter. Notifying him basicly that they know. What type of charges will he be facing?

  896. Jan Roberg on Sat, 22nd Feb 2014 6:21 am
  897. Hi Megan,
    I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that you meet all the other criteria for claiming your brother except for 1–and that’s the support issue.

    I realize that you “support” him by sending him money, but when the IRS says support, they mean that you’re paying for more than half the cost of putting a roof over someone’s head and food on the table.

    There’s a recent article in the New York Times that says the cost of keeping a prisoner is about $168,000 a year. Yowza! That’s a while lot of money. Even if your brother is in a cheap prison–the cost of keeping him there is going to be really high, so you’re just not going to meet the support test.

    I’m guessing that you’ll get a letter stating that they think you should remove your brother from your return and your refund or balance due will be adjusted to whatever it should be without him on there. You’ll be asked to sign a paper stating that you accept the changes (because you should, I don’t think you can win this one) and pay the tax (if you owe anything.)

    Lucky for you, they stopped this before sending you the money! Usually these things get caught after you’ve gotten the refund, spent it, and then because it’s after the filing deadline there’s fines and penalties on top of the tax owed. So as bad as it is to get that letter, you are really lucky they caught it now instead of later. And they would have caught it later because they have access to prisoner social security numbers and that does get screened.

  898. Jan Roberg on Sat, 22nd Feb 2014 7:46 pm
  899. Hi Jared,
    Here’s the rules for a common law marriage in Texas: A man and woman who want to establish a common-law marriage must sign a form provided by the county clerk. In addition, they must (1) agree to be married, (2) cohabit, and (3) represent to others that they are married.

    I suspect that you could just provide the IRS with your form that the county clerk form that’s dated in 2013 or before.

  900. Jan Roberg on Sat, 22nd Feb 2014 7:49 pm
  901. Hi Desiree,
    Your boyfriend is not your children’s step father. He can’t claim them for EIC.

  902. Jan Roberg on Sat, 22nd Feb 2014 7:52 pm
  903. Hi Jo,
    He won’t be facing any charges, but he will be expected to repay the money. There could also be some interest and penalties. If you’re talking about a 2012 tax return it could be 25% or even more because of the amount of time. If it’s this year, the tax deadline hasn’t come yet so the late fees wouldn’t apply.

  904. kayla on Sun, 23rd Feb 2014 9:53 am

  906. Jan Roberg on Sun, 23rd Feb 2014 1:59 pm
  907. Hi Kayla,
    Since you have gotten no letters, I wouldn’t worry too much. Your uncle lived with you and your daughter and he did support you so it sounds to me like he has a legitimate claim.
    Most likely, the IRS is just holding his return a little longer because he hasn’t claimed her in the past so it is a red flag–but red flag doesn’t make it wrong.
    The only thing I would be worried about is if you have an ex that claimed her, but if that’s definitely not the problem I wouldn’t worry about it. The IRS is just being extra careful.
    Actually, since you didn’t work and he is your uncle–then he could claim an exemption for you as well.

    Now just to clarify things–1. your uncle has to be your real blood uncle (I used to have a “Grampa” that wasn’t related to us at all, but I always thought he was real family.)
    2. Your uncle needs to actually live with you and your child for more than half the year (or the child needs to live with him anyway.)

    So if you don’t actually meet those requirements, then you could have a problem.

    But I suspect the IRS is just waiting to see if you submit a return claiming the kids more than anything else.

  908. kayla on Sun, 23rd Feb 2014 2:13 pm
  909. hi thank u and yes he is my blood uncle im hoping we will get refund this week. and no one else has claimed her no one has her info i just let him this year to help me out but yea i chekced the irs site and all the bars are gone and it just said its processing and will give you refund date so im sure we will have a ddd date this week. just stressing cause could realyl use the extra money right now and yes we all did live together. also my ex cant claim her he dont have her info and i have not spoken to him in 2 years thats why i was leeting my uncle claim her this year to help me out next year ill be able to claim her my self since im working now. i just hope irs will give th emoney this week hate wating. i did call irs one time and they said it was processing didnt say anything was wrong , and i would think we would of got a letter if was bad so thank u so much for your help. i just need to stop stressing and im sure they will ddd the money soon.

  910. Jan Roberg on Sun, 23rd Feb 2014 2:30 pm
  911. @Kayla,
    I hope you get your money soon too. Good luck.

  912. kayla on Sun, 23rd Feb 2014 3:10 pm
  913. I was able to order transcripts for 2013 is that a good sign i ment to add in last message! im the one where uncle claimed my little girl

  914. Jan Roberg on Sun, 23rd Feb 2014 3:27 pm
  915. @Kayla,
    at least it means that they have accepted the returns and processed them, so I’m thinking that’s a good sign.

  916. Edwin on Thu, 24th Apr 2014 4:08 pm
  917. Hi, i just found out about this blog, what i would like to know is if i woul be in problem for claimin my sisters kids (2), they are acctualy aut the contrt but the perso who filled up for me , toldme it was possible

  918. Tong V on Sun, 18th May 2014 12:35 am
  919. I filled a return for 2013 claiming my nieces and nephews and there was 9 of them plus my son which makes it 10 kids all together. I would not have claim them but they did live with me for 7months last year a long with my their mother because of their marital issues. They just left back home this January 2014. I claim them cause I did support them, giving them rides to their school, buying them clothes and food and it was not cheap. The problem I have now is that I receive a letter from state that I need to provide proof but I can not provide proof cause everything was still at their old address only. The only proof I have is that both of the parents did not work at all last year and just their word of mouth. If I knew that helping them would get me into so much issue, I would still help them but not put up with it for 7 months. Please advise me to what I need to do. Thanks.

  920. Tong on Sun, 18th May 2014 12:41 am
  921. can I amended it now or is it too late. Will I go to jail. I always paid my taxes and I would never have claim them if they didn’t live with. Thanks again

  922. dee on Tue, 20th May 2014 6:38 pm
  923. so me and my baby daddy file our taxes. He claim our 2 daughter and got $6,400. But if i was to claim them then i would get $8000. So we both fill a 1040x , we took the 2 child out and i claim them on mind. I got a letter that i need to provide proof of the child living with me. I called the examiner and she ask me why did i fill the 1040x and I told her that because i would get more if i claim the kids. She was saying that, that may be a fraud depending on who audit my case. But how and i called the irs before i file the 1040x and told them the reason why i want to do it and they say it was ok. Also I told my tax preparer and also his and they didnt say that it would be wrong to do that. Please help advise me!!!

  924. dee on Tue, 20th May 2014 11:56 pm
  925. And if its wrong for me doing that can i fill another amendment? or should i just go ahead and send them the information they need and see what happen?

  926. Jan Roberg on Sun, 25th May 2014 10:21 am
  927. Hi Dee,
    I also answered this on “My Ex Claimed my Kid”. I’m just going to copy and paste here in case you don’t find it on the other post:

    Hi Dee,
    There’s nothing wrong with working together to get the best tax situation for your family–and that’s what you’re doing. The reason the IRS is asking questions is because you’ve changed who is claiming the children, they’re just trying to make sure that you’re not committing a fraud–and you haven’t.

    I would not claim head of household since the children’s father makes more than you do and you also live with his parents. Claim single instead.

    Just send the IRS the information that they are asking for. You might wind up sending them a copy of the father’s 1040X also with a letter explaining the situation.

    Usually, I prefer dealing with the IRS through the mail, but your case might be helped if you can go in person as a family with your documents and talk to a human. You don’t have to–but if there’s an IRS office that’s convenient to where you live, it might make things a little easier.

    Bottom line, you haven’t done anything wrong.

  928. Jan Roberg on Mon, 26th May 2014 6:43 am
  929. Hi Tong,
    So you claimed 10 kids on your tax return this year, plus you were supporting their parents. That’s a lot of work.

    I’m guessing that the state is questioning you because–well, here you’ve only claimed one child before (yours) and now you’re claiming 10. It’s a major change and it looks questionable. Even thought I believe you’re in the right–you’ve got to understand what it looks like on paper. “I just added 9 kids to my family this year…” It sounds more like a tv sitcom plot than a tax return.

    So time to get your ducks in a row. First, you say that the state is questioning you, not the IRS. This is my first “hmmmmm” – why the state? Usually the feds are the first to jump on this stuff.

    From what you’re telling me, you’re in the right as far as the IRS is concerned. The children lived under your roof, you supported them, and their parents, and the parents don’t have any income so they wouldn’t claim the children on their tax returns anyway.

    I’m afraid that I’m going to answer your question with more questions:

    1. Did either of the parents file a tax return claiming the children? If they did, the parent wins the exemption over another relative–unless the children did not live with the parent.

    (Now, if the parents made money and didn’t tell you while you were feeding their children–well that’s pretty low.)

    2. If neither parent filed a return claiming the children, then you’re going to need them to back you up–since you don’t have documents about the kids living with you.

    Here are the potential problems I see:

    1. You mentioned driving the kids to school. So I’m guessing that the kids were living with you but going to school in a different school district. With school funding being so tight–could that get the kids kicked out of their school? You wouldn’t want that to happen?

    2. Were you or perhaps one of the parents receiving state benefits because of the children? For example food stamps? Welfare? Since you’re saying the issue is with the state, if could be that your return got flagged because the parents are claiming state benefits because of the kids–and you having them on your return raised a flag there.

    So my short answer is: have the parents write letters stating that they lived with you for that period of time and they didn’t make any money and you supported them etc and have it notarized and send that to the state. It’s not the best documentation, but it’s the best that you’ve got.

    Good luck.

  930. teresa on Sun, 20th Jul 2014 11:22 am
  931. my mom has claimed me and my son for the past 2 years and every time I went to file taxes she would say well I already claimed you and carson so you cant. I said I would do it anyways or go talk to an attorney and she always told me they wouldn’t do anything about it and yada yada and of course I believed her. well 2014 taxes will be right around the corner and she says she is gonna do it again. I done my research that she cant do it and she can get in trouble for doing so. so do I still file a report from the previous years that way she cant do it again or what? I really don’t know what will happen and etc

  932. Brian on Wed, 30th Jul 2014 4:15 pm
  933. Hi –

    I am trying to get some feedback on how tax preparers get away with so much fraud. I have a roommate that is a tax preparer and a few years back he wanted me to help him get organized because he wanted to open a second location. He actually worked out of his home.

    During the first week of volunteering my time , cleaning the office and answering phone calls, I noticed that a lot of people were calling requesting to get their taxes completed. He gave me instruction to tell them where to send their information. I noticed some people faxed information while others didn’t. It talking with a few people, most would tell me that they do not have anything to send in and that he would “hook the taxes up”. I later found out that he was making up tax returns saying that that the clients were self employed with barbers, hair stylist, home health care or entertainment as their line of work. I could not believe that so many people were calling in and they didn’t work ANYWHERE. With a schedule C and a couple of dependents, these people were getting back 6-7k easily. A lot of times the dependents weren’t really theirs to began with. I question him on it and he said he has been doing that for a while and nothing has ever happened. As long as he doesn’t sign them then he is not responsible. But get this, he is an ERO and processes them all through HIS processing bank. In addition he says he makes a killing because he doesn’t really report all his income to the IRS so he can get back a big refund by using someone else dependents. These kids do not live there because I’m his roommate. I don’t see how he gets away with it for all these years. I know for a proven fact that he understated his income by 75K in one year. 90% of his fees are paid through his processing bank. He doesn’t submit his own taxes like others through his tax software or processing bank. He doesn’t want them to suspect anything so he submit his using TurboTax online. He brags about it all the time. All of this is wrong on so many levels. From underreporting to overstating expenses, you name it. I am moving out because I cant deal with this level of integrity and lack of ethics. I am a tax payer that gives Uncle Sam about 18k in taxes each year. I just don’t think its fair that people can get away with this while others have pay. I am thinking about reporting him. He has went as far as to call me stupid when I try to step in and say something.

  934. Jan Roberg on Sun, 10th Aug 2014 2:13 pm
  935. Hi Edwin,
    If you have custody of your sister’s children–if they live with you and you are supporting them, then you should be able to claim them if they have lived with you for over 6 months.

    If not, then you’ll have a problem.

  936. Jan Roberg on Sun, 10th Aug 2014 2:17 pm
  937. Hi Theresa,
    If you have a job and have income and you are supporting your son, then you may claim him. He’s your son.

    Now, if you’re living with your mother, maybe it makes sense for her to claim him. But, she should be coming at that from a point of respect and not, “hey, I already claimed him so you can’t.”

    Here’s an IRS link to help you decide if you should be claiming EIC: http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Earned-Income-Tax-Credit-(EITC)-%E2%80%93–Use-the-EITC-Assistant-to-Find-Out-if-You-Should-Claim-it.

  938. Jan Roberg on Sun, 10th Aug 2014 2:22 pm
  939. Hi Brian,
    I wish you would report him. It’s people like that that cost you, me, and everybody else a lot of tax money. I pay the IRS to get an ID number that I must use on every return I prepare. If I screw up, they can pull every return I ever prepared and audit my clients for other mistakes. Your roommate, who is genuinely scamming the government goes by untouched.

    So I for one, wish you would report him. You’d be doing me a favor. Thanks.

  940. Annie on Tue, 19th Aug 2014 4:01 pm
  941. re tax fraud etc.

    My ex boyfriend went behind my back and claimed my oldest boy 21 and my 12 year old.I caught him because he left a bank statement open on the desk in his office..My ex did this after he moved out.The law was here when he left because he was acting out. Regardless i told him to amend his taxes.He told me i would not owe him rent for the summer months.He did not give me a receipt,.im worried he will evict me.Im also worried ill lose medical coverage for my boys. But im concerned he will not only go back on our agreement, but claim my kids again.Also my oldest son is challenged mentally.He did not give permission to my ex. So im wondering if i should turn him in?

  942. Kelly JS on Thu, 21st Aug 2014 11:24 am
  943. I just found out that my ex husband, who was very physically abusive, during the time I sought asylum in Reno, Nevada after his last beating ( broke both my arms), was filing for EIC on our three children. This occurred in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006. We had seperated prior to my moving 1800 miles away. I did not file income tax those years as I lived off of a small social security check for me having leukemia at the time, and public assistance. I am furious with the man, who is now telling my 16 year old he should have killed me when he had the chance. She refuses to visit him any more. I found this out because I was getting my affairs in order to start a small home business, I joined the military after I went into remission and was injured in Bagdad in 2008. Please help me, I feel, violated by this man again.

  944. Kristen on Fri, 22nd Aug 2014 12:32 pm
  945. yesterday, my stepdaughter< Lisa< told me that her mother got a letter from monterey county (California) stating that she fraudulently received food stamps for Lisa and is being investigated. My husband and I went through a very rough custody battle for Lisa. We had custody of her from 2007-2011. They paperwork to change the custody was dated OCt 2011, but signed Aug 2012. What is the effective date? I ask because I claimed Lisa on our 2012 taxes, the mother said it was ok, and I was thinking it was ok becuase we had legal custody over half the year (i.e. the aug signed date). But now i am wondering if I should get her to sign the 8332 document and send in an amended return? I can only imagine how long she got food stamps, either during the time we did have custody or the gray area between Oct and Aug. Maybe this is all jumbled, but I am wondering how she was sited for fraud, and if it could have to do with my claiming Lisa? How does the county get their information, etc.

  946. Kristen on Fri, 22nd Aug 2014 1:14 pm
  947. to add to my previous post. I want to let you know that I have come to your website for many years for advise, your are very helpful, so thank you. I just realized that I am posting under a specific question, which I don’t think relates to my situation. Thinking about it, I never filed an EIC form, because I prepare my own taxes and because I made too much money. So, in regards to my previous post, if during 2012 the custody was 50/50 (legally im not sure, see above) and the mother verbally agreed to letting us claim Lisa, is it ok for us to do so, AND if the mother got food stamps that year can she get in trouble? Can she change her mind about us claiming Lisa?

  948. Jan Roberg on Sun, 24th Aug 2014 8:53 am
  949. Hi Annie,
    I can’t tell you what to do. He claimed your kids, but he’s paying you back with free rent. But–it’s against the law to claim for him to claim your kids for EIC if he did that, that’s EIC fraud. Since you’re taking money from him for it–you’re guilty too. If you turn him in, what are you going to say?

    Whether you turn him in or not is your decision. I hate to give you this cop out answer but for next year, if you haven’t turned him in, you want to make sure you file your tax return early to keep him from claiming your kids for 2014.

  950. Jan Roberg on Sun, 24th Aug 2014 9:01 am
  951. Hi Kelly,
    Sounds like the smartest thing you ever did in your life was to get away from that loser!
    Here’s another smart thing. just drop it. Those tax years are over and the IRS isn’t going after old stuff. He’s not worth you wasting one minute of your energy over. Since you were divorced, his bad behavior should not affect your old tax returns. Since you had no income then, there should be no harm to you.
    Focus on your kids, your new business, and your life. The best revenge is living well. I hope you get plenty of revenge!

  952. Jan Roberg on Sun, 24th Aug 2014 9:09 am
  953. Hi Kristen,
    I think I have a solution for you. You can’t claim EIC so you only need to claim the exemption for Lisa. Lisa’s mom can still claim Lisa for EIC and head of household status.

    I think you’re right, have Lisa’s mom sing he 8332 and you amend your return, only claiming Lisa for the exemption–it shouldn’t even change your refund, but it will free up the exemption for the mom to claim her for EIC. I don’t know about the food stamp issue–but they do get tax document information so I’m guessing it might clear that problem up for her.

  954. Jeff on Sun, 31st Aug 2014 5:19 pm
  955. Hello, thank you for taking the time to read my post. In July 2013 my sister broke up with her boyfriend and as a result her and her daughter moved in with me. Two weeks later her son was born. She didnt work in 2013 so her boyfriend claimed the daughter and I claimed the baby son which she was fine with. We both live and rent with family but I pay her portion of rent and give her money for food, baby clothes and other expenses since she is not working and going to school. All of which I generally pay cash for. The IRS just sent me an audit notice and want to see supporting documents for the following. Dependency Exemptions, EIC, and Head of Household filing status. We can prove relationship and residency, that is no problem. One thing that concerns me is that the child did not live with me for 6 months since he was born in august. Also I don’t know if I will be able to prove head of house hold since I rent on a cash basis and bills aren’t made out to my name even though I pay them. What do you think about this situation?



  956. Kristen on Tue, 2nd Sep 2014 3:57 pm
  957. Do you know a website that has advise/information on the food stamps/child support issues? I’d like to find someone just like you that can help me with this. I am so curious to know if this could hurt us or help us. I think in the state of California if the custodial parent gets any kind of government assistance that the non-custodial parent has to pay it back. I am not 100% sure, so I am looking for that information. If you know of any website that could help me, I would be grateful for your help.

    Thanks again!

  958. Jan Roberg on Sun, 7th Sep 2014 6:47 am
  959. Hi Jeff,
    Don’t worry about the 6 months issue–the baby was born in August so that’s an exception to that rule. You’d be fine there even if the baby was born in December.

    Head of household is the part that will be tricky–although in my book you should be okay.

    Here’s my first question to you–do you even need to be “head of household”? For lots of people, their refund is the same filing head of household as it is filing as single. If that’s the case for you–go ahead and claim single (keeping the exemptions of course) but file single–that get’s rid of the head of household issue.

    But you’ve still got the EIC portion of the audit left and that’s similar to the head of household issue so let’s deal with that.

    Wait–before we go there–I’m thinking that the only reason you’re getting audited is because somebody else claimed that baby. You might want to find out who. If you’re in a household of other people–look at your housemates. Don’t overlook the Daddy–(that’s the most usual suspect), and don’t forget the baby’s grandparents (even the ones the child doesn’t live with.) Basically, anyone who’s ever seen the child’s social security card could have tried claiming him.

    Okay, back to proving support–Here’s an IRS quiz to help you determine what your filing status should have been: http://www.irs.gov/uac/What-is-My-Filing-Status%3F

    Make sure you answer the questions completely honestly. If you don’t come up with head of household, then don’t use that tax status. You can still get EIC even without claiming head of household. You may lose some money there, but not much compared with losing the EIC.

    Proving your bills–okay so you pay rent on a cash basis–who do you pay? That’s pretty easy. If you really pay your rent and you pay cash, the person you pay should give you a receipt. Maybe you hadn’t been getting receipts in the past because you had a good relationship with the person you paid. But given your situation now–you need them. And you should be able to get that from whoever you paid the rent to.

    Good luck.

  960. Jan Roberg on Sun, 7th Sep 2014 4:22 pm
  961. Hi Kristen,
    I don’t know where to get good advice on food stamps and child support for California. I’m posting your question in case anybody else reading this has a recommendation.

    Now if someone posts the answer, it won’t go up automatically. I have to review posts to make sure it’s not an add for a porno site or anything like that. (You wouldn’t believe some of the stuff that folks try to post!)

    But if anybody knows where to get good advice on food stamps or child support, please send me the link and I’ll pass it on. Thanks.

  962. jane r on Sun, 14th Sep 2014 4:37 am
  963. my ex claimed my 2 boys ages 21 and 12 without asking me.I lived away from him over 6 months in the past year.also The boys are not his kids .He went behind my back after leaving me and filed.I would not have known if he didnt leave a paper in his office showing the tax info.I called a criminal lawyer and he told me i could not sue my ex .Unless by him claiming my boys i lost money etc.I get ssi as im a widow.So i dont file taxes because thats my only income .I was told by the lawyer my ex could be charged for fraud and identity theft and serve time .I read the authorities have up to 3 years to charge my ex l have not turned him in because i dont want him in trouble.What should i do?I recently found out he claimed them the last 2 years without my consent.I supported my kids too.My income is enough that i never needed anything from my ex the last few years.I bought the food and paid bills on my bank card etc.So he did not provide for my boys . I was so upset once i realized what he did to me and my kids.

  964. Jan Roberg on Sun, 14th Sep 2014 8:19 am
  965. Hi Jane,
    I think this post if for you: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2013/12/how-to-file-a-tax-return-when-you-have-no-income-and-why-you-might-want-to/

    About going to jail for the tax fraud–I spoke with a real treasury agent about that. You know the IRS guys with guns and badges. Because I kept hearing about these guys committing fraud and never getting caught, never being punished. But you always hear about movie stars going to jail for taxes.

    What he told me was that they don’t even look at a case unless the tax bill is over $40,000 (for one year.) Your boyfriend doesn’t come close so I wouldn’t worry about him going to jail. The worst that would happen is that he’d have to pay back the EIC with penalties and interest.

    But you’re probably looking more at preventing him from doing it in the future–that’s why you want to see my other post about filing a tax return even if you have no income. What it does is put your kids on the IRS radar and block him from claiming them for EIC. And that’s what you really want.

  966. Chris on Thu, 18th Sep 2014 8:27 pm
  967. So I just got a called that I will be getting a paper to appeared in court or summoned etc for 2 counts of frudelent activity the reasons is that I illegally claim my younger bros as dependents on my EIC from 2010 till 2013 I know what did was wrong so my question is should I do one of those amend paper back to the IRS or what other choices do I have

  968. Jan Roberg on Sun, 21st Sep 2014 9:37 am
  969. Hi Chris,
    First, I would get a lawyer. My first question would be:

    Who’s bringing you to court?

    The reason I ask that is the IRS usually won’t do that unless the dollar amount is over $40,000 (per year of taxes.) Whatever you got for the EIC would be less than that.

    Now, if you really were in the wrong, then it might make sense to amend and be right with the government, but I can see this turning into you having to pay the government back and whoever is suing you–and that would be double paying.

    You’ll have to make it right, I just want to make sure you protect yourself. You should only have to make it right once.

  970. ZETA L on Sat, 27th Sep 2014 3:44 pm
  971. I’m getting audited 10/08/2014 for claiming my niece and nephew my sister don’t work she and her kids live with me but not on my lease I help her with her kids buy them things that they need when we do get the income check I buy them moor things like lab top for school my sister don’t get child support is that fraud

  972. Jan Roberg on Sun, 28th Sep 2014 8:23 am
  973. Hi Zeta,
    You are the children’s aunt. They live with you. The mother is not claiming them. Not only is that not fraud, it sounds like a legitimate claim.

    Here are the rules:

    The children need to live with you for at least six months of the year. So if you are being audited for 2013, they needed to live with you for at least 6 months in 2013. So even though they are not on the lease, you will need to prove they live at your address.

    School records are the easiest proof, but doctor bills, or shot records are good too. Whatever you’ve got that shows the children live at your address is what you’ll give to the IRS.

    I’m guessing that someone else is also trying to claim them. Usually it’s the father. But if the kids don’t live with him, then you should be okay.

  974. sherry on Sat, 25th Oct 2014 7:09 pm
  975. So my ex and I separated in September of2013. But the divorce wasn’t finalized till April2014. I didn’t file taxes because no income. My children father claimed them. He called me telling me he got papers from the IRS. Someone else claimed the children also. I’m assuming it is my ex husband. Was he legally able to claim them even though we were separated? They are not his children. And they lived solely with me since we separated. Wouldn’t he have at least of had to inform me that he was.

  976. Jan Roberg on Sun, 2nd Nov 2014 3:12 pm
  977. Hi Sherry,
    Okay so ex number one is the biological father of your children. Ex number 2 was your lawful husband as of 12/31/2013–right?

    So, ex #2 does have the right to claim your children as his dependents on his income tax return–but you probably should have signed it. Which I’m guessing that you didn’t otherwise you’d know he claimed them.

    Here’s the thing–as you husband, he lived with the children for at least 6 months. So he can claim them on his return. But–he can’t claim EIC if he does the married filing separately status, and he can’t claim head of household because you lived together for 3 of the last six months of the year, so he could only legally file married filing jointly to get EIC.

    Meaning–either he forged your signature, or he claimed head of household even though legally he doesn’t qualify.

    Now ex #1, he can only claim your kids as dependents, he can’t get EIC no matter what since the children do not live with him (they live with you.) Even if you sign the 8332 form, that only allows him to claim the exemption, not the EIC.

    Since you supposedly signed the tax return, you can get a transcript from the IRS–which would give you the information you need. If the IRS says they don’t have anything with your social on it, then you know that Ex #2 filed as head of household or MFS. But I’m guessing he wouldn’t do MFS since there’s no EIC to it.

    If Ex #2 forged your signature he should make it up to you. I mean, if you were to file a zero balance return as married filing separate and claim the children yourself, well, that would mess up his head of household or married filing jointly return wouldn’t it? So, you see, you do have a little leverage here.

  978. Jan Roberg on Sun, 2nd Nov 2014 3:15 pm
  979. PS: I’m sorry Sherry, you sound like a nice person. That last bit wasn’t really a nice thing to do. I am not always a nice person. Sometimes nice people need to know what not nice people would do. Forgery isn’t nice. In fact, it’s a crime I just wanted to make sure that a nice person like you knows what her not so nice options are. :)

  980. sherry on Mon, 3rd Nov 2014 1:18 pm
  981. Ex #1 only claimed them as dependants, no eic and filed single. As for ex #2 he had some nasty things to say before court because his efile got kicked back because ex#1 got his taxes in first. I told him I didn’t claim them that their father did that it was his year to. So he must of printed them out and mailed them in. Its has no transcript on me for 2013. Could it be because ex #2 taxes haven’t been processed yet because of the kids getting claimed twice? More than llikely he is trying to get the eic because he has made comments about paying off his loans that he took out for his divorce attorney with the tax money.

  982. Maria on Wed, 19th Nov 2014 4:19 am
  983. Hello im not sure if im on the right page but i received a letter from the irs about someone else claiming my son on his income tax for 2013 (his father) actually last month which i thought was pretty odd. I was thinking maybe he delayed mailing his return out bc he found out i had claimed him this year. Previous years (when we were together ) i let him claim my son bc he always owed taxes and i have a son from another man who i have full custody of. Before i broke up with him he left me thousands of dollars in debt behind on loans in my name rent while he was living with us and was pretty much left starving with my 2 boys. All he has proof of paying for is for daycare expenses that he claims every year. Plus since the daycare is on a military base where he works at the address is his (only proof of adress) i guess my question is can he prove that the child lives with him just by that? I havent gotten any other paperwork besides this initial one but since the break up we’ve gone to family court and he does not pay child support we have joint legal custody but it states i only have physical custody(which i dont understand because) we have 50/50 visitation rights as of june 29th of this year. Since then i have signed him up for kindergarten so school and medical records are both currently at my address. I understand that with this new court order one of us will have our son one more day out of the year so it will be every other year. Should i make an amendment even tho i dont think i should and although i tried to talk to him about an agreement he has refused bc all he cares is about the money. Do u think i have a good case? Cant sleep much amd am worried about owing the irs money if they take this one and only daycare address as proof. Help please! Thank u for ur time!

  984. Jan Roberg on Thu, 27th Nov 2014 7:53 am
  985. Hi Maria,
    As I read your story I see two lines that scream out to me. The first is: he left you starving with your two boys. The second is: He says you only have physical custody.

    Girlfriend, both of those two lines make you win.

    Here’s the thing. When you are claiming children on your tax return, the most important issue is being the parent. Hey, you’re both the parent of one of the children, right? So the next issue is, who does the child live with. And that’s obviously you.

    Physical custody means–who is the child living with. That’s you!

    Now, as you fight things out in court, you may switch who gets to claim the exemption each year, but the physical custody part determines who gets to claim EIC. Even if your ex gets to claim the exemption, you get the EIC because your son lives with you. You’ll want to read this: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2011/11/split-exemption-claiming-one-child-on-two-tax-returns-%E2%80%94-the-legal-way/

    So you document that says you have physical custody basically gives you the win with the IRS. He can visit 50% of the time, but it sounds like your child sleeps at your house.

    Line up your paperwork, but it sounds to me like your son lives with you. That’s the bottom line.

    Oh, one more thing- your ex can’t claim the daycare expense even if he pays it. Sorry, but only you can claim that because your child lives with you. Not to be a witch, but just sayin’.

  986. KRISS on Wed, 10th Dec 2014 1:59 pm

  988. Jan Roberg on Sun, 28th Dec 2014 8:44 am
  989. Hi Kriss,
    I can’t tell exactly what happened as I don’t have the IRS notice or anything like that. Here are a couple of possibilities, but remember, I’m only guessing, okay?
    -maybe since only one social security number was off, she did claim one of the kids on her return
    -maybe, she would have owed anyway even if she didn’t claim the kids and that’s why she’s getting the 2400 bill
    -maybe it’s a combination of both of the above

    So I’m thinking, she probably would have owed had she not claimed the kids and since she thought she’d get a refund for the kids she didn’t pay so now the IRS wants their money.

  990. Dannyka W on Wed, 7th Jan 2015 3:25 am
  991. Hello Jan. I have a very important situation. Back in 2009 (during the 2008 year filing period), I claimed my girlfriends child on my tax return, her mother was not working and I had provided nearly all (90%) of the support for her and her child in my home for well over that tax year, they were also not the qualifying children of anyone else. I explained that to a tax preparer at a small tax office near my home, he claimed the EIC and other credits and I shortly after found out that I was not entitled to those credits. I was audited and went to the tax preparer for help and he told me it was my fault, so confused and all, I just paid the fines and penalties and recieved a letter (to the tune of me not being able to claim an EIC credit for maybe 8 years or something like that). I am not really sure about the time because I was so stressed and frustrated that I was even going through this situation. I wanted to know if this child could be claimed as my qualifying relative? I have no intent to fraud or anything like that, I simply would like to receive the tax break if it is due to me. I have been taking care of this child since late 2007 and she lives with me in my home. Also due to my being audited is there any forms I need with my return with claiming a qualifying relative, if this is possible at all. I am happy I came across your page, you really know what your doing.

  992. Jan Roberg on Sun, 11th Jan 2015 5:10 pm
  993. Hi Dannyka,
    Okay first–the EIC. That letter you got basically will prevent you from claiming EIC in the future on that child (and can also affect you claiming other children.) That’s a pretty nasty IRS ruling you got there.

    Now, here’s the thing. You got caught on the EIC thing because somebody else claimed that child. So–who did it? Did that person have a right to claim the child?

    You may be providing all the support, but if there is a divorce decree or a child support document, there may be another parent out there claiming the exemption. If that’s the case, you can’t.

    The reason I’m thinking that’s the case is–you got hit for the EIC thing.

    Now, this is the really sucky part. You’re providing the support, the child lives with you, so nobody (except the mother) should be claiming the EIC. I’d bet you that whoever ratted you out claimed the EIC, even though that person couldn’t possibly do that if the child really lives with you.

    So, I think you’re going to lose this battle no matter what. And I’m sorry your tax person didn’t know enough to keep you out of trouble in the first place.

    But–even though I think you have a good basis for claiming the child as a qualifying relative–check out the lay of the land. Who else has an interest in this child and who might be trying to claim her? Even though you have a good case–remember that you’re going to be flagged for it.

    Actually, you might want to file your return without the child, and then, later amend and claim her. This gets you your basic refund (if you qualify for one) back fast. Then, it allows you to “ask the IRS” for permission to claim the child. You amend later, claiming the exemptions stating on the 1040X: dependent was originally omitted from return as I had previously been denied EIC for the child. But, I discovered that although I am not entitled to EIC, I am entitled to claiming the exemption for child as a qualifying relative.”

    I’m really liking that idea–you see. by filing without the exemption up front, you’ve filed a valid, perfect return. Then, by requesting the exemption on the 1040X, if the IRS is going to deny it, the 1040X won’t count as a “fraudulent” return. They’ll just reject. But if you claim the child up front, your return will go into the “Hmmmm-bad EIC person, let’s hold this up for weeks” category.

    I hope I’m making sense. I realize this is funky logic. The best part is, if you do the amended return and the IRS approves your claiming the child, then you can file with her as your dependent in the future with confidence.

    Good luck.

  994. Lacey M on Sun, 25th Jan 2015 3:47 pm
  995. Question: I claimed my child that lives with me 90% of the year (gone during the summer to her dad) this year (2015). Since he was upset that I claimed her the year before as well, he took her non-court ordered child support and paid the taxes he owed because he could not claim her. Thus not paying any support for months.

    He has now decided to claim her on his taxes without my consent after I have claimed her already this year. How do I avoid an audit? I am legally qualified to claim her and he is not.

  996. Jan Roberg on Mon, 26th Jan 2015 8:58 pm
  997. Hi Lacey,
    If you’ve already filed and your return was accepted, your ex will have to paper file his return and start the audit process. Since your child lives with you more, you’ll win the audit if it goes to that.
    There’s nothing you can do to stop the audit if your ex pushes for it, but it sounds like you’re solid on this so I wouldn’t worry. He should be afraid to push the audit because he’ll have to prove his claim.

  998. marie on Fri, 30th Jan 2015 2:05 pm
  999. i have a son who is 4,my boyfriend and i been together 3 years and hes trying to claim my son hes sole provider for the past 2 years he wasnt able to claim him last year cause we were unable to due to them not being blood relative but this year we are trying to claim taxes and we dont know how to file my son under as for his taxes i am unable to work due from surgery issues and we are trying to figure a way to do so legally without troubles. do you think there is a way to do so? and if so how? my boyfriend is tthe only person my son knows as dad. and he is also the only provider for the child and myself.

  1000. Jan Roberg on Sun, 1st Feb 2015 4:29 pm
  1001. scared on Mon, 2nd Feb 2015 2:46 am
  1002. Ok. So I filed my 2013 taxes and everthing was fine… Or so I thought. I remember my mother saying I could claim my younger sister, so just to see how it would figure my EIC, I input a random name and numbers for the ssn… I deleted that information, OR SO I THOUGHT. Turns out I hadnt, and the IRS wound up giving me that credit. i hadnt noticed until just now because I was also in school and I thought the additional.money was the education credit… Honestly, if I never wouldve downloaded my 2013 return (trying to find my employers ID) I never wouldve noticed… What can I do? It was a complete ACCIDENT!

  1003. Jorge on Mon, 2nd Feb 2015 12:27 pm
  1004. Hi i have a question…i claimed three kids that are not mine, i gave the mom have of my return which was around 3500…i dont know the kids at all and i was wonderind can i go to jail or get fined for this?

  1005. Melissa on Mon, 2nd Feb 2015 7:27 pm
  1006. Hi,

    My husband and I have joint custody of his daughter (50/50), he still pays child support, and she is covered by his insurance. They went to court 3 years ago for all of this and he has court ordered papers that state he gets to claim his daughter as a dependent AND EIC every year. For the last 2 years his taxes have been denied because someone else has claimed his daughter. We found out it was her mom. She is claiming the EIC for her. So we have to paper file his taxes every year with a copy of the court papers saying HE gets to claim her and wait 2 months for his return. We believe she did it again this year. So my question is, how long will the IRS let this go on? Will they eventually flag her taxes or something so this doesn’t happen every year? Won’t she eventually have to pay all that money back? It just gets a little frustrating having to do this every year!

  1007. Erica on Tue, 3rd Feb 2015 12:31 am
  1008. I have a Question I Am On Section 8 And My Sister wants to claim My Daughter But My sister is not on my section 8 Will I get in trouble if she claims my daughter on her tax return??

  1009. melissa on Tue, 3rd Feb 2015 6:58 am
  1010. I have a question.. My gf wasn’t able to claim her 5 yr old on her taxes cause she didn’t make enough. And the child’s dad already did his taxes. Is there any way I can claim the child? Iv supported her for almost 8 months now but she’s not my blood..

  1011. Brigitte on Wed, 4th Feb 2015 5:09 am
  1012. I’m so glad i found your site! I hope you can help. Here’s our situation.
    My gf and i had to move in with my disabled mother last year after loosing our place. I have 3 children. She is the only one working and is supporting myself and my kids as well as giving my mother money on the bills. We went to the same tax place we went last year who informed us they lost our records BC there is a new owner. The copy of the taxes we can’t even read BC their printer was out of ink. My gf got a $500 advance and a few days later went online to where’s my refund and it said: we are reviewing your refund and need more information we will be sending you a letter within thirty days explaining what we need. So my gf worried there might be an issue. She had the tax preparer go over her taxes and found out the preparer had listed my three children as my gf’s nieces and nephew.
    The year before we had our own home and my gf was the only one working and she claimed my children (2 kids at that time) but now we wonder what they listed her relationship with them was last year..
    Were upset BC we really needed the money for bills and now it’s going to take time.. But now we’re worried that well get audited and we don’t save reciepts etc. No reason to ever save them. We just are lost and don’t really know what to do at this point. I heard that is you do an amended return that your for sure getting audited.. So we don’t know what to do..
    My gf has supported my children, so she does have legal right to claim them, right? Please help and advice would be greatly appreciated.

  1013. Brigitte on Wed, 4th Feb 2015 4:14 pm
  1014. I asked a question and was wondering how long it takes to get a response. Also, how do I find the comment again to look for my answer? Thanks so much

  1015. Charles on Thu, 5th Feb 2015 11:21 am
  1016. I am divorced with one child. We have 50/50 shared custody, with alternate years of being able to claim our child as a dependent.

    Exwife will claim dependent exemption for 2014, but I’d like to file as HOH, which would benefit me with am extra $1500 refund.

    Problem is, I don’t have records to show our child lived with me more than half the year. It could have been a few days over or under half.

    Should I claim HOH and risk an audit?
    Should I consult with Exwife to determine how she will file, and file opposite?
    Or should I just file single?

  1017. Jan Roberg on Sun, 8th Feb 2015 7:44 am
  1018. Hi Melissa,
    Eventually she should get caught and have to pay the taxes back, but I hear about these things all the time. And you’re the one who has to wait and paper file and all that. I tired filing a petition to get PIN numbers for children in these cases–I lost. The Treasury Inspector General’s office (who I suspect has a little more influence with the IRS than I do) has suggested something similar–it ain’t happening.

    So, in the meantime, people like you are stuck paper filing their returns and waiting months for their refunds. Sorry. I wish I had a better answer for you.

  1019. Jan Roberg on Sun, 8th Feb 2015 7:47 am
  1020. Hi Erica,
    So here’s the real question–who does your daughter live with? Does she live with you or your sister? Or both?

    So, if your sister is living with you, and she’s not on your Section 8–does that mean you’re cheating the Section 8 housing people?

    If the answer to that question is yes, then you have your answer to your question.

  1021. Jan Roberg on Sun, 8th Feb 2015 7:47 am
  1022. Hi Melissa,
    Absolutely not. Don’t try.

  1023. Jan Roberg on Sun, 8th Feb 2015 7:57 am
  1024. Hi Brigitte,
    Okay, you need a new preparer.

    Your girlfriend is not your children’s aunt. There is no blood relationship–but the prepared listed her that way. So who lied? I’m betting she signed a statement claiming the relationship–because if she didn’t — it’s a $500 fine to the preparer.

    I recommend amending the returns before you get caught. Now, if no body else claims the children, she could possibly claim them as dependents–but not for EIC.

    Another option is for your mom-who you were living with, claim the kids for EIC. That would be legal–if your mom had any earned income.

    Where is the children’s father in all of this? What’s his role? If he claimed the kids on his return as dependents–he could get you audited anyway. So, fix your returns now. Better now than to have to deal with the penalties later.

  1025. Jan Roberg on Sun, 8th Feb 2015 8:00 am
  1026. @Briggitte,
    During tax season, it takes a long time to get an answer. And, you’ll need to scroll to the bottom to find yours. I usually answer on Sundays. If you ask on a Sunday, then it will take a whole week. This week, there’s over 60 questions in my in box (after the spam is filtered out) so I’m not sure I can get through all of them. But I try.

  1027. Jan Roberg on Sun, 8th Feb 2015 8:02 am
  1028. Hi Charles,
    I recommend talking with your ex. I also recommend reading this post: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2015/01/tax-strategy-for-exes-that-get-along/

    You two might work out something that’s good for both of you.

  1029. Jan Roberg on Sun, 8th Feb 2015 8:59 am
  1030. Dear Scared,
    You need to file an amended return. Pay back any extra refund that you got. Do it before April 15th and that mistake will never be recorded because your “permanent” tax return is what gets filed before April 15th.

  1031. Jan Roberg on Sun, 8th Feb 2015 9:45 am
  1032. Hi Jorge
    So you’re not likely to go to jail, but the fines will be the entire amount of the refund, plus up to 25% for a late payment fee, plus 20 – 40% penalties for fraud. I recommend amending your return ASAP and fixing that mistake before the IRS catches you.

  1033. Stressed out on Mon, 9th Feb 2015 2:22 pm
  1034. In 2011 and subsequently in 2012 I claimed HOH and also claimed my son. Problem is I shouldn’t have claimed HOH but married filing joint. For 2011 I received EIC. For 2012 they actually reversed the whole tax return (I believe because they didn’t have a copy of my W2) and I never actually got anything. I have been meaning to amend these returns since last year. Now the IRS is auditing a C corp I have connections with and as a result need my tax returns. I have now amended the returns although I have no idea how long it will take the IRS to receive them and input everything. For 2011 I amended to married filing seperate, still claiming my son, and for 2012 I actually amended my husbands return to include my information, since they had taken my W2 out I figured that was the best way, so for that year we are married filing joint. My question is, will amending these returns bring about more attention to look into this case or will it look better that I fixed the mistake before the audit? Once again it isn’t an audit on me personally but the business however as mentioned they need my returns. I am so stressed and literally having nightmares about this. Also is this something I could be facing fraud charges for?

  1035. Michael on Fri, 13th Feb 2015 11:10 am
  1036. My wife left our family which includes her 3 biological son’s over 4 years ago now. Just recently she told me that she had been claiming the children on her taxes. She clearly does not live with them and pays little and closer to nothing as far as financial support. I have been raising them and financially supporting them on my own now since the day she left. I do not have an taxable income and have been raising them through my inheritance so I have never claimed them on my taxes. I’m very upset because my wife just walked away from her own flesh and blood without a single concern about them in the slightest. If that is disgusting enough, I find out she has been profiting from the decision for the past 4 years? Maybe she is entitled to claim them but it sure doesn’t seem legal to me. I decided to report her and let the IRS know what she has been doing. Can she legally claim them and do you think she’ll be facing any kind of serious consequences for what she has done? My God, she has only seen these kids 10 days in the last 5 years.

  1037. Audrey on Tue, 17th Feb 2015 6:46 pm
  1038. Hi Jan-
    So like alot of people on here i did not realize could not claim my boyfriends child though i supported him fully. I of course was audited and had to pay back 8000.00 including the year before when i had also claimed him. I have paid everything back but never was notified that i cannot claim eic or hoh in the future? I call and they say they don’t see anything saying i cannot claim eic now? How would i know if i am barred from eic as i have two children of my own that i did not have at the time

  1039. KAYLA on Thu, 19th Feb 2015 12:30 pm

  1041. Michael on Mon, 23rd Feb 2015 2:41 pm
  1042. My wife left the family in September of 2011. She left behind 3 boys who are biologically her 3 children; She has been claiming them on her taxes ever since she left. I have been taking care of these children without any financial support from her and really don’t feel as though she has the right to claim these children when she offers to no financial or any other support. They also live with me 100% of the time. She has seen them a total of 10 days in the last 4 yrs. Can she legally claim these children simply because they are biologically hers???? I would think that in order to make a claim on them that she would have to financially support them or at least have them living with her but this isn’t the case at all. Also, would I then have a right to claim them? I’m sorry but I don’t understand the tax laws at all. Thanks.

  1043. Sarnold on Wed, 25th Feb 2015 3:41 pm
  1044. I have claimed my little sister for 2 years, but I never changed my “single” status to “head of house” with my employer. She does live with me and I pay anything she needs, but she wants to move back with our mom next year. Will they audit me because, I did not change my working w-2 (papers you sign when you first start) and she moves back?

  1045. Jan Roberg on Sun, 1st Mar 2015 9:59 am
  1046. Hi Stressed,
    First, I think you need professional representation on this. It’s standard operating procedure for the IRS to ask for your personal returns when they are auditing your business. But, given that you’ve done some things that are a little questionable, you want representation.
    It definitely looks better that you fixed the mistake before the audit, but you should sit down with a professional and talk about this issue face to face. It will be money well spent.

  1047. Jan Roberg on Sun, 1st Mar 2015 10:03 am
  1048. Hi Michael,
    If you are still married, she can claim them, but not for EIC. But it all depends upon how she files.
    If I were you, I’d file a zero dollar tax return claiming your sons as dependents. You must have some income since you’re living off of your inheritance–interest or dividends. Even if you owe no tax, you can still file a return. By doing so, you’re using up their social security numbers and keeping her from claiming them in the future. (You can also file back tax returns doing the same thing.)

  1049. Kay on Thu, 5th Mar 2015 11:19 pm
  1050. hi

    im a stay at home mom and my fiancé supports me and our 3kids. 2 of the children

    we share together and my other child is from a previous relationship, My fiancé pays

    all bills and we all live together under the same roof for 4yrs now. i allowed a friend of

    mine to claim 2 of my children one which is for my fiancé and i, and the other thats

    from previous relation. my fiancé claimed our child that we share together last year,

    but he’s never claimed for the child that we don’t share together, with this said i feel i

    made a big mistake . i was trying to help my friend out because she needed some

    financial help and she doesn’t have any dependents of her own to claim. she asked

    me and i said ok. i didn’t really do it for the sake of myself but more for her, because

    she’s needed the help. my fiancé wasn’t really gonna claim our child that we have

    together cause he has other children from previous marriage that he supports and

    claims for. my friend did tell me she would give me a lil money out of what she

    received, but then we had a argument and she decided to give me nothing, i know I’m

    totally at fault for allowing her to even claim my children, and my fiancé is very upset

    that i did this and now he wants to claim all of us this year, including myself and my

    daughter that we don’t share together and our other two kids because his ex wife will

    be claiming his other children this year. He is very upset with me and i don’t know what

    to do because I’m no longer friends with that girl and she’s now saying how my fiancé

    can’t claim for kids cause she already claimed for them and that he will get audited,

    she’s basically trying to scare him from claiming his own child that she has no right to

    at all, she is no blood relative, just a friend i tried to help, and to backfired on me. this

    will be the second time that she claimed for the child that is only mine alone, now she

    says she doesn’t care if she has to pay back irs but she doubt that will happen. she is

    acting like my kids are her kids and she has more rights over them than me and my

    fiancé , when she isn’t even related to us. she has no proof of no nothing for my kids

    my fiancé makes over 150,000.00 and he needs to do his taxes before the deadline but we have this issue, can u help me on what we can do please?

    can my fiancé claim for our daughter, even though she claimed for her already?

    can he claim for my daughter (his non biological ), that she also claimed for?

    can he claim for me, since we live together and he supports me?

    since I’m the parent of the child that we don’t share together, and my fiancé supports us both, does it look better for him to claim me along with my daughter ? even though my ex friend already claimed my daughter? would it give him more right to claim her as a dependent over my ex friend that already claimed her?

    thank u for ur time!

  1051. Tessil on Wed, 22nd Apr 2015 10:50 pm
  1052. My husband has a child that is us citizen jn mexico with a mexican mother with a visa, she is letting her cousin us citizen to claim her/his daughter and get money from that, she threatened my husband he better not claiming her because she is doing it, what could happen to her since she lives in mexico and to her cousin that lives in texas

  1053. Jan Roberg on Wed, 29th Apr 2015 8:45 pm
  1054. Hi Audrey,
    If you are barred from claiming EIC you would have gotten a letter about it. Go ahead and claim your actual children. When you’ll filing taxes, there’s a question about if you have even been denied EIC in the past–yes you have But you’re allowed to claim your own children (if of course you meet all the other requirements.)

  1055. Jan Roberg on Wed, 29th Apr 2015 8:47 pm
  1056. Hi Kayla,
    Since you’ve already been contacted by the IRS about claiming children that you shouldn’t claim, it’s too late to go and amend your return (unless you’re amending for a year you haven’t been caught for yet.)
    I’d just go ahead and pay the tax–you can’t claim the EIC.

  1057. Jan Roberg on Wed, 29th Apr 2015 8:50 pm
  1058. Hi Michael,
    your wife left back in 2011 and she’s still claiming the kids? No, she can’t!

    They’re your kids! No even if you are not the biological father, you became their legal father when you married their mother.

    So, you have residency and relationship–two of the big deals in claiming the kids for EIC. They’re yours to claim.

  1059. Jan Roberg on Wed, 29th Apr 2015 8:52 pm
  1060. Hi Sarnold,
    You’re fine. The W4 working papers are just to identify how much tax you want withheld from your paycheck. It’s not a document that goes to the IRS at all.
    So if you’re claiming single, that’s fine–whether you’re able to claim your sister on your tax return or not. It just tells your employer to withhold more money from your paycheck to pay for your taxes. That’s all it means.

  1061. Jan Roberg on Wed, 29th Apr 2015 9:01 pm
  1062. Hi Kay,
    I realize you were looking for an answer before April 15th but I was too busy working on tax returns. I apologize for being so late.
    First-you know you did wrong letting someone claim your kids so I won’t beat you up over that.

    Now–your fiance of course has every legal right to claim his own kids. Done deal. If your friend claimed your fiance’s child–well then she’s going to have to face the music on that.

    Now, the child that’s not his–your fiance’ isn’t going to get EIC on this child, and he won’t get a child tax credit. But at an income of $150,000 it will still help him to have the exemption. And–since he’s been living with the child for the entire year and he supports the child–it’s fine to claim him.

    And, if you make no income, then your fiance’ can claim you too. Same rules apply to claiming you as to claiming your child.

    Now–here’s the problem. The friend (and really, if friend the right word? She’s no real friend.) Anyway, if this “person who used to be a friend” claimed kids she shouldn’t, then your fiance’s return is going to get rejected when he efiles.

    But–he’s in the right, so he can just paper file his tax return and let the audit begin. And that’s okay because he’s got a winning case.

  1063. Justin on Tue, 12th May 2015 2:14 pm
  1064. Hi Jan. Thank you for being so faithful to answer every question over the years on this forum. I tried to read them all looking for a similar question to mine. Please forgive me if it was asked and then answered.
    I am amending my 2012 return to file a joint return and claim my son. He was born that year in the Philippines and I came back to the US and worked the last few months of that year. I supported him and my wife, except for housing, and they lived with her parents in the Philippines. They came late 2013 and have ss# now, he was born a US citizen. Can I receive the eic for that year? I will list him as a dependent that did not live with me in the divorced separated column, though it was just part of the immigration process that we were separated.

  1065. Jan Roberg on Sun, 17th May 2015 5:22 pm
  1066. Hi Tessil,
    The cousin is committing fraud. That said, your husband cannot claim the child either as he is no living with his child.

  1067. Jan Roberg on Sun, 17th May 2015 5:32 pm
  1068. Hi Justin,
    Here’s a link that should help: http://apps.irs.gov/app/eitc2012/Return_To_Start.do

    It’s the EITC assistant. You answer questions and it tells you if you will qualify for EIC. I think you may have a problem qualifying for EIC if your wife is not a US citizen. And since she was in the Phillipines, she wouldn’t qualify as a resident for that time. That would keep you from qualifying for EIC.

    You could still get the benefit of married filing jointly and the child tax credit, just not EIC.

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