Quick Reference For Tax Professionals – Can Clients Use Divorce Decree To Claim Child?

Posted at February 19, 2015

Quick Reference For Tax Professionals – Can Clients Use Divorce Decree To Claim Child featured image

As a Tax Professional, you will have to ask your clients a few questions when dealing with this situation.
Is your client the custodial or noncustodial parent?
When is the final divorce decree dated?

If the divorce decree or separation agreement went into effect after 1984 and before 2009 The noncustodial parent may be able to attach certain pages from the decree or agreement instead of Form 8332.

Does the decree or agreement include ALL of the following REQUIRED information?

  • The custodial parent will not claim the child as a dependent for the year.
  • The noncustodial parent can claim the child as a dependent without regard to any condition, such as payment of support.
  • The years for which the noncustodial parent, rather than the custodial parent, can claim the child as a dependent.

The noncustodial parent must attach the following pages of the decree or agreement to the tax return.

  • The cover page (the taxpayers social security number should be included for reference).
  • The exact pages that have include information required from above.
  • The signature page with the other parent’s signature and the date of the agreement.

If the decree or agreement went into effect after 2008

The noncustodial parent claiming an exemption for a child CANNOT attach pages from a divorce decree or separation agreement instead of Form 8332. The custodial parent MUST sign either a Form 8332 or a similar statement. The only purpose of this statement must be to release the custodial parent’s claim to the child’s exemption. The noncustodial parent must attach a copy of his or her return. The form or statement must release the custodial parent’s claim to the child without any conditions. For example, the release must not depend on the noncustodial parent paying support.

Important reminder for tax professionals – the noncustodial parent must attach the required information noted above even if information was submitted with a return in an earlier year.

For more information on this topic please reference IRS Pub 504

If you are using our UTS software for tax professionals and have questions about the form, feel free to contact us for any assistance.

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Author: Mike Steele

Serial entrepreneur since 1994. Tax preparation and tax software have been my passion over the years. Bringing value to my customers has always been a priority. If it’s not great, keep trying.

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