Can you claim kids that are not yours on your tax return?

My fiance has kids from a previous relationship, and I claimed them on last years tax return and now i'm getting audited. They say i'm not allowed to claim them if they're not legally mine, but I am the only one bringing in a income while she is unemployed and watching the kids. For awahile now i have been on pause with legal guardianship of them due to the mother going through court with the biological father. So is it alright to claim them, since they're living with me and I am supporting them as well as her. Any type of advice would help to get me out of this situation, I did get a big return and the IRS want it all back.

3 years ago - 6 answers

Best Answer

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"I did get a big return"--um, right, how? Did you claim them as "qualifying relatives" (even though they aren't) or as "qualifying children"?

Theoretically, if the mother and children lived with you for the entire year, the mom didn't work and you alone provided more than half of their total support, you could have claimed them as "qualifying relatives." At best, this allows you to claim the exemptions. You still must file as single, can't use head of household, can't claim the child tax credit or EIC. For 2-3 people, that's maybe a $1000 change to the refund. Most people wouldn't call that big, but it would be legal.

You see, when the shackup boyfriend provides more than half of the support and the kids lived with him all year, that means the two parents (custodial mom and non-custodial dad) didn't. The non-custodial dad can't claim them because he the children didn't live with him and mom can't sign a form 8332 because she isn't eligible to. Mom can't claim the kids because she has no income and either is a dependent of someone else (you) or didn't have a filing requirement at all. (Income has to be below $9350 and she doesn't claim EIC.)

To win the audit, you show how you provided the support.

Now, if you screwed up and claimed them as "qualifying children" when they have no legal or biological relationship to you, you screwed up big time. You can't file a return as head of household, claim the child tax credit and EIC when you have no relationship other than you might file for legal guardianship sometime in the future. In that case, you not only owe the big refund back, you will find yourself barred from claiming EIC for any child for 2 or 10 years.

Repeat, these are not your children. You aren't the bio-dad. You didn't marry the mother. You don't get legal recognition without actually doing something.

3 years ago

Other Answers

They must have lived with you ALL year in 2010, you must be able to claim their mother as a dependent, you must pay MORE than 50% of their support, etc. Basically I think what happened is the bio-dad claimed them and the IRS asks BOTH of you to prove you could legally claim them.

by the kid - 3 years ago

Well if the kids are living with you for over 6 months as well as her.. There should be no reason why you cant... Hopefully you put them as your step kids.. another thing is if somebody else tried to claim them without you knowing... anyways i would get a lawyer to help you out and explain to them the situation that might just be your only help

by locababygirl1987 - 3 years ago

You can only claim them if both parents are unable to claim them, and they live with you all year, and that does not violate local law, and several other requirements are met.

The reasons that you gave are not sufficient. The mere fact that she is unemployed is irrelevant. Even though she is unemployed, she could claim them, if she wanted to claim them (a person does not need to be employed to claim a child). Because she can claim them, you cannot claim them. Even if she voluntarily decides not to claim them, you still cannot claim them. For you to be able to claim them, she would have to be prohibited by law from claiming them.

by StephenWeinstein - 3 years ago

NO not really UNLESS they were NOT qualifying children of any one of the other parents for the 2010 tax year.
The IRS has a very useful tool that should be able to help you determine the answer that you want and need to you your question. Go to the website and use the search box for Who Can I claim as a Dependent?,,id=21989...

Who Can I Claim as a Dependent?

Who Can I Claim as a Dependent: There are two types of exemptions, personal exemptions and exemptions for dependents. A dependent’s exemption is an amount you can claim on your tax return to reduce your taxable income. This can result in a decrease in tax and increase the amount of your refund. You are allowed one exemption for each person you can claim as a dependent. You usually can claim exemptions for yourself, your spouse and each person you can claim as a dependent. You may lose part of the dollar amount of your exemptions if your adjusted gross income is above a certain amount.
Information You Will Need:
•Citizenship status, marital status, relationship to the dependent and the amount of support provided
•Basic income information such as your adjusted gross income
•The terms of your divorce or separation agreement if you are the divorced or separated parent of the potential dependent
•If no person supplied more than half of the potential dependent's support, the terms of any multiple support agreement you may have
Estimated Completion Time: 15 minutes. However: 5 minutes of inactivity will end the interview and you will be forced to start over.
The following interview covers the same questions you would answer if you called our toll-free tax assistance telephone number or if you came into a Taxpayer Assistance Center.
Page Last Reviewed or Updated: February 10, 2011
Hope that you find the above enclosed information useful. 06/26/2011

by Bobbie - 3 years ago

a qualifying relative(tho not r'qd to be related) is one who resides in the taxpayer's household the ENTIRE year, did not earn $3650, the taxpayer provided more than 50% of their support and they cannot be claimed on the tax return of anyone else

by tro - 3 years ago