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Dependents & Exemptions

Question: May divorced or legally separated parents split the dependency exemption for a child?

Answer:

Only one taxpayer may claim a dependency exemption for a child for a tax year. This dependency exemption cannot be split between two or more taxpayers. Generally, the child is the qualifying child of the custodial parent.

However, the child may be treated as the qualifying child or qualifying relative of the noncustodial parent if both of the following conditions are met:

  • The custodial parent signs a Form 8332 (PDF), Release/Revocation of Release of Claim to Exemption for Child by Custodial Parent, or a substantially similar statement; and,
  • The noncustodial parent attaches the Form 8332 or the statement to his or her return.

In addition, if the custodial parent releases a claim to the dependency exemption for a child, the custodial parent may not claim the child tax credit for that child.

Refer to Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information or Publication 504, Divorced or Separated Individuals, for more information on the special rule for children of divorced or separated parents.


Category: Filing Requirements, Status, Dependents, Exemptions
Subcategory: Dependents & Exemptions

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The OMB number for this study is 1545-1432.
If you have any comments regarding this study, please write to:
IRS, Tax Products Coordinating Committee
SE:W:CAR:MP:T:T:SP
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