Question

I'm a noncustodial parent, but I've been claiming my kids for five years. If I've never signed a Form 8332, will this cause dependency exemption problems with the IRS?

Answer

It is customary for the custodial parent to sign one of the following:

  • Form 8332
  • A similar statement

This form allows the noncustodial parent to use the dependency exemption. If you’re audited, the IRS might disallow your exemptions and child tax credit without one of these statements.

These are the requirements to use a written document release instead of Form 8332:

  • It must contain all of the information contained in Form 8332.
  • The custodial parent must sign it.

These are the requirements to use a written document instead of Form 8332:

  • The divorce decree or separation agreement must:
    • Have gone into effect after 1984 and before 2009
    • Be unconditional
  • It must contain all of the information contained in Form 8332.
  • The custodial parent must sign it.

The noncustodial parent can’t claim other tax benefits, like:

  • Head of household status
  • Earned income credit (EIC)
  • Credit for child and dependent care expenses
  • Exclusion for dependent care benefits

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