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Which Parent is Entitled to Claim a Minor Child As a Dependency Exemption For Federal Tax Purposes?

In Rhode Island who is entitled to claim the minor child or children as Dependency Exemptions for Federal tax Purposes?

If there is no indication in a Divorce Final Judgment or Decision Pending Final Judgment or Property Settlement agreement as to who is entitled to claim the children as Dependency Exemptions then automatically the parent with Physical Placement / Physical Custody of the minor children is entitled to claim the child or children for Federal Tax purposes.

This article is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute to seeking advice from a Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer, RI Family Attorney or Child Custody Lawyer.

If there is a Property Settlement, Decison Pending, Order or Final Judgment that adresses the issue then the parties should follow the order or contract as to which party claims the child as an exemption. If they are unhappy with the order or contract then they may be able to modify it. If a person fails to abide by the Property Settlement Agreement or Court Decree then there can be serious penalties and Repercussions in RI Family Court.

However, the IRS does not care about Rhode Island Family Court Orders, Decrees and Property Settlement Agreements! As far as the IRS is concerned, the parent with Physical Custody is entitled to claim the child regardless of any state court decrees and orders and regardless of indications to the contrary in a Property Settlement Agreement unless form 8332 is executed.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has developed a very bright line, clear and concise rule regarding who is entitled to claim a child as an exemption for Federal Income Tax Purposes. Treasury decision 9408 states that the parent with physical custody may claim the children as dependants regardless of the terms and conditions of any Property Settlement Agreement, order or Final Judgment unless the noncustodial parent submits form 8332 signed by the custodial parent.

Pursuant to Treasury Decision 9408: the parent with Physical Placement of a child or children is entitled to claim the exemption (s) unless the noncustodial parent appends form 8332 to their federal income tax form signed by the custodial parent for the particular tax year in question. It makes absolutely no difference to the IRS what any State Court Property Settlement Agreement, Contract, Order or judgement states!

The IRS has absolutely no interest in getting bogged down in a contentious and messy state Family Court dispute or divorce between feuding parents. The IRS only cares about collecting money. The IRS has no interest in being involved in a dispute between two ex spouses or ex boyfriends and girlfriends.

The IRS bright line rules and regulations should not motivate parents to ignore or refuse to abide by Property Settlement Agreements or RI State Court decrees! There can be serious repurcussions to not following orders and negotiated contractual agreements. If a person is unhappy with an order they should seek to modify it, if they qualify for a modification, rather than not follow it.

In some instances a parent can file in Rhode Island Family court and seek to nullify an order or contract allowing the noncustodial parent to claim the deduction when the noncustodial parent owes child support. It makes little to no sense that a person could claim an exemption when they are not paying Court ordered Child Support. However, a Parent needs to file in Court rather than taking the law into her or his own hands.

In RI, if a parent wrongfully claims a child in Contempt or Violation of a Court order, Property Settlement Agreement, Decision Pending Entry of Final Judgment or Final Judgement of Divorce than the aggrieved parent may seek relief from the Rhode Island Family Court. This relief could be a motion seeking damages or for contempt or other relief. The Rhode Island Family Court could order the parent who wrongfully claimed the exemption to file a modified tax form. The Family Court could order the parent who violated the order to pay damages or Attorneys / Lawyers fees to the aggrieved person. The Family Court could order other relief.

Therefore, it is prudent for a noncustodial parent who has an order or contract permitting the use of the dependency exemption for a particular year to request that the custodial parent sign IRS form 8332. The noncustodial parent who is entitled to claim the dependency exemption for the minor child should attach form 8332 to his or her federal tax form. If the custodial parent refuses to sign form 8332, the noncustodial parent may file a motion in Rhode Island Family Court asking that the custodial parent be ordered to sign the form or for contempt, Attorneys fees or other relief.

Legal Notice per Rules of Professional Responsibility:

The Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all lawyers and attorneys in the general practice of law, but does not license or certify any lawyer / attorney as an expert or specialist in any field of practice.

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