What to Do When Divorced Parents Both Want to Claim the Same Dependents


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Claiming dependents on your taxes is usually a fairly straightforward procedure, but in some cases, more than one person (or couple filing jointly) will claim someone as a dependent, muddying the process. The most common example is when divorced or separated parents both want to claim their children as dependents for tax purposes.

Dependents can have a large impact on taxes — not just from the ability to claim Head of Household filing status, but also through tax credits such as the Child Tax Credit, the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, and the Earned Income Tax Credit. Both the qualification and the amount of potential credit are affected by the dependents that you can claim.

Although the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) removed the personal exemption from tax year 2018 onwards, it retained the …

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