A Tax Form Every Unmarried Parent Needs: IRS Tax Form 8332

We family law attorneys know it is tax season by the calls from parents who say they are arguing with their ex-spouse or ex-significant other about who is claiming the children for taxes.  It never fails.  Parents who have a court Order that addresses legal custody, physical child custody, and parenting time have language in that Order that says how they are to claim their children for income taxes.  They know every year when they will see a tax benefit.  That then leaves the other parents with no prior court Order to figure out – and to argue about – how to handle this issue. 

IRS Tax Form 8332 is a must for all unmarried parents. The form – https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-form-8332 – tells the IRS which parent is claiming which child or children in that tax year.  The Federal Tax Code takes precedence over what a state district court judges order.  Because of this, parents with a court Order ought to fill out this form just in case of an audit because the IRS frequently disregards what those Orders say.  Unmarried parents without a court Order and who agree on how to claim their child or children should use this form to document how they have chosen to handle this tax issue in case there is ever a disagreement or they forget their prior year’s compromise on the issue. 

Parents complete and sign the form and each keep a copy of it with their tax records.

The parents, especially non-custodial fathers, likely will not get into court before April 15 for a judge to rule on how they must claim their child or children for the tax year 2020.  A custodial parent may be willing to compromise if he or she is brought to court early in the year.  I advise those parents who do not have a court Order addressing this issue to consider filing in action in court as soon as possible to have this issue resolved once and for all before the next tax season.  

If you would like more information about an filing this important tax form, fill out our consultation form or call our family law attorney, Jessica L. Sterle at (218) 722-2655 to schedule a consultation to discuss.

Jessica Sterle

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