Which parent is entitled to claim a minor child as a dependency exemption for federal income tax purposes?
Posted On August 2, 2022
In Rhode Island, who is entitled to claim the minor child(ren) as Dependency Exemptions for federal income tax purposes?
If there is no indication in a Final Decree of Divorce or Pending Decision of Final Judgment or Estate 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 children minors is entitled to claim the child or children for federal income tax purposes.
This article is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for seeking the advice of a Rhode Island divorce attorney, RI family attorney, or child custody attorney.
If there is a Property Agreement, Pending Decision, Order or Final Judgment that addresses the issue, the parties must follow the order or contract as to which party claims the child as an exemption. If they are not satisfied with the order or the contract, they may be able to modify it. If a person fails to comply with the Property Settlement Agreement or Court Decree, there can be serious penalties and repercussions in the RI Family Court.
However, the IRS does not care about Rhode Island Family Court Orders, Decrees and Estate Settlement Agreements! As far as the IRS is concerned, the parent with physical custody has the right to claim the child regardless of state decrees and court orders and 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, a 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 dependents, regardless of the terms and conditions of any Estate Settlement Agreement, final order or judgment, unless the non-custodial parent files the form 8332 signed by the custodial parent.
Pursuant to Treasury Decision 9408: The physically placed parent of a child or children is entitled to claim the exemption(s) unless the noncustodial parent attaches Form 8332 to their federal income tax form. signed by the custodial parent for the particular tax year in question. The IRS does not care at all what is stated in any state court estate settlement agreement, contract, order or judgment!
The IRS has absolutely no interest in getting bogged down in a contentious and messy state dispute in Family Court or a divorce between feuding parents. The IRS only cares about collecting money. The IRS has no interest in getting involved in a dispute between two former spouses or former boyfriends and girlfriends.
IRS bright line rules and regulations should not encourage parents to ignore or refuse to comply with Property Settlement Agreements or RI State Court decrees! There can be serious repercussions for not following orders and negotiating contractual agreements. If a person is dissatisfied with an order, he should seek to modify it, if he qualifies for a modification, rather than not follow it.
In some cases, a parent can file suit in Rhode Island family court and seek to vacate an order or contract that allows the noncustodial parent to claim the deduction when the noncustodial parent owes child support. It makes little or no sense that a person can claim an exemption when he is not paying court-ordered child support. However, a parent must file a lawsuit in court rather than take the law into their own hands.
In RI, if a parent wrongfully holds a child in contempt or violation of a court order, settlement agreement, pending final judgment, or final divorce decree, the aggrieved parent may seek redress in Family Court. from Rhode Island. This relief could be a motion seeking damages or for contempt or other relief. The Rhode Island Family Court may order the parent who wrongfully claimed the exemption to file an amended tax form. The Family Court could order the parent who violated the order to pay damages or Attorney’s fees to the aggrieved person. The Family Court could order other measures of reparation.
Therefore, it is prudent for a noncustodial parent who has an order or contract allowing the use of the dependency exemption for a particular year to request that the custodial parent sign IRS Form 8332. The minor child must attach form 8332 to their federal tax form. . If the custodial parent refuses to sign the 8332 form, the noncustodial parent may file a motion in Rhode Island Family Court requesting that the custodial parent be ordered to sign the form or for contempt, attorney fees, or other repair.
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The Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all attorneys and attorneys in the general practice of law, but does not license or certify any attorney/attorney as an expert or specialist in any field of practice.