Can My Boyfriend Claim My Child on His Taxes?

by Mike Parker, Demand Media
    Unmarried couples who are living together don't have the option of filing a joint return.

    Unmarried couples who are living together don't have the option of filing a joint return.

    Everybody loves tax exemptions. They reduce the amount of your taxable income, which affects the amount of taxes you pay. You can take a personal exemption for yourself, and you get an exemption for each of your dependents. In some cases, you might qualify as your boyfriend's dependent. He might even be able to claim your child on his taxes, provided certain conditions apply.

    Claiming You

    Before your boyfriend can claim your child on his taxes, he needs to claim you as a dependent. He can do this as long as you're not another person's qualifying child, you have lived as a member of his household for the entire year, your gross income was less than $3,700 for the 2011 tax year, and he provided more than half of your total support for the year.

    Claiming Your Child

    Your child is not your boyfriend's qualifying child, because she doesn't meet the Internal Revenue Service's rules for relationship. Once you have met all the tests as a qualifying relative, your boyfriend might be able to claim your child as a dependent, but she will also have to meet the same tests as you do, as a qualifying relative. Certain circumstances might get in the way. For example, if someone else (such as your ex) can claim the child as a dependent, your boyfriend cannot. If you receive child support that provides more than half of the child's support, your boyfriend can't claim your child on his taxes.

    Filing Status

    If you are not legally married to your boyfriend as of the last day of the year, you cannot file a joint tax return. Since neither you or your child meet the IRS's relationship test, your boyfriend cannot file his taxes using the head of household status. He must file his taxes as single. If your boyfriend claims you and your child as dependents, you must either file a return only to get a refund of taxes withheld, or not file a tax return because you were not required by law to do so.

    Earned Income Credit

    Just because your boyfriend can claim your child as a dependent on his tax return doesn't give him the right to claim the child for Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The child component of the EITC is only for the taxpayer's qualifying children. Since your child does not meet the IRS' relationship requirements as a qualifying child, your boyfriend can't claim the child for the EITC. You might be able to claim your child for EITC purposes, but if you do, the child will no longer qualify as your boyfriend's dependent.

    About the Author

    Mike Parker is a full-time writer, publisher and independent businessman. His background includes a career as an investments broker with such NYSE member firms as Edward Jones & Company, AG Edwards & Sons and Dean Witter. He helped launch DiscoverCard as one of the company's first merchant sales reps.

    Photo Credits

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