I pay child support monthly. Why can’t I claim my child as a dependent?

Q) I pay child support every month. I buy extras like school clothes and pay for field trips. Why can’t I claim my child as a dependent?

A) Under domestic relations tax provisions set forth by the Internal Revenue Code, for divorced or separated parents, the parent who has custody for a greater portion of the calendar year is entitled to the dependency exemption for the child (See 26 U.S.C. 152(e)). In some cases, a court or administrator will address the issue of who can claim the dependency. Also, the parent with custody can provide the other parent with a written statement that he/she may take the exemption for a given year. See IRS Publication 504. In the case of parents who have never married, the IRS gives information about who can be claimed as a dependent in their Publication 501

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