What To Do If Someone Claimed Your Dependent - Tax Professionals Member Article By KLSM CPA Firm PLLC
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What To Do If Someone Claimed Your Dependent

What To Do If Someone Claimed Your Dependent

Ever been in a situation where you tried to file your tax return, and the response you got when you filed an electronic file was a rejection message. A typical example of the rejection message- “ Your return dependent has already been claimed”. Initially, you may think you didn't fill in your information correctly; however, the rejection message still pops up no matter how much you try. This may mean your dependent has been claimed by someone else. Usually, the IRS will process the return it receives first; if an anonymous person lays claims on your dependent before you, the IRS will reject your turn.

Whoever lays claims to people's dependence is often anonymous because the IRS won’t disclose the information. If you can't think of anyone like a former spouse or family member who could lay claims on your dependent, you should start considering a tax theft identity.

Either way, you can always get your dependent back and your refund if you feel whoever laid claims is undeserving of your dependent.

If you ever find yourself in this situation, you may panic initially. However, you need to remain calm and focus on how to get it back. 


How to Get Your Dependent Back

Ensure you file a paper return immediately.

 Get a copy of your return and mail it to the IRS, laying claims on your dependent. Initially, there may be some delay, as the IRS will need to look into the issue before granting you a refund. And this usually takes a processing time frame of about 6-8 weeks. You should still get your refund; however,  don’t expect an immediate response; you can contact the IRS if this period elapses.

Have detailed documentation of your case

The IRS rules for claiming a dependent can get complicated; it may even throw you off-course at first. The most important thing to remember is to prove that you are entitled to claim the dependent with proper documentation. Essential information like your birth certificate as a means of identification and documents that prove that your dependent was with you at the exact geographical location for at least eight months.

Maintain a good line of communication when IRS reaches out to you

Usually, the IRS will contact you and give you a document or series of documents to fill, depending on the need. After about two months post-filing a paper return, the IRS will start scrutinizing to determine who is eligible to claim the dependent. Sometimes the IRS will send a letter that clearly states that your dependent was claimed to require you to file a corrected return; the other party who laid a claim on the dependent will get the same letter. 

If one of the parties involved does not file a fixed return, the IRS will determine who can claim the dependent by auditing both of you. The auditing usually begins after a few months, after proving that you are eligible to claim the dependent. 

Important notice; Ensure your response is swift and within the time frame of the IRS deadline. Once the IRS sorts it out, the person who claimed the dependent incorrectly will be charged, and there may be extra penalties, interests, and so on.

If you disagree with the decision of the IRS, you can decide to table your case at the US Tax court.

**It is always best for family members to have a transparent conversation about who claims a dependent on preventing such situations from arising.


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