Ask Keryl

General Taxes


Ask Keryl
My spouse and I are filing separate returns. How can we split our itemized deductions?
If you and your spouse file separate returns and one of you itemizes deductions, the other spouse will have a standard deduction of zero. Therefore, the other spouse should also itemize deductions. You may be able to claim itemized deductions on a separate return for certain expenses that you paid separately or jointly with your spouse. Deductible expenses that are paid out of separate funds, such as medical expenses, are deductible by the spouse who pays them. If these expenses are paid from community funds, the deduction may depend on whether or not you live in a community property state. The community property states are Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. In a community property state, the deduction is, generally, divided equally between you and your spouse.
I went through a divorce last year and paid a lot of legal fees. Are these deductible on my tax return?
Legal fees incurred or paid for a divorce are personal in nature, and are not generally deductible. However, legal fees incurred or paid for the production or collection of taxable income may be deductible. You may deduct legal fees for collecting alimony because alimony is taxable income. These deductions are taken on line 22 of Form 1040, Schedule A, Itemized Deductions.
Can I deduct alimony paid to my former spouse?
If you are divorced or separated, you may be able to deduct the alimony or separate maintenance payments that you are required to make to your spouse or former spouse, or on behalf of that spouse.
Can a court order determine who takes a child for a deduction? Does the court order supersede the IRS requirements?
Federal law determines who may claim a dependency exemption.
I have a court order that says I have the tax exemption for my minor child until further order of the court. Can I just send a copy of the court order with my prepared taxes, or do I have to have a waiver signed by the other parent?
You must obtain a signed Form 8332, Release of Claim to Exemption for Child of Divorced or Separated Parents, or a substantially similar statement.
My 7-year-old son lived in my household for seven months of the year, and I provided all of his support. I paid child support to his other parent for the other five months. Can I claim my son as a dependent and for a child tax credit without Form 8332?
Generally, the custodial parent is treated as the parent who provided more than half of the child's support. This parent is usually allowed to claim the exemption for the child if the other dependency tests are met. However, the noncustodial parent may be treated as the parent who provided more than half of the child's support if the custodial parent releases the exemption by signing a Form 8332, Release of Claim to Exemption for Child of Divorced or Separated Parents, or a substantially similar statement.
What is the tax form number for the custodial parent to sign that allows the noncustodial parent to use the child as a dependent?
The custodial parent should use Form 8332, Release of Claim to Exemption for Child of Divorced or Separated Parents, or a substantially similar statement, to release the exemption to the noncustodial parent. The noncustodial parent must attach the form or statement to his or her tax return. Please be aware that if the custodial parent releases the exemption for a child, the custodial parent may not claim a Child Tax Credit for that child.
How do you claim a child if you agree with your ex-spouse to claim him 6 months and he claims him the other 6 months of the year?
The dependency exemption cannot be split. Generally, the custodial parent is treated as the parent who provided more than half of the child's support. This parent is usually allowed to claim the exemption for the child if the other exemption tests are met. However, the noncustodial parent may be treated as the parent who provided more than half of the child's support if certain conditions are met. The custodial parent signs a Form 8332, Release of Claim to Exemption for Child of Divorced or Separated Parents, or a substantially similar statement, and provides it to the noncustodial parent who attaches it to his or her return. Please beware that if the custodial parent releases the exemption, the custodial parent may not claim the Child Tax Credit.
I am divorced and pay child support. My children live with their mother and she claims them on her tax returns. Can I claim head of household?
No, your children do not qualify you for the head of household filing status.
I am divorced with one dependent child. This year my ex-spouse will claim the child as an exemption. Does this mean I cannot qualify as head of household?
You can file as head of household even though you do not claim your unmarried dependent child as an exemption if you meet all of the following requirements: You are unmarried or considered unmarried on the last day of the year. You paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home for the year. A qualifying person must live with you in the home for more than half the year (except for temporary absences such as school).
If I moved out of my house on July 1, but was not divorced at the end of the year, can I file as head of household and take the Earned Income Credit if I have a minor child and child care expenses?
You do not qualify for the head of household filing status because you and your spouse have not lived apart for the last 6 months of the taxable year and are not considered unmarried. Your filing status for the year will either be married filing separately or married filing jointly. If it is married filing separately, you will not qualify for the Earned Income Credit and cannot claim a credit based on child care expenses. If you file a joint return with your spouse, you may be eligible to claim these credits.
My wife and I have been separated since May. She has one child (grandchild) living with her. Can we both file as single?
You and your wife may file either a joint return or separate returns. If you and your wife file separate returns, your filing status would be married filing separately. Your wife may qualify for head of household status.
If I claim my daughter as a dependent because she is a full-time college student, can she claim herself as a dependent when she files her return?
If you claim your daughter as a dependent on your income tax return, she cannot claim herself on her income tax return. If an individual is filing his or her own tax return, and the individual can be claimed as a dependent on someone else's return, the individual cannot claim his or her own personal exemption. In this case, your daughter should check the box on her return indicating that someone else can claim her as a dependent.
If you pay child support, are you allowed to deduct anything on your taxes or claim the child as an exemption?
Nothing can be deducted for the child support payments. Child support payments are neither deductible by the payer nor taxable income to the payee. You may be able to claim the child as a dependent. The parent who the child lived with for the greater part of the year is the custodial parent. Generally the custodial parent is allowed to claim the exemption for the child if the other exemption tests are met. The noncustodial parent may be allowed to claim the exemption for the child if the custodial parent signs a Form 8332 (PDF), Release of Claim to Exemption for Child of Divorced of Separated Parents, or a substantially similar statement.
My wife and I are married filing separately. We have one son and we meet all of the dependency exemption tests. We contributed an equal amount to our son's support and want to know if we both can claim him on our separate returns?
A dependency exemption may only be claimed on one return. Since your son is a qualifying child for both of you, you and your wife can decide who will claim the child. A multiple support declaration identifying each of the others who agreed not to claim the exemption must be attached to the return of the person claiming the exemption. Form 2120, Multiple Support Declaration, can be used for this purpose. If you cannot agree on who will claim him refer to Tie-Breaker Rule in Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filling Information.
Is there an age limit on claiming my children as dependents?
Age is a factor in the qualifying child test, but a qualifying relative can be any age. As long as the following dependency exemption tests are met, you may claim him or her: Qualifying child or qualifying relative test, Dependent taxpayer test, Citizenship or resident test. Joint return test.
For head of household filing status, do you have to claim a child as a dependent to qualify?
In certain circumstances, you do not need to claim the child as a dependent to qualify for head of household filing status, such as when the qualifying child is unmarried and is your child, grandchild, stepchild, or adopted child.
How much does a student have to make before he or she has to file an income tax return?
If you are an unmarried dependent, you must file a tax return if your earned andor unearned income exceeds certain limits. Even if you do not have to file, you should file a federal income tax return to get money back if any of the following apply: You had income tax withheld from your pay, You qualify for the earned income credit, You qualify for the additional child tax credit.
Is there a time limit for the IRS to audit me?
The IRS can go back 10 years to audit you.
Do I have to file my taxes by April 15?
If you do not owe, you don’t have to file by the 15th of April. There’s a statue of limitation of 3 years.
Can I claim student loan interest?
The amount of the student loan interest deduction is phased out (gradually reduced) if your filing status is married filing jointly and your income is between $115.00 and $145,000. The student loan interest deduction is phased out if your filing status is single or head of house and your income is between $55,000 and $70,000.
Are there any credits for 1st time home buyers?
Yes, if you purchase a primary residence. The credit has to be paid back in equal payments over 15 years. The credit is 10 percent of the purchase price of the home with a maximum credit of 7500.
If I’m separated from my spouse, can I claim Head of Household?
Yes, you can if you were separated from your spouse the last 6 months of the year and living apart on Dec 31.
What is the maximum that can be contributed to IRA and the deadline to contribute?
5,000 is the maximum that you can contribute and the deadline for an IRA is April 15.
How much money do I get for a child?
People don’t get money for children. EIC is based on your income. The more you make the less you get.
My parent passed and left me beneficiary on his 401k/pension. Do I have to file taxes on the money?
No, you don’t have to file taxes on life insurance policy or inheritance.
I received stock option from my company, and it was added into my income. If I receive a 1099b, do I have to file it?
No, you don’t because it is already taxable income.
My child is in high school and works a part-time job; can I still claim him/her?
Yes, and the child can file his own tax return, but he can not take his exemption.
Can I claim child support?
No, you can not. Providing support for your child is not a privilege, it’s an obligation.
My child is over the age of 25 years old and still lives with me. Can I claim him/her on my taxes?
Yes, you can as long as you are providing 50% of the maintenance and they are not making more than the standard deduction.
Can I claim my parent that gets Social Security or Disability?
You can claim a parent on social security as long as there’s not taxable income. You can not claim a person that’s on disability.
Will I get penalized if I take money out of my 401k?
Yes, there's a 30% penalty under the age of 59 1/2. The first 20% is taken out at the beginning and 10% when you file taxes. There are exceptions to the rule. If you take the money for medical bills, education and first time home owners.
What is the number to the Social Security Administration?
(800) 772-1213
I just purchased a house, can I deduct the closing cost?
You can deduct some items off the settlement and statement sheet. For example (loan originator and loan discount).
Where can I get blank taxes forms?
The local public library, post office and IRS Website
How long will it take for me to receive my return?
It depends on how you file. If it’s electronically, it takes 10 -12 days or if you mail it, it takes 4 to six weeks.
How long does it take to prepare my taxes?
30 minutes to an hour
What documents should I bring to prepare my taxes for business returns?
Copy of IRS letter stating business EIN#, Current Profit and Loss Statement or Gross Business Sales/Receipts, List of business expense receipts: rents, utilities, equipment, supplies, vehicle information etc., Any and all other valuable information.
What documents should I bring to prepare my taxes for personal returns?
Current ID (driver's license or state issued id card), Social security cards for all filers (dependents and taxpayer), W2 or 1099's, Unemployment info if applicable, All items for itemizing: mortgage interest statements, ad volarem tax payments; medical bills/payments, student loan interest statements; banking interest statements etc., Direct deposit info if applicable (routing and accounting numbers), Any and all other important statements: daycare provider's info, charity receipts, uniform receipts etc., New clients please bring a copy of the previous years federal and state return.
What is the number for the Georgia Department of Revenue?
(404) 656-6286
What is the IRS Phone number?
(800) 829-1040