Many non-custodial parents think that they can get the child tax exemption that they are entitled to (based on I.R.C. § 152(e)2)) pursuant to their divorce decree by simply attaching the divorce decree to their tax return. People try this use the divorce decree in lieu of IRS form 8332 because they are either hesitant or feel unable to have that form filled out and signed by the custodial parent.
Unfortunately, this does not work. As accountant Louis J. Cercone, Jr. points out, even when a non-custodial parent can take a tax exemption pursuant to a divorce decree, the Internal Revenue Code only permits him (or her) to do so if the custodial parent fills out Form 8332 or signs a letter with the following information contained in it:
- The name of the child to which an exemption is released;
- The year for which the exemption is released to the non-custodial parent;
- A signature, date of signature, & social security number for the custodial parent; and
- the name and social security number of the non-custodial parent to whom the exemption is released.
Without either form 8332 or a letter signed by the custodial parent with the aforementioned elements, a non-custodial parent cannot get the exemption he or she is entitled to according to the divorce decree. The divorce decree, which is not signed by the custodial parent, will not suffice.
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Picture courtesy of cityofcyn.