What if more than one person can claim a qualifying child?
A situation could occur where more than one person is in a position to claim a child as a “qualifying child” to take an exemption (for example, if you and your son both live with your brother, your son might meet all of the requirement to be a qualifying child for either you or your brother). However, only one person can actually claim the exemption. If one of the taxpayers who can claim the deduction is the child’s parent, and the other is not, the parent is entitled to the deduction. If neither of the taxpayers who want to claim the deduction are the child’s parent, the person who has the higher adjusted gross income can claim an exemption for the child. If both parents want to claim an exemption for the child (where the parents are filing separately, or separated, for example), the situation becomes more complicated. Generally, whichever parent the child resided with for more of the year is entitled to the exemption; if the child had equal residency with both parents, the parent with the higher adjusted gross income is entitled to the exemption. However, if the parents are divorced or separated, there are special rules which may give the non-custodial parent the exemption. If this situation applies to you, you should see a tax consultant for further information.