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Earned income credit

mcd1231
Level 3

The unmarried parents of a 2 year child live together.  Both can claim the child for earned income credit.  The child's father, who has the higher income, wants the child's mother to claim him for EIC.  If the parents agree who can claim the child, is it necessary to use the tie breaker rules if both parents agree the mother can claim the child?

Thank you for your help.  

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TAXOH
Level 10
Level 10

 

This is from publication 596

Example 10—Unmarried parents.

 

You, your 5-year-old son, and your son's father lived together all year. You and your son's father aren't married. Your son is a qualifying child of both you and his father because he meets the relationship, age, residency, and joint return tests for both you and his father. Your earned income and AGI are $12,000, and your son's father's earned income and AGI are $14,000. Neither of you had any other income. Your son's father agrees to let you treat the child as a qualifying child. This means if your son's father doesn't claim your son as a qualifying child for the EIC or any of the other tax benefits listed earlier, you can claim him as a qualifying child for the EIC and any of the other tax benefits listed earlier for which you qualify.

Example 11—Unmarried parents claim same child.

 

The facts are the same as in Example 10 except that you and your son's father both claim your son as a qualifying child. In this case, only your son's father will be allowed to treat your son as a qualifying child. This is because his AGI, $14,000, is more than your AGI, $12,000. You can claim the EIC without a qualifying child.

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6 Replies 6
TAXOH
Level 10
Level 10

As long as they are in agreement either one can claim.  Remember only the parent that claims gets all the tax benefits, such as EIC, child tax credit etc. 

jeffmcpa2010
Level 8

My understanding is that the Tiebreaker Rule is mandatory, just for situations like this to keep people from playing games. I can't prove it without spending some time on research, but I am going to do another return instead.

If someone doesn't agree with my understanding that is fine, but that is how I have made all of my decisions when this comes up for decades. 

TAXOH
Level 10
Level 10

 

This is from publication 596

Example 10—Unmarried parents.

 

You, your 5-year-old son, and your son's father lived together all year. You and your son's father aren't married. Your son is a qualifying child of both you and his father because he meets the relationship, age, residency, and joint return tests for both you and his father. Your earned income and AGI are $12,000, and your son's father's earned income and AGI are $14,000. Neither of you had any other income. Your son's father agrees to let you treat the child as a qualifying child. This means if your son's father doesn't claim your son as a qualifying child for the EIC or any of the other tax benefits listed earlier, you can claim him as a qualifying child for the EIC and any of the other tax benefits listed earlier for which you qualify.

Example 11—Unmarried parents claim same child.

 

The facts are the same as in Example 10 except that you and your son's father both claim your son as a qualifying child. In this case, only your son's father will be allowed to treat your son as a qualifying child. This is because his AGI, $14,000, is more than your AGI, $12,000. You can claim the EIC without a qualifying child.

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mcd1231
Level 3

Thank you so much for your help.  

TAXOH
Level 10
Level 10

You're welcome.

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jeffmcpa2010
Level 8

TAXOH is right - 

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