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Child Support

Children are a great boon to your tax situation, because they often mean a larger refund. But in cases of divorce or separation, children can also make tax returns much more complicated than they would be otherwise.

In these cases, certain decrees or settlements may necessitate the custodial parent signing over the child’s dependency exemption to the noncustodial parent.

In order to do this, you must file Form 8332 [Release/Revocation of Release of Claim to Exemption for Child by Custodial Parent].

Use this form if you are the custodial parent and you want to:

  • release a claim to exemption for your child so that the noncustodial parent can claim an exemption for the child, or
  • revoke a previous release of claim to exemption for your child

Release of claim to exemption

A custodial parent is the parent the child lived with for the greatest number of days during the year. If the child spent an equal number of days with each parent, the custodial parent is the one with the highest AGI. The noncustodial parent is the other parent.

In special cases the child can be treated as the qualifying child or qualifying relative of the noncustodial parent for purposes of the dependency exemption, child tax credit, and additional child tax credit. In this case, Form 8332 would be necessary to allow the noncustodial parent to claim the child.

Form 8332 allows that noncustodial parent to claim the child as a dependent. It also allows them to claim the child tax credit and the additional child tax credit, if they are otherwise eligible.

You can use the form to release the dependency exemption for the current year or for future years.

In order to release the exemption the custodial parent needs to complete this form and give it to the noncustodial parent, who should then attach it to their tax return.

Revocation of release of claim to exemption

  • You can also use Form 8332 – Release of Claim by Custodial Parent to revoke a dependency exemption that you had previously released.
  • A revocation is not immediate; it goes into effect for the year after you provide the noncustodial parent with a copy of the revocation.

Earned Income Credit

Child support payments that you receive are not counted as earned income when figuring eligibility for the earned income credit.


8332 – Release of Claim by Custodial Parent

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