taxes

Can I claim my son as a dependent

Judy O'ConnorDear Tax Talk,
My 21-year-old son who is a full-time student working part time filed his taxes for the 2013 tax season. I was supposed to claim him on my taxes as usual. Can I claim my son as a dependent if he has already filed? Can something be done about this?
-- Angie

Dear Angie,
Even though you are allowed to claim your son as a dependent on your tax return, he may have been required to file his own return in order to receive a refund of taxes he paid on that part-time job he worked while going to school.

Young man writing at desk © wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock.com

However, when he filed his return, he should not have claimed an exemption for himself on Form 1040, line 6a. If he did, there is a fix for you.

This is a very common occurrence, and he should be commended for being responsible by filing his income tax return. It is usually the case that the $3,900 deduction for the exemption is of more benefit on your tax return than his. So here is what you need to do.

  • First, get a copy of your son's tax return and see if he has an entry on line 6a where he may have claimed himself.
  • If he did, then he needs to file Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, and no longer claim himself.
  • Once the IRS has that on file, you can then file your return and claim him.

Thanks for the great question.

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