Bourke Accounting doesn’t like thieves because thieves are dirty.

Whether it’s an idiot teenager stealing $20 worth of pennies at a house party or Enron’s Jeffrey Skilling stealing millions, both are equally filthy.

It hurts more when the thief is someone who was once close to you, though.

Now that tax season is upon us, divorced couples with children have more to worry about than the average person. Particularly if the divorce has been less than amicable. For example, let’s say you have full custody of your child, you (have your Bourke Accounting tax preparer) e-file your tax return and are then met with a message “telling you that a dependent on your return has been claimed on another tax return” (IRS.gov).

Now you know that your ex has beaten you in a race to file taxes that you didn’t even know you were running. But it’s not fair! You are the custodial parent!

Calm down. First, don’t even bother asking the Internal Revenue Service who claimed your child, as they are prohibited by law from telling you (IRS.gov). Okay, well, you knew who it was, anyway, so no big whoop. As irritating as this is going to be, there are a few hoops that you’re going to have to jump through to achieve satisfaction.

You know that tax return you tried to e-file? Well, now it’s time to send a paper copy to the IRS with a lot of documentation. Be prepared to include copies of “birth certificates, proof of identity and documents that show your dependent lived with you for more than half of the calendar year” (IRS.gov). Also, you’ll want to include anything from places like the child’s school “that shows names, common address and dates” (IRS.gov). And then you get to wait. And you will be waiting.

After about 2 months, the IRS will decide to look into the matter (I’m not being snarky, this is the time frame the IRS gives!). Once they do that, you might receive a CP87A notice. This letter will tell you if you should do nothing or if you have to file an amended return. Your ex is going to receive the same letter, if both of you refuse to file an “amended return that removes the child-related benefits” (IRS.gov), then there is going to be an audit in your future.

When you sit down with your Bourke Accounting professional this year, make sure that you include any information that could possibly affect your tax return. I know talking about a nasty divorce is rough, but your Bourke Accounting expert has seen it all (sort of like an ER doctor) and won’t be put off. The more details that you can provide, the quicker your Bourke Accounting specialist can head off any nasty surprises that might be waiting for you around the next corner. And again, your Bourke Accounting tax preparer is always willing to lend a sympathetic ear.

Come see us any time. Our number is 502-451-8773 and don’t forget to visit our website at www.bourkeaccounting.com. See you soon!

Written by Sue H.