The Taxpayer’s Guide to Avoiding Audits over Dependents | Axiom Tax Resolution Group

The number of blended families has increased over the years. As such, it is not uncommon to see two taxpayers trying to claim the same dependent in the same tax year. 

For example, it can be complicated to know who should claim your child if you share custody with your previous partner. Also, it can be challenging to know who can claim your parents if you and your siblings support them. 

If you are having tax problems, this article will discuss the rules of the IRS, the mistakes you tend to make, and how you can address and resolve this issue.

What If You Have Issues with Your Social Security Number?

If you want to claim a dependent, you need to enter their Social Security Number (SSN) on your tax return. The IRS uses the Discriminant Inventory Function (DIF) to screen returns for duplicate SSNs.

You will trigger a red flag from the DIF if you file a second tax return using a used SSN or a dependent who has already been claimed by someone else. The second filer will receive a notice from the IRS via USPS or an electronic-filing error message.

What Are the Rules of the IRS? 

The IRS has two categories for qualifying dependents: Qualifying children and qualifying relatives.

They provide tiebreaker rules to assist taxpayers in determining who gets to claim a dependent. The IRS does so to avoid any confusion and prevent tax problems from arising.

What Are the Rules for Qualifying Children? 

The child must be related to you by blood, be your adopted child or stepchild, or be a foster child designated to you via an agency or a court order. Their descendants qualify as well. On the last day of the tax year, they must be younger than nineteen or under twenty-four if they are a full-time student.

Permanently disabled children are exceptions to the age rule. Also, they must be younger than the taxpayer and their spouse who are either claiming the dependent. Taxpayers cannot file a joint tax return with their spouses unless only to claim a refund. 

What Are the Rules for Qualifying Relatives? 

A qualifying relative cannot be your or anyone else’s qualifying child. They must have lived with you all year, yet there are exceptions for parents or siblings. They can be older than the age limits mentioned in the previous section.

Also, the gross income limit earned by the dependent applies as well. This is indexed for inflation so that it can increase each year. Lastly, the taxpayer must have provided for their dependent’s financial needs for the year. 

What Do You Need to Do If You Are Tagged? 

Check your tax return to make sure you have correctly entered your dependent’s SSN. Afterward, send it back to the IRS for further processing after doing it correctly. Immediately hire a professional who can provide you with tax relief solutions.

With their help, you need to prepare a variety of documentation, such as school and medical records, that proves you meet all the criteria to claim your dependent. The more supporting documents you present, the better chances of resolving this.

What Do You Have to Do If You Lose Your Case? 

If you lose, you can appeal the decision of the IRS. You can also take your case to the U.S. Tax Court if you disagree with the IRS. Employ the services of professionals who can help you with your tax problems.

However, prevention is better. Always talk with your family. But if your dependent’s SSN has been compromised due to identity theft, contact the IRS immediately.


Knowing that you may have made a mistake in filing your taxes is frightening. But with the help of a tax resolution specialist, you can solve all of your tax woes.

At Axiom Tax Resolution Group, we help our clients solve their tax problems. We provide the best tax resolution services and tax relief solutions in Birmingham, AL. If you need help with your tax problems, contact us today.