Expat Forum For People Moving Overseas And Living Abroad banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,109 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a long term American expat in Spain, married to a NRA Spaniard, and I'm filing US income taxes and the FBARs (back to 2006) for the first time.

I thought I had everything figured out, but now I have a doubt. My filing status is married filing separately, and my husband isn't filing. On the 1040 I have claimed my two children, who are dual Spanish-American citizens with SSNs, as dependents. Can I do this, considering that the children are also claimed as my husband's dependents on his Spanish tax forms?

I've had so many of my questions answered on this site. Thanks so much for any help you can give me with this!
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
49,988 Posts
Your husband's Spanish tax forms are irrelevant. What counts is whether or not you can claim the kids as your dependents under US tax rules. The main thing will be that, if you are challenged (by the IRS), you will need to show that you have provided at least half their support during the years for which you are claiming them.

One thing to consider is whether or not you actually need to claim the kids as dependents to reduce your tax liability to 0.
Cheers,
Bev
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,109 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
So are you saying that my kids fall under the rules in pub. 501 for "qualifying child of more than one person"? That the kids can only be claimed by the person (parent) with the highest income? In my case that would definitely be my husband.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
186 Posts
So are you saying that my kids fall under the rules in pub. 501 for "qualifying child of more than one person"? That the kids can only be claimed by the person (parent) with the highest income? In my case that would definitely be my husband.
That rule implies both parents are filing US tax returns.

Incidentally, my accountant has me file as "single" for the same reason. He says "married filing separately" implies that there is actually a spouse who IS filing a US tax return. Now he may be wrong, but the logic makes sense to me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,109 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I don't have to claim my kids as dependents to get down to zero taxable income for my 2006-2010 returns. So it's easy enough to redo those returns.

I guess I'll have to fill out for 2555-EZ for 2011, since I'm just over the limit for tax liability with the standard deduction and only 1 personal exemption. Another form to figure out...hmph.

I still am not seeing very clearly why I can't claim each of my kids as a "qualifying child". If I follow the walkthrough in pub. 501 it comes out that I can. What am I missing?
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
49,988 Posts
I don't have to claim my kids as dependents to get down to zero taxable income for my 2006-2010 returns. So it's easy enough to redo those returns.

I guess I'll have to fill out for 2555-EZ for 2011, since I'm just over the limit for tax liability with the standard deduction and only 1 personal exemption. Another form to figure out...hmph.

I still am not seeing very clearly why I can't claim each of my kids as a "qualifying child". If I follow the walkthrough in pub. 501 it comes out that I can. What am I missing?
You can take your kids as dependents if you want to. Given that your husband isn't filing US taxes anyhow, it really doesn't matter. It's only IF you are challenged or audited by the IRS that you'll have to show that you are providing half their support, and given that you owe little or no taxes anyhow, it's really doubtful you'll be questioned about it.

Still, if you don't have to claim them to get your taxes down to 0, why signal the potential issue to the IRS at all?
Cheers,
Bev
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
49,988 Posts
That rule implies both parents are filing US tax returns.

Incidentally, my accountant has me file as "single" for the same reason. He says "married filing separately" implies that there is actually a spouse who IS filing a US tax return. Now he may be wrong, but the logic makes sense to me.
Technically, that's just plain wrong - but again, as long as it makes no difference in the amount of taxes you owe, it probably doesn't really matter.
Cheers,
Bev
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,109 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Of course you're right, there's no reason for me to claim my kids as dependents for 2006-2010 so why do it? The only reason I would want to for 2011 would be to avoid filling out the 2555-EZ. But I'm already on that and it doesn't seem too complicated.

I do have one question about the 2555-EZ (off topic for this thread, but I'll ask anyway). Where it says, "Date dona fide residency began", how specific does the date have to be? I moved over here in 1986, I think it was in October. I have no idea of the exact date. Is it enough to simply put 1986? Or should I estimate the date and put 10/01/1986?

Thanks so much with you help with all of this!
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
49,988 Posts
I do have one question about the 2555-EZ (off topic for this thread, but I'll ask anyway). Where it says, "Date dona fide residency began", how specific does the date have to be? I moved over here in 1986, I think it was in October. I have no idea of the exact date. Is it enough to simply put 1986? Or should I estimate the date and put 10/01/1986?

Thanks so much with you help with all of this!
I just put the year anymore. Never been questioned.
Cheers,
Bev
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top