What can I do if someone has claimed my dependent as their own dependent?

Created by Shubha Bisht, Modified on Wed, 24 Jan 2024 at 04:21 PM by Shubha Bisht

If you suspect that someone fraudulently claimed your dependent, below are some steps you can take to fix this situation. 


Review The Dependent’s Information

Errors like having one number off on their Social Security Number (SSN) can cause a false error message stating someone else has claimed your dependent. If you have checked and everything is entered correctly, determine if you know who claimed your dependent. Please note that the IRS is unable to tell you who claimed your dependent due to privacy laws.


If You Know Who Claimed Your Dependent

If you know who claimed your dependent, the next step would be to prove that you had the right to claim the dependent:

  1. Prepare a completed paper tax return with the dependents you’re entitled to claim.

  2. Mail the completed tax return to the appropriate IRS address.

  3. Fill out form 886-H-DEP. It gives a comprehensive list of documentation you can provide to prove you are eligible to claim the dependent (such as: birth certificate, doctor’s records, letters from childcare providers, etc). 

  4. You may receive a CP75A notice from the IRS. This notice means they’re actively investigating the information you provided and the IRS needs additional documentation.

  5. You may receive a CP87A letter from the IRS stating your child was claimed on another return. It will explain what to do, either file an amended return or do nothing. The other person who claimed the dependent will get the same letter. If one of you do not file an amended return that removes the child-related benefits, then you may be audited by the IRS to determine who can claim the dependent. Make sure to stay responsive and keep an eye out for any communication from the IRS.

If You Don't Know Who Claimed Your Dependent

If you don't know who claimed your dependent, it’s possible that your dependent has been a victim of identity theft. 


In addition to all the steps above, it is recommended by the IRS that you file Form 14039 which is an identity theft affidavit. This form ensures that the IRS is notified of the breach and will assign an identity theft protection pin for future years. This pin will come via mail and will be needed to electronically file taxes claiming your dependent. 


Additional Resources:


This content is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as tax, legal, financial, accounting, or other advice. Rules and regulations vary by location and are subject to change, so please consult with an expert if you need advice specific to you.


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