My boyfriend’s ex-wife claimed her sons as dependents and obtained their stimulus, regardless of shedding full custody. What can we do?


Dear Moneyist,

Maybe you can direct me to the right channels so I can take action. I am the mother of 5 boys: 3 are biologically mine and earlier this year I received a stimulus payment of $ 500 for each of them. Last year my partner’s 2 boys lived with us full time. We are not yet married and he is not yet a US citizen, although he served in the US Marines for 8 years.

The mother of these two boys has lost custody of the Department of Homeland Security and has offered no assistance. Last year she asked the two boys for their taxes and received a stimulus check for both of them. My partner doesn’t file taxes and last year I saw no reason for me to file taxes together as I already had three dependents.

So “Mother of the Year” did very well and still offered no support. I’ve supported these guys for well over a year. What can I do? Where should I start?


Dear stepmother,

Before I get into your question, focus on being Stepmother of the Year and leave it to the gods to sit in judgment and decide whether the mother of these two boys deserves a title and what it should be. Who should we decide? Even so, I recommend that you be there for these boys.

Your dilemma is not the first of its kind. One husband actually refused to give payment to his wife. That was a textbook case of financial abuse. Another husband filed a joint tax return, forged his estranged wife’s signature, and received her $ 1,200. That’s cheating.

Claiming false deductions is fraud. However, if your boyfriend’s ex-wife claimed the two boys last year and they were still living with her for more than half of last year, that’s probably a legitimate claim as he doesn’t file taxes and their legal guardianship hasn’t been ruled on.

“If you knowingly make a false reliance on your taxes, you run the risk of penalties and potential IRS scrutiny,” according to “Claiming false deductions as made by loved ones is considered tax evasion and is therefore a crime with potentially severe criminal penalties.”

“However, the IRS will only consider launching malicious fraud if the taxpayer has demonstrated willingness. Without the intention, the offense is considered negligence. There are still penalties for neglect; It is your responsibility to know the rules, but it is not a crime, ”the website says.

“Since you are technically filing your taxes under the penalty of perjury, whatever you claim must be true or you can face the penalty of perjury,” he adds. “If you are not being honest about making a false addiction it could result in 3 years in prison and fines of up to $ 250,000.”

Depending on how this all plays out, you have a few options including a refund lane or the Form 3911, a tax advisory service with the IRS that has remote law school workers to help people in situations like yours, and legal assistance.

If you are not the legal guardian of these children and your partner is not filing taxes, he or she will likely need to seek legal assistance and talk about the possibilities of having these children as dependents. Filing a tax return is a good place to start.

Good luck. It sounds like these two children are getting the love and support they need in a time of change that must be very difficult for them. All a child needs is one parent who is present, offering boundaries and love, and it sounds like these boys have two.

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