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Author Topic: Can I still write off a child as a deduction if they've been kidnapped?  (Read 4062 times)

Waylon

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I can't help but feel ashamed that our IRS has contemplated this issue to such depths.

Can I still write off a child as a deduction if they've been kidnapped?

According to the IRS website, the answer is "yes," if two conditions are met:

   1. The child must be presumed by law enforcement to have been kidnapped by someone who is not a member of your family or a member of the child's family, and

   2. The child had, for the taxable year in which the kidnapping occurred, the same principal place of abode as the taxpayer for more than one-half of the portion of such year before the date of kidnapping.


So, if your child has not been kidnapped by a family member (this excludes most kidnappings, by the way*), and spent more than half of the tax-year, pre-kidnapping, living with you, they are considered for tax purposes a dependent.

As an example, take a hypothetical kidnapping on March 1, 1932. If the missing child had spent 30 or more days of the year leading up to March 1 (1932 being a leap year) in his parents' principle abode, they could write him off for the entire 1932 tax year. Just as a hypothetical.

The IRS also says you can continue to count the missing child as a dependent until they are determined to be dead, or it reaches the year they would have reached 18.

*According the to FBI, in 2007 only 15% of kidnappings were by strangers. The rest were by "non-custodial parents." Let that be a lesson to you: You are much safer with strangers than you are with your family.
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tigger

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I'm wondering though if it might not be beneficial to attempt to claim the child anyway as a way of finding out where the child is.  Since SS #'s are being assigned at birth.  You might be able to track the other parent if they claim the child as well.  Just a "off the top of my head" thought and not anything I put real time and effort in pondering.
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shaden3

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What do you mean by "kidnapped?" Do you mean there is a violation of a court order granting you full/joint/primary custody and or visitation? Do you have a case open with NCMEC? Are there charges of custodial interference, a warrant? If you can answer these questions, this will make answering yours much easier.
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tigger

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What do you mean by "kidnapped?" Do you mean there is a violation of a court order granting you full/joint/primary custody and or visitation? Do you have a case open with NCMEC? Are there charges of custodial interference, a warrant? If you can answer these questions, this will make answering yours much easier.

Waylon wasn't really asking the question for himself.  The question came from the IRS website and Waylon was merely commenting on the fact that the IRS has actually studied the question and came up with a very specific answer regarding the ability of a parent to claim a child who has been kidnapped. 
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shaden3

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Waylon, Tigger: Oops. I see now. New to this. I understand why the IRS asks the questions. It's because left behind parents ask it of them. I'm in the profession of missing kids, and have been asked, oddly enough.
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