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My daughter married this summer. Her new husband has a child from a former relationship and was taken to court over back child support (there was never a previous order, as he lived with the mother of the child for several years. They split before he got together with my daughter). My daughter has a child of her own, and has had steady employment for several years with the same company. The job pays in the low 20s and she usually gets an earned income credit when she files her taxes. Her new husband works in construction and doesn't work steadily. Here's my question:

I have no doubt that when my new son in law files his taxes at the end of the year, if he gets anything back the state will take that money to apply to the child support arrearage. He is currently paying child support, the arrearage came from his ex claiming support back to the date of the childs birth. The fact that they shared a residence up until a year ago had no bearing on the amount they determined he was in arrears. He has no problem with the idea that the money will go towards these arrearages.

My concern is that if they file married/jointly, any money my daughter might have coming to her will get sent to his ex. Can they avoid this by filing married, filing seperately?

LWW
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My concern is that if they file married/jointly, any money my daughter might have coming to her will get sent to his ex. Can they avoid this by filing married, filing seperately?

Yes, but that's not necessary and could result in their paying more in taxes than they need to. They can file jointly with an "injured spouse" (term of art) claim from her. Any refund is split between them according to allocation rules, and only his portion is made available for offset.

You can read more about it, including the necessary form, in the 1040 instructions and Publication 17.

Phil
Rule Your Retirement Home Fool
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My daughter married this summer. Her new husband has a child from a former relationship and was taken to court over back child support (there was never a previous order, as he lived with the mother of the child for several years. They split before he got together with my daughter). My daughter has a child of her own, and has had steady employment for several years with the same company. The job pays in the low 20s and she usually gets an earned income credit when she files her taxes. Her new husband works in construction and doesn't work steadily. Here's my question:

I have no doubt that when my new son in law files his taxes at the end of the year, if he gets anything back the state will take that money to apply to the child support arrearage. He is currently paying child support, the arrearage came from his ex claiming support back to the date of the childs birth. The fact that they shared a residence up until a year ago had no bearing on the amount they determined he was in arrears. He has no problem with the idea that the money will go towards these arrearages.

My concern is that if they file married/jointly, any money my daughter might have coming to her will get sent to his ex. Can they avoid this by filing married, filing seperately?

LWW

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Maybe. But it might also cost more in taxes, including the loss of the earned income credit.(You don't get the credit if you're married filing separately.)

Being married filing separately seldom saves money, and if they're in a community property state, it's an exercise in futility, as income is deemed to be joint anyway.

Bill
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Being married filing separately seldom saves money, and if they're in a community property state, it's an exercise in futility, as income is deemed to be joint anyway.

We're in TX. No income tax for the state at least. Between the two of them, they will probably make less than $45,000 for the year.

LWW
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they will probably make less than $45,000 for the year.

• $43,279 ($48,279 for married filing jointly) if you have three or more qualifying children,
• $40,295 ($45,295 for married filing jointly) if you have two qualifying children,
• $35,463 ($40,463 for married filing jointly) if you have one qualifying child, or
• $13,440 ($18,440 for married filing jointly) if you do not have a qualifying child.


She should not be counting on continuing to received EIC or a refund.

The IRS website has a withholding calculator. They need to calculate their expected tax liability for this year.
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