Dependent Exemption Rules Clarified

Final regulations address the rules for counting nights to determine which parent qualifies for the child’s dependent exemption. The parent with the greatest number of nights with the child is the custodial parent for claiming the exemption. Under the final regulations, any night in which the child sleeps at the parent’s home whether the parent present or not or any night in which the child is in the company of the parent, even if not in the parent’s home&#151is counted toward that parent’s total nights. In addition, if the parent works nights, the rules apply to the child’s days. Finally, if the custodial parent wishes to release the exemption to the non-custodial parent, the parent must sign either Form 8332 (Release of Claim to Exemption for Child of Divorced or Separated Parents) or a written declaration that conforms to the substance of Form 8332 and is executed for the sole purpose of releasing the claim for exemption. A court decree or separation agreement is not eligible to serve as the declaration.

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