How do we protect ourselves when filing taxes? 3 Answers as of April 19, 2011

My fiance is graduating college. Her family has been claiming her as a dependent ever since she's been in college. She has provided them with her tuition bill that gives them more benefits and they just paid her part of their refund. But the problem is THEY NEVER PAID A DIME of the tuition and are making my fiance pay it herself. I'm thinking that when we are married (We are getting married July '11) we're going to have to put that on our taxes because we ARE FOOTING the actual bill not them. This may not be a big problem but I want to protect my fiance and I in whatever way possible (Her family has a history of taking trying to take advantages of systems). What should we do to protect ourselves from any legal action? Could there be legal issues? There won't be any kind of payment from her family on her tuition because they refuse to pay for it. I am not looking for trouble with the future in-laws but this is something that I have to do to protect my future wife and I (and being honest), I will do it! Besides we are going to have enough trouble with finances getting our lives started any way! Thank you for your time.

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California's Largest Family of Attorneys
California's Largest Family of Attorneys | Doan Law Firm
There are no legal actions you can take. Once you are married, you can file your taxes as married filing jointly and claim the tuition deduction. Your joint tax returns (basically) tells the IRS that your in-laws cannot claim your spouse as a dependent.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/19/2011
David Hoines Law
David Hoines Law | David Hoines
Just file a proper tax return what the parents do affects them, not you.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 4/19/2011
Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm | Steven J. Fromm & Associates, P.C.
It would seem to me that if your fiance is no longer a full time student, her parents will not be able to claim her as a dependent. Plus, if you are married before the end of the calendar year, then you would be filing jointly (at least in most cases), thus making it even more difficult for them to claim her as an exemption.

This situation will correct itself over time.

By the way, she has no tax exposure if her parents claim her; the parents would lose the exemption and the tax deduction and have to pay additional taxes, not your fianc, if the IRS disallowed the exemption.
Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Replied: 4/19/2011
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