Single Mother Surprised When Filing Taxes

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Lincoln, NE-- The tax deadline is around the corner, and one woman hopes for a cash refund from the government, but what she runs into is a dilemma.

For confidentiality purposes, we have given her a different name.

Jane thought she would get a lump sum to help her pay the bills and rent, she said it's already tough raising two kids on her own. Instead of help from the government, she said she would need to pay more state and federal taxes.

After her divorce a few years ago, Jane has joint custody of her children. Between her and her ex-husband, she said she spends more time with the kids.

"My ex claimed both kids for taxes and when I filed my taxes," said Jane. "I have to pay in state and federal taxes."

She hoped to claim her kids this year, because paying up more money would make it impossible to keep up with what is already high bills and the lack of financial support from her ex-husband.

"I work full time, I take care of my children and pay rent," said Jane. "It's hard to put another bill on top of that."

Tax expert, Kris Rutford said Jane's tax dilemma happens often, usually within the first year of divorces. About three to four times a year in his office, but a broader range nationally.

"If you're electronically filing, the IRS won't allow that return because it automatically knows that someone else has claimed those dependents," said Rutford. "You have to amend your returns, meet with IRS, or get a CPA to help out."

Rutford also recommends parents to check their legal documents to see who is allowed to claim the children.

"File a divorce decree and it may define who may get the dependency exemptions," said Rutford.

As for Jane, she hopes to find a solution soon and maybe get some money back.

"I want to move on and have a normal life," said Jane.

To avoid situations like this from happening, Rutford said to have court and custody papers on hand, and if it's a complicated tax issue, he recommends that a professional take care of it.