Members of the Maryland Association of Certified Public...


January 27, 1995

Members of the Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants are answering readers' tax questions through April 15.

Q: Can I claim a child if he didn't live with me but I am paying child support?

A: It depends. Generally, a child of parents who are divorced, legally separated or who lived apart for the last six months of the calendar year may be claimed as a dependent by the custodial parent (the parent who had custody of the child for more than six months during the year). However, you may still be able to claim the child as your dependent if the custodial parent agrees to release his or her right to claim the exemption. Use federal Form 8332 and have the custodial parent sign it to indicate this agreement, then attach it to your tax return each year you claim the exemption.

Q: I retired from civil service the first week of December 1994. On the 30th of December, payroll cut a check to pay me as my incentive for retiring plus the amount due me for untaken leave. ++ This check was mailed on the 30th of December; however I did not receive it until January 3, 1995. Do I have to claim this on my 1994 return or can I claim it in 1995?

A: If the amount you received is included on your 1994 form W-2, then you must report it on your 1994 tax return.

The above advice is for general purposes only and is not intended as legal, accounting or tax advice. Specific situations may vary.

A joint service from The Baltimore Sun and the Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants can help you with your tax queries. Association members, all CPAs, will answer questions from readers until April 15 and also offer a Tax Tip of the Week.

To submit a tax question, call Sundial, The Sun's telephone information service, at (410) 783-1800. In Anne Arundel County call 268-7736, in Harford County 836-5028, and in Carroll County 848-0338. Using a touch-tone phone, enter 6225 after the greeting. Push 1 to submit a tax question; state the question in full. Push 2 to hear the tax tip. No questions will be answered by phone.

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