Members of the Maryland Association of Certified Public...

TAX ANSWERS

January 31, 1995

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

Q: If you have kept a grandchild for half the year and the mother kept the child for the other half, can both claim the child as an exemption on their tax returns?

A: No. The child may be claimed as a dependent on only one tax return each year. The general rule is that the individual who provides more than half the child's support is entitled to claim the child as a dependent. If, in this case, the grandmother and mother each provided more than 10 percent of the child's support but not more than half, either can claim the child as a dependent. To do this, the person not claiming the dependent must complete Form 2120, a "multiple support agreement," which states that the child is the dependent of one individual and that another individual has agreed not to claim the child. Form 2120 should then be given to the person claiming the dependent and attached to that person's tax return.

Q: I have been separated since April 2 and since then have been paying interest on the mortgage for the home that my wife and I own. Do I get to deduct the interest on that house?

You may deduct this interest if you meet all the following conditions: 1) your home was your principal residence; 2) the house is still your spouse's personal residence; 3) you are not paying interest on more than two residences; and 4) your aggregate debt for mortgage payments is not more than $1 million.

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.

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