Form 8332 Needed?

I had a client ask me a great question yesterday afternoon: “If the divorce decree says I get the exemption for my child, do I still have to get my Ex to sign that form you told me about?” My client was describing Tax Form 8332, which is the form for release of an exemption from one parent to the other.

The short answer is no. One of the advantages of the Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004 is that it eliminated the requirement of a Form 8332 for divorced parents whose divorce decree specifies who gets the exemption. Internal Revenue Code Sec. 152(e), entitled “Special Rule for Divorced Parents” says a parent can claim the exemption for a child if the divorce decree provides that the noncustodial parent “shall be entitled to any deduction allowable under section 151 [IRC §151] for such child.” There’s no longer a requirement that the parents follow up with a signed Form 8332.