How to Check If a Social Security Number Was Claimed

Sometimes, two people may claim the same dependents.
Sometimes, two people may claim the same dependents. (Image: Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images)

Claiming dependents on your tax return will reap benefits. However,filers sometimes mistakenly or fraudulently claim unrelated people as their dependents. It's simple to claim a dependent; the filer supplies the Internal Revenue Service the dependent’s social security number and a few facts to establish a relationship with the dependent. There are ways, however, that you can determine if someone else has claimed your dependents on their federal tax returns.

Ask everyone who you think could have claimed your dependents. This can help avoid duplicate claims being filed. Then file your taxes online. The tax filing software will scan records and reject the tax return if a particular social security number has already been claimed.

Contact the IRS if you find out that your dependent has already been claimed. Write a cover letter justify your claim. Clarify for the IRS that the dependent fulfills all the criteria such as your relationship with the dependent and his age. Explain to the IRS that the dependent resided with you for at least six months in the past year and that you provided at least half the dependent's support.

File your taxes for the year. The IRS will investigate both the claims and then decide which one is correct. The IRS will send you a copy of their audit.

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