Tax Time – Can I Borrow Your Child?


Call me odd, but I love tax time. It’s not because we get money back, because sometimes we end up having to pay. It’s simply because I enjoy numbers and every other element involved in tax preparation. For years, I was an accountant and evidently for good reason. It was a job I truly enjoyed.

Realizing that we were approaching the end of January, I ran out to the mailbox yesterday anticipating the arrival of my favorite piece of mail, the W2. I was glad to see that it was there. I’m one to just jump right on it and get the taxes done that same day. So it took everything within me to not stay up late last night to prepare and finalize them. I am indeed a strange creature, I’ll admit. But, what’s exciting for one isn’t always exciting for the other.

When I process our taxes each year, I try to do so as accurately as possible. I want no mistakes to be made and no reason to be given to the IRS to audit us.

Can I Borrow Your Kid?

Others are not this way. I’ve known people who ‘borrow’ other people’s children to claim them as a dependent on their taxes. Having kids, brings in a nice little penny each year and everyone would like an additional chunk of change. However, adding dependents that aren’t yours is illegal. Even so, people still do it.

They have a lot more courage than I do. I’m one of those people who feels guilty even when I’m not. If something goes missing in my near proximity, I immediately feel that everyone is looking at me, accusing me under their breath.

I did steal once.

Maybe that paranoia was caused by the one time I did steal. When I was a teen, my friend and I went to the mall after school. She stole a piece of jewelry and urged me to do the same. With fear and a little excitement, I reached over and grabbed a necklace that was hanging next to me. Gently, I stuffed it in my pocket and we proceeded to the exit. We left and no one said a word, but I was terrified, believing that everyone was watching me.

We hurried through the mall and within moments we were in the parking lot. As we walked home, I was paranoid and afraid that every cop car we saw, was coming after us. For at least a year, I didn’t step foot into that mall again. I was convinced that if I did, the mall staff would see me and have me arrested. The fear I felt by stealing that necklace was enough for me to never steal again.

Because of that, I cannot comprehend how people can lie and cheat on their taxes. That’s much worse than stealing a $5 necklace. Yes, it was only $5, but the guilt of taking it made it seem like thousands. I got away with it, but when it comes to the IRS, they don’t mess around.

You can run, but you can’t hide.

Working as an accountant, I dealt with a man who had a very high income, but had not done his taxes for a few years. The IRS started contacting him, so to avoid the consequences he decided to leave the country. Years later, he came back to the states. Within just a few months the IRS had found him. After fees, interest and unpaid taxes he was sitting at nearly 1 million dollars in which he owed.

Bad choices. Money is great to have and it’s necessary, but it’s not worth risking jail time and extensive fees in order to get it. The people who do take these risks have a lot more courage than I do.

I’d rather be a wise chicken, than a jailed criminal.

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17 Responses to Tax Time – Can I Borrow Your Child?

  1. Doobster418 says:

    Okay, I’m following your instructions and calling you odd. And even if you hadn’t issued that command, I would have called you odd, for anyone who loves tax time is odd.


  2. April says:

    I love how you give us these little tidbits of the rebellious side of you. 🙂 So, tell me, we have been supporting a friend of my sons for the last 3 years. She is almost 22 now. We don’t claim her as a dependent, but could we? .I’m not even sure how to prove that we are supporting her financially, other than she lives with us. I would be curious to know if her family is claiming her. She hasn’t spoke to them in three years. We even pay for her medical needs, which include mental health therapy and medications. Which is fun with no insurance.

    Anyway, I applaud you for your love of tax time. I wanted to be an accountant…I like tedious work, and keeping detailed records. Well I used to, but something went awry somewhere. I was also sick during the time stocks and bond issues were handled in class, I never caught back up, and I’m still baffled by stocks.


    • mewhoami says:

      It sure would be nice if you could claim her, but I don’t think so. First, you would have to be her legal guardian. Second, she would have to be under 19 years or in school up to 24 yrs old. Third, she would have to live in your home and forth she would need to be disabled. Most importantly, is the first one. For medical, if she is on your health insurance policy, then you can include her bills into the medical deduction when you file. Otherwise, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll get any benefit from it, other than being your sons “really cool Mom”. 🙂

      As much as I love it, I still haven’t started, It’s been a busy day. But, it’ll be done before the night is over.


      • April says:

        She does live with us, and she is disabled. Mentally disabled. She can’t stay in school or hold down a job. I recently convinced her to accept our help for medical assistance. She is now seeking therapy. My goal is to help her understand there are loving people who seriously care for her so that one day she can be proud of herself, and support herself.

        She is my one little part of the corner that I’m taking care of at the moment.


        • mewhoami says:

          In that case, if she’s been living there the majority of the year, then you may be able to. That’s as long as her parents aren’t already claiming her. It is very sweet what you are doing for her.


    • mewhoami says:

      Feel free to shoot me an email if you want. That way you won’t have to add too much personal info here.


  3. People who take tax risks, are they really courageous? Is a bank robber brave? I guess it’s not moral courage but immoral courage. Great post, thanks! 🙂


  4. You brave, brave soul.


  5. Dave says:

    I love tax time, because not because I love the numbers (which I do) but because I normally get money back. I too normally do my taxes as soon as possible. Actually, I am impatiently waiting right now for the W2 from my second job to arrive.

    I also understand being extremely careful to avoid mistakes. I am petrified at the thought of an audit – not because of any intentional wrongdoing, but because I am always afraid that I somehow missed or misunderstood something.

    About the stealing, some people claim that your conscience is the most faithful watcher you have. Better than government or mall security in fact.

    Thanks for sharing another neat post. I’m glad I am not the only one who looks forward to tax time.


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