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Tax Law (Questions About Taxes)/Claiming a Stepchild on Taxes


I was married to (and lived with) my late husband until his death on 27 July 2012. He died with no will; according to an attorney I consulted at the time, this made me his legal heir and next of kin in the state of MO.

He had a young daughter who also lived with us during that same time (she turned 16 three days after her father's death) whom I supported; on 1 August 2012, her grandparents (my in-laws) took her away from me and made her go to live with them.

Later, in October 2012, I moved to TN and remarried.

My question is, am I legally able to claim my stepdaughter on our taxes? I am reliably informed that her grandparents plan to try claiming her regardless of legality because I am not "blood". However, I do have written evidence supporting the fact that the child did indeed live in my household until the end of July 2012. Please help solve this dilemma for me and my new husband.


Thanks for your question.

If she lived with you over half the year and you provided over half her support you may claim her.  As the daughter of your husband, she qualifies as a qualifying relative.

Hope this helps.

John Stancil, CPA

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John Stancil, CPA


I can answer questions on personal income taxes, partnerships, and some corporate income taxes. I can deal with some state tax questions. Limited gift and estate tax questions. I am also familiar with ministerial and church tax reporting issues. I am Professor Emeritus at Florida Southern College. Sales taxes and property taxes are state and local issues so I am not likely be be able to give you an in depth answer on those types of taxes. I have maintained a CPA practice, specializing in tax, for over 35 years. I am a member of the National Association of Tax Professionals, The Florida Insititute of CPA's, The NCPE Fellowship. In addition I am a Certified Mentor for SCORE. Visit my website at I also offer seminars and consultations to churches and clergy on their tax issues at Also visit my blog, I am listed on Tax Connections at Prepare and file your own taxes at


I hold a doctorate in Accounting, and am a CPA. My certifications of CIA, CFM, and CMA are inactive. I passed all certification examinations on the first attempt, and received honorable mention for my scores on the CIA exam. I have operated a CPA firm for over 37 years and have taught accounting and tax at the college level for over 35 years.

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