My ex wife has twice taken the DEPENDENCY EXEMPTION. I am supposed to get alternate years.

Q. My ex wife, who is getting child support from me, has twice claimed our daughter on our taxes. We are supposed to alternate each year. I took her back to Court, and the Judge ordered that I get to alternate with her. She keeps filing. What can I do?

Gary, Needles, CA

A. The cheapist advice I can give you, regarding taxes, is to file first this year - before she does. The IRS tends to disallow the second in time filing. Just make sure you claim the correct child, and that the orders are clear that you are entitled to a dependency deduction. Remember that if you have been awarded a deduction for a child, that you will be paying slightly higher child support. These deductions tend to be worth about $1,800, depending obviously on your income.

You should file a Request for Order asking the Court order to her to sign IRS Form 8332 relating to dependency exemptions - which is all the protection you would need, if signed, to deal with IRS next time. Attach this signed form to your tax return and you are good to go!

Finally, you could take her to Court and obtain an order reimbursing the extra taxes you paid. Prepare your declaration carefully, and include a declaration from your accountant about how the numbers were figured. Many court orders provide that a support payor only gets the deduction if they are current on their support obligations for the year.

There is no form for filing for the Head of Household - you have to separately qualify for that based upon at least 6 month's (and a day) custodial timeshare during the year.

Good luck, Gary - how's the water?

Thurman Arnold