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Tax considerations for parents of kidnapped children

A Jacksonville, Florida, mother and father finally saw their daughter after being separated for 18 years.

Kamiyah Mobley and Gloria Williams via Instagram theohsoradio
Kamiyah Mobley was known as Alexis Manigo when she took this undated Instagram selfie with Gloria Williams, the woman she grew up thinking was her birth mother.

Kamiyah Mobley was a newborn when Gloria Williams, 51, allegedly posed as a nurse and took her from her birth mother in Jacksonville, Florida. 

Now Kamiyah, who grew up as Alexis Manigo, is getting to know her birth parents, Shanara Mobley and Craig Aiken. The young woman, however, says the woman accused of taking her when she was an eight-hour-old infant "will always be mom."

The Mobley case is unusual. Of the thousands of children who are abducted each year, most are taken not by strangers but by a family member, usually a parent.

Tax issues for parents of missing children: While taxes are very low on the list of concerns of parents whose child is missing, the Internal Revenue Service allows for some special tax consideration in certain child abduction situations.

Parents of a kidnapped child can claim the missing youngster as a dependent if two conditions are met.

First, law enforcement must be looking into the missing child situation as a case where the youngster was kidnapped by someone who is not a family member.

Secondly, in the year before the one in which the kidnapping occurred, the youngster must have lived at his or her taxpaying parent's main residence for more than six months.

When both of those requirements are met, the parent of the kidnapped youngster generally can claim the child as a dependent and get the associated exemption, as well as the child tax credit if that tax break's rules also are met.

This tax treatment of a kidnapped child stops at the first tax year beginning after the calendar year in which it is determined that the child is deceased or the child would have turned 18, whichever occurs first.

While this particular tax circumstance applies to relatively few parents, it does at least provide them some tax relief duirng a terrible time.

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