Bryant M. Hartfield - Page 5

                                        - 4 -                                         
          party’s intent.”  Id.  Petitioner testified that Ernestine Bethel           
          and he cohabitated for 9 years before 2003.  However, petitioner            
          has offered no evidence that Ernestine Bethel intended to be                
          married to him during that time.  On the contrary, in a written             
          statement dated August 12, 2004, Ernestine Bethel referred to               
          petitioner as her “ex-fiancee” rather than as her former spouse.            
          Consequently, we are unable to conclude from the record that the            
          requisite mutual assent existed for the creation of a common law            
          marriage between Ernestine Bethel and petitioner.  Accordingly,             
          we find that no common law marriage existed and, consequently,              
          that S.L.B. was not petitioner’s stepchild during 2003.  We now             
          turn to the claimed dependency exemption deduction, head-of-                
          household filing status, and earned income credit.                          
          Dependency Exemption Deduction                                              
               Section 151(c) allows a taxpayer to deduct an annual                   
          exemption amount for each dependent of the taxpayer.  Section               
          152(a) defines “dependent” as follows:6                                     

               6We note that the Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004,             
          Pub. L. 108-311, sec. 201, 118 Stat. 1169, amended sec. 152,                
          effective for tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2004.                      

Page:  Previous  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  Next

Last modified: May 25, 2011