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Road blocks in place as foster parents file taxes - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Road blocks in place as foster parents file taxes

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EL PASO COUNTY -

With Tax Day looming, local foster parents are running into road blocks as they file. Some, even missing out on the tax breaks they deserve.

Any foster parent that has taken on a full-time parenting role for more than six months can claim their foster child as a dependent on their taxes.

There's just one catch, they need the foster child's Social Security Number to do so and it's not exactly an easy get.

Money in hand to cover the cost of a new baseball glove, some cleats or even a bigger backpack.

"Certainly, it's in the child's best interest for Social Security Numbers to be turned over to the foster parents, there's no question about that," Gordon Williams, a foster parent in Colorado Springs said.

Williams has cared for a total of four foster kids in the past two years.

"If you don't have the Social Security Number, how do you report that to the IRS?" he said.

In between little league practices, he's had to go to court for every child just to ask for their Social Security Number.

"If we were to file a tax return without the kids, really we'd be committing perjury, and I'm being very technical, but still, it would be a false tax return, we'd be committing a felony," he said.

Even after a child has been in a foster parent's care for more than six months, federal law says the El Paso County Department of Human Services still isn't able to disclose those numbers.

"We are prohibited by a federal law from releasing that Social Security Number, the only way we can release it is if we secure the permission to do so from the biological parent," Dave Rose, Chief Public Information Officer for El Paso County said.

Without gaining access to a Social Security Number, parents are missing out on thousands of dollars worth of tax breaks. 

So Williams recommends approaching the biological parent directly first before bringing it in front of a judge since some aren't always willing to comply. 

And he says it's the federal system that needs a change.

"There is no reason that I can see, no safety reason, no identity theft reason, that I can see why a foster parent should not by law be entitled to a Social Security Number of the child that they're caring for," Williams said.

This isn't an excuse to skip filing your taxes, if you run into a similar issue, you can always file an amended version later or request an extension.

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