This is going to be a rant. I don't know if it will be a mini-rant or a maxi-rant. But here goes.
Our middle child, Samantha, is in college....her 5th year, but that is another story. She will be going at least the first semester next year. I have always claimed her as a dependent on our taxes and filled out her FAFSA for financial aid. Lest anyone think that I was screwing Sam's "real mom" out of a deduction, every year, I told Sam to ask if her mom wanted to claim her and take care of the FAFSA. Every year the answer was a resounding "NO."
I always filed our tax return as early as possible, so I could file the FAFSA as early as possible, since financial aid is "first come, first served" and we wanted Samantha to get all that was available. And she has. Her first 4 years, she got enough money to pay for all her school expenses, plus some extra. Part of her aid was work-study, so she did work for some of it.
Last April, 2 MONTHS AFTER I HAD FILED OUR RETURN AND THE FAFSA, Sam's mom sent me an email that she would be claiming Samantha as a dependent for 2008. I responded that I was sorry, but we already filed and had received our refund. And told her that I had asked Sam, prior to filing, if her mom wanted to claim her and file the FAFSA, to which Sam reponded no.
Sam's mom graciously decided that she would not claim Sam for 2008, as she didn't want to "screw up Sam's financial aid." (Ummmmm....TOO LATE...we already claimed her!) BUT she informed me that she WOULD be claiming Sam for 2009. I responded that that was fine with me. And I told her that she could have claimed Samantha any year that she was willing to file the FAFSA. I got not response to that.
Fast forward to December, 2009. I sent an email to Sam and her mom, giving them the URL and all the information regarding filing the FAFSA. When I didn't hear back from Sam's mom, I sent her another message asking her to confirm that she received it. She confirmed. End of my responsibility. Yeah, no more FAFSA!!
So, I have talked to Samantha mulitple times since then, and usually financial aid would come up. Sam would say that her mom had not filed her tax return or the FAFSA, but Sam was really excited since her mom promised to give Sam half of any extra refund she gets by claiming Samantha. So, Samantha is expecting this big windfall from her mom.
Last Friday, we saw Sam and her boyfriend and I asked if Samantha had gotten HER tax return filed, since she and her bf had talked about filing it on TaxAct. Samantha said, "No, I gave it to Mom. She is going to have her tax guy do it." WHAT?????? Sam's return is the simplest thing to do and she could have had her money back MONTHS ago!!
Not only that, her mom HAS NOT FILED HER RETURN YET. Nor has she filed the FAFSA!! OMG!! I hope Samantha gets SOME money for next year, but I am not going to be surprised if it doesn't happen. I have been hearing about college costs going up and aid going down.
Not only that. I did my best to make our income seem really low, so as to get the most aid for Sam. Like I put 20% of my income in my 401K, 5% in a pre tax FSA. And hubby has not worked in about 3 years. So we had 3 dependents and one income.
I would guess that Sam's mom makes around the same amount of money that I do, but does NOT save money and will only have 2 dependents. So there is no telling what that will do to Sam.
Oh, well, at least the cow got an extra deduction on her tax return.