Wondering who you can claim as a dependent? As a general rule of thumb, your minor children who live with you qualify. But did you know that a dependent could be a stepchild or foster child, siblings (including step and half siblings), or a descendant of any of the previously mentioned people? There are lots of nuances and exceptions when it comes to determining who is a dependent, so keep reading for a few tips about who is—and isn’t—a qualifying dependent.
- Spouses are never considered dependents. You may claim a personal exemption for yourself and your spouse when you are married and filing jointly. There are some circumstances under which you can file separately and still claim the exemption for your spouse.
- Keep in mind that if you are claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return, you CANNOT claim a personal exemption for yourself. For example, if your parents claim you as a dependent on their tax return because they supply more than half of your support for the year, even if you file your own tax return, you cannot claim a personal exemption.
- Even if your children move back in as young adults, they may not qualify as dependents. Dependents must be younger than 19, full-time students up to age 24, or permanently and totally disabled.
- Two people cannot claim the same dependent. Dependents must live with you for more than half the year. Temporary absences, such as for illness, education, or juvenile detention, do not affect this requirement. If a dependent splits their time evenly between two households, such as in the case of parental divorce, special tiebreaker rules come into play.
- Even if they meet the relationship, age, and support requirements, not everyone can be claimed as a dependent. Dependents must be U.S. citizens, U.S. resident aliens, U.S. nationals, or residents of Canada or Mexico. There are exceptions for adopted children.
Still not sure if you should claim someone as a dependent. Just ask! We’re Pro Tax Resolution, and we provide expert tax advice. Our goal is to help Memphis-area taxpayers with issues large and small. Give us a call today.