Whether you are an individual, filing married, or a small business owner (SBO), one thing is for certain – filing taxes can be an arduous and often confusing task that you may find yourself ill-equipped to handle. Even if you have a tax professional help you, you might discover you have some unanswered questions regarding your tax filing. One of those questions that might spring to mind is: who can I claim as a dependent. We answer that question inside!
Frequently Asked Questions for Tax Filers: Dependents
Below is a list of some of the most frequently asked tax questions (and answers) when it comes to claiming dependents on your tax return. Hopefully these answers will help you reduce your tax liability and (if you qualify) increase your tax refund.
Who Can I Claim as a Dependent
There can be a lot of confusion with regards to who you may – and may not – claim as a dependent on your tax returns. While it may seem obvious at first glance, certain situations have specific requirements you should be aware of.
At the core, anyone you claim as a dependent must either be a “qualifying child” or a “qualifying relative”. What determines if a loved one qualifies depends on a number of factors.
For starters, the type of relationship you have with the individual may qualify them as a dependent. Children (even adopted or foster), brothers, sisters, or even nieces and nephews can all be classified as dependents (if the other requirements are met).
Indeed, even people that are not technically family members can be claimed. For instance, if the person was living in your house the entire year or, if you state allows, sometimes you can claim a boyfriend or girlfriend if they meet all other criteria. Not all states allow this, however.
Other qualifying factors include:
- If you are claiming a child, no one else can claim them.
- If you want to claim a grandchild living in the same house, but their parent (your child) is claiming them already, you cannot.
- They must live in your home for more than half of the tax year.
- They must be 18 years old or younger. If they are a full-time student for more than 5 months in the year, you can still claim them as long as they are under 23 and meet the rest of the criteria.
- If a child is permanently and completely disabled, you can claim them regardless of their age.
- If the child has earned enough income to support themselves 50% of more for the year, you cannot claim them.
- If your child is filing a joint return for the year, you cannot claim them.
Finally, you cannot claim a spouse as a dependent.