How to Claim Your Dependent Relative

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Many people are curious as to who qualifies as a dependent on a tax return. I get questions like:

  • Can I claim my college students?
  • Is a spouse a dependent?
  • Can I claim my girlfriend on my taxes?

These are just a few of the must common questions asked. On today’s article I will explain who qualifies as a dependent on your taxes this year.

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Who Can I Claim as a Dependent on My Taxes

Can I claim my relative as a dependent?

There are four tests that must be met before you can claim a person as your relative.

  1. Did Not Qualify as a Child Test
  2. Member of Your Household or Relationship Test
  3. Gross Income Test
  4. Support Test

Note: There is no age requirement to qualify someone as a relative.

Learn how to claim a dependent on your taxes.
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1. Did not Qualify as a Child Test

To meet this test, the relative cannot be your qualifying child or anyone else’s qualifying child.

2. Member of Your Household or Relative Test

To meet this test, your relative must either:

  • Live with you all year as a member of your household
  • Be related to you in one of the following ways:
    • Child, stepchild, foster child or descendant of any of them
    • Brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, step-brother, or step-sister
    • Father, mother, grandfather, or other direct ancestors, but not a foster parent.
    • Step-father or step-mother
    • Son or daughter of brother, sister, half-brother, or half-sister
    • Brother or sister of mother or father, in other words aunt or uncles.
    • Son-in-law, daughter-in-law, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law.

3. Gross Income Test

To meet this test, you relative’s gross income for the year must be less than $4050.

4. Support Test

To meet this test, you must provide more than half of your relative’s total support during the year.

How do I determine if I support my relative?

To determine if you provided your relative with more than half of the year financial support, compare the amount you contributed to the relative with the amount your relative received from any other sources but you.

Things that can be considered as support includes amount spent to provide:

  • Food
  • Lodging
  • Clothing
  • Education
  • Medical and dental care
  • Recreation
  • Transportation and other similar necessities.

For more information regarding support calculations, please see IRS publication 17.

Can I claim a relative who was born or died during the year?

If a relative died during the year, but lived with you as a member of your household until death, that relative meets the residency test. The same goes for a child who was born during the year and lived with you as a member of your household for the rest of the year.

Have you ever had any issues claiming a relative on your taxes? If so, let me know what tip you would give to others to make the process easier. If you want more handy tax tips, then feel free to check out my latest articles here.

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