Who can I claim as a dependent on my form 1040 tax return. We will just cover some basics about who you can claim as a dependent on your return. This can become very complicated so we will try to keep in simple for this post. So we will consider if a dependent must live with you and if so for how much of the year, if they must be related, and what about if they have a job or some source of income.
First, you can claim a dependent even if they file their own return. They just cannot take an exemption for themselves on their return. They do this by indicating that someone else is claiming them.
A dependent can be either a qualifying child or a qualifying relative. You can claim a dependency exemption for a “qualifying child” or “qualifying relative” if three tests are met: the dependent taxpayer test, joint return test, and citizen or resident test. Here is a table from IRS publication 501 with an overview of the dependency rules.
|Tests To Be a Qualifying Child||Tests To Be a Qualifying Relative|
If the child meets the rules to be a qualifying child of more than one person, only one person can actually treat the child as a qualifying child. See the Special Rule for Qualifying Child of More Than One Person described later to find out which person is the person entitled to claim the child as a qualifying child.
|1There is an exception for certain adopted children.|
|2There are exceptions for temporary absences, children who were born or died during the year, children of divorced or separated parents or|
|parents who live apart, and kidnapped children.|
|3There is an exception if the person is disabled and has income from a sheltered workshop.|
|4There are exceptions for multiple support agreements, children of divorced or separated parents or parents who live apart, and kidnapped|
Note there are always exceptions and special circumstances so for more detail refer to IRS publication 501.
But Mr. CPA, can I claim my housekeeper, maid or servant? No. But they live with me and I provide over half their cost of living. Still the answer is no according to the IRS. See IRS publication 501.
For assistance from a CPA to prepare your tax returns give call me or email me today at:
Jeff Haywood, CPA
I prepare the following types of tax returns:
Federal and State Returns
Also, I am available for tax planning and discussions about business, retirement planning and life goals.
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As always keep in mind that the content provide on this site is general in nature and may or may not apply to your particular case. It is best to check with a tax professional about your circumstances and what is best for you personally. Also, IRS regulations and tax laws are constantly changing and the information on this site is not constantly updated. Again please check with me about your particular circumstances and what will be best in your situation at the given time and law.
This article was written by Jeff Haywood, CPA.
Jeff is a licensed CPA in both Texas and Illinois.
He has prepared income tax returns for the public for over 10 years.
He also has an MBA in Finance from Loyola University in Chicago and he has 24 years experience in Corporate Finance and Business Analysis.