How to Claim a Tax Dependent: Rules & Qualifications – NerdWallet

What is a tax dependent?

A tax subject is a child or relative whose characteristics and kinship to you allow you to claim certain tax deductions and credits, such as head of family file status, the child tax recognition, the earn income tax credit or the child and dependent manage citation. Determining whether person is a tax dependent can be difficult. hera ’ s a summation, but keep in mind that this is a complex area of the tax code and there are exceptions to every rule. For all the details, check out IRS Publication 501.

Who qualifies as a tax dependent

For tax purposes, there are two kinds of dependents :

  • A passing child .
  • A modification relative .

Qualifying child

To claim a child as a dependent on your tax hark back, the child must meet all of the following conditions.

The child has to be part of your family

This is the relationship test. The child must be your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, half brother, half sister, stepbrother, half sister or a descendant of any of those people.

The child has to be under a certain age

This is the long time test. One of these three things has to be truthful to pass this test :

  1. The child was 18 or younger at the end of the year and younger than you or your spouse ( if you ‘re married and filing jointly ) .
  2. The child was 23 or younger at the end of the year, was a student and was younger than you or your spouse ( if you ‘re married and filing jointly ). “ Student ” in this case means the child was a full-time student for at least five calendar months of the year .
  3. The child is over these historic period limits but is permanently and wholly disable, as determined by a doctor .

The child has to live with you

This is the residency test. The child must have lived with you for more than half the tax class. There are sealed exceptions for temp absences ( such as if the child was away at college, in the hospital or in adolescent detention ), for children who were born or died during the tax year, for kids of divorce or divide parents and for kidnap kids. In cases of disassociate or separation, the custodial parent typically gets to claim the child as a dependent. however, sometimes the noncustodial parent can claim a child as a dependent if the custodial parent signs a written declaration that he or she won ’ thymine claim the child as a dependent.

The child can’t provide more than half of his or her own financial support

If your child gets a job and provides at least half of her own fiscal support, you can ’ thymine claim the child as a tax dependent. however, confirm broadly includes family expenses such as rent, groceries, utilities, clothe, unreimbursed medical expenses, travel costs and refreshment expenses.

The child can’t file a joint tax return with someone

This is the roast tax return test. There ’ mho an exception here if the child and the child ‘s spouse file a roast revert alone to claim a refund of income tax withhold or estimated tax pay.

The child has to have certain residency or citizenship status

This is the citizen or nonmigratory quiz. The child has to be a U.S. citizen, U.S. resident alien, U.S. national or a house physician of Canada or Mexico.

Qualifying relative

A qualifying relative can be any age. But to claim a relative as a tax subject on your tax return, the person must meet all of the keep up conditions.

The person can’t be anyone else’s qualifying child

You can ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate title person else ’ randomness qualifying child as your qualifying relative. sol if your toddler lives with your parents, for model, and he meets all the tests to be their qualifying child, you can ’ metric ton besides claim him as your qualifying relative.

The person has to be related to you or live with you

only one of these two things has to be true :

  • The person has one of these relationships to you. He or she is your child, stepchild, legally adopted child, foster child, or a descendant of any of those people ( for example, your grandchild ) or is your sibling, one-half sibling, stepsibling, niece or nephew ( including the kids of your half siblings ), or is your parent or grandparent, stepparent, aunt or uncle, or in-law ( but not your foster parent ) .
  • The person lived with you all year. There are exceptions for temp absences ( such as if the child was away at college ), for children who were born or died during the tax class, for kids of disassociate or branch parents and for kidnap kids .

note that lone one of the two things has to be true in order to get over the vault. That means that a person related to you doesn ’ t necessarily have to live with you in order for you to claim them as a pendent. This can be particularly significant for people supporting aged parents who live somewhere else.

The person’s gross income is below the limit

The person ’ mho gross income for the year can ’ triiodothyronine be more than $ 4,300 in the 2021 tax class. People who are disabled or have income from a sheltered workshop get an exception. Gross income includes money from rental properties, commercial enterprise income and taxable unemployment and Social Security benefits.

You have to provide more than half the person’s total financial support for the year

Support broadly includes family expenses such as lease, groceries, utilities, dress, unreimbursed checkup expenses, travel costs and refreshment expenses. If multiple people provide support for a person and because of that no one person is providing more than 50 % of the documentation, the support providers can sign a multiple Support Declaration designating who gets to claim the defend person as their tax subject.

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Who is not a tax dependent

These people by and large won ’ metric ton count as your tax dependents :

  • Anyone at all, if person else can claim you as a pendent ( in early words, you normally can ’ metric ton be person ’ randomness dependent and then claim dependents yourself ) .
  • by and large, a marry person who files a joint tax return ( there are some significant but complicate exceptions to this ; see IRS Publication 501 for the details ) .
  • Anybody who is not a U.S. citizen, U.S. house physician alien, U.S. national or a nonmigratory of Canada or Mexico ( there are exceptions here for people adopting children ) .
  • People who work for you .
  • Foreign exchange students .

Tax breaks for claiming a tax dependent

Claiming a pendent can get you some big tax breaks. decent tax software should ask you questions that will help determine whether you qualify .

  • head of family charge status. This file status gets you bigger tax deductions and more favorable tax brackets than if you filed as unmarried. ( How it works. )
  • Child tax credit and credit for other dependents. This could get you up to $ 3,600 per child in 2021. ( How it works. )

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  • Child and pendent worry tax credit. In 2021, it ’ s improving to 50 % of up to $ 8,000 of day care and alike costs for a child under 13, a spouse or parent ineffective to care for themselves, or another dependent so you can work — and up to $ 16,000 of expenses for two or more dependents .
  • gain income credit. This credit can get you between $ 1,502 to $ 6,728 in 2021 depending on how many kids you have, your marital status and how much you make. It ’ s something to explore if your adjusted crying income is less than about $ 57,000. ( How it works. )
  • Adoption accredit. This covers up to $ 14,400 in adoption costs per child in 2021. ( How it works. )
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