Advice on Claiming Dependents on One’s Tax Return

Claiming dependents – whether children or adult relatives – on someone’s tax return can provide significant tax benefits to him/her. Each qualifying dependent someone claims is an additional personal exemption. Qualifying dependents of the correct age and relationship to someone may also make him/her eligible for a number of different tax credits, which can save him/her money dollar-for-dollar. These credits include:

– Child Tax Credit
– Earned Income Credit
– Child and Dependent Care Credit

Having a qualifying dependent as a single filer may also make it possible to claim Head of Household filing status, which is usually beneficial as well.
The IRS has very specific criteria that someone as the taxpayer – and any child or other relative – must meet to allow him/her to claim (a) qualifying dependent(s):

– The filer may not be claimed as a dependent on anyone else’s return.
– The dependent may not be married and filing jointly with their spouse – unless there would be zero taxes owed for either spouse if they filed separately, and they are receiving only a refund of withholding or estimated payments.
– The dependent must be either a U.S. citizen, national, or resident alien. They may also be a dependent in some cases if they are a resident of Mexico or Canada.
– The dependent may not be claimed as a dependent by any other taxpayer.
– Qualifying children must have lived with someone for over 50 percent of the tax year.
– Someone must have been responsible for over 50 percent of the cost of a qualifying relative’s support.

“Dependents must also meet certain criteria to be considered a “qualifying child” or a “qualifying relative.” The IRS provides detailed descriptions of both sets of criteria.” said spokesperson Michele Tyson. “Be aware that your tax return will be audited if you and another taxpayer both list the same person as a dependent.”

Comments are closed.