Search for: any all Results per page:

Dependent Qualifications

Tax Year 2013

 

The term “dependent” means either:
  • A Qualifying Child, or
  • A Qualifying Relative.

 

In addition to the tests below, all Qualifying persons and/or taxpayers and spouses must meet all of the following requirements:

  1. The taxpayer, and spouse if married filing jointly, cannot claim any dependents if one of them could be claimed as a dependent on someone else's return.
  2. A qualifying person cannot be claimed as a dependent if that person is married and files a joint return with his or her spouse, unless the joint return is filed with the sole purpose of receiving a refund and no tax liability was incurred by either spouse. Example: Parents cannot claim their married child as a dependent if that married child filed a joint return with his or her spouse, and as a married couple, they incurred a tax liability, even if they received a refund.
  3. A qualifying person must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. resident, U.S. national, or a resident of Canada or Mexico. Adopted children of United States citizens or national who live with the parents as members of a household are regarded as U.S. citizens.

 

For more information than what is included below, see IRS Pub. 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction and Filing Information.

A person is a Qualifying Child if he or she meets all of the following tests:
Relationship Test The child must be one of the following:
  • The taxpayer's (or spouse's if filing a joint return) son, daughter, stepchild, eligible foster child (defined below), or a descendant (for example, the taxpayer's grandchild) of any of those people, or
  • The taxpayer's (or spouse's if filing a joint return) brother, sister, half brother, half sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or a descendant (for example, the taxpayer's niece or nephew) of any of those people.

 

Adopted Child
An adopted child is always treated as the taxpayer's own child. The term "adopted child" includes a child who was lawfully placed with the taxpayer for legal adoption.

 

Eligible Foster Child
An eligible foster child is an individual who is placed with the taxpayer by an authorized placement agency or by judgment, decree, or other order of any court of competent jurisdiction.

Age Test The child must meet one of the following age requirements:
  • Under age 19 at the end of the tax year and younger than the taxpayer, and spouse if filing a joint return, or
  • Under age 24 at the end of the tax year and a full time student and younger than the taxpayer, and spouse if filing a joint return, or
  • Any age and permanently and totally disabled.

 

Permanently and Totally Disabled Defined
The taxpayer's child is permanently and totally disabled if both of the following conditions are met:

  1. He or she cannot engage in any substantial gainful activity because of a physical or mental condition, and
  2. A doctor determines the condition has lasted or can be expected to last continuously for at least a year or can be expected to lead to death.
Residency Test The child must have lived with the taxpayer for more than half of the tax year, unless one of the following situations is applicable:
  • Temporary Absence: The child is considered to have been living with the parent during a period of the child's or parent's illness, education, business, vacation, or military service.
  • Birth or Death of the Child: A child who was born or died during the tax year is treated as having lived with the taxpayer during the whole year if the taxpayer's home was the child's home during the entire time he or she was alive.
  • Birth and Death of the Child: A child who is born alive is considered to have been living with the parent during the whole tax year even if that child only lives momentarily, as long as the state law where the child was born defines the birth as a live birth, and there is an official document proving a live birth. A still-born child is not considered a live birth.
  • Kidnapped Child: A child who has been kidnapped is considered to have been living with the parent during the whole tax year if the child is presumed by law enforcement authorities to have been kidnapped by a person who is not a member of the taxpayer's or child's family, and the child lived with the taxpayer for more than half of the part of the year in which the kidnapping occurred. This exception applies until the child is determined to be deceased or the child reaches the age of 18.
  • Child of Divorced, Separated Parents, or Unmarried Parents: Under normal circumstances, a child is considered the qualifying child of the custodial parent. A child is considered the qualifying child of his or her noncustodial parent if all of the following apply:
    1. The parents are divorced or legally separated under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance agreement, or they lived apart at all times during the last six months of the tax year,
    2. The child received over half of his or her support from both parents during the tax year,
    3. The child is in the custody of one or both of the parents for more than half of the tax year, and
    4. The written agreement of divorce or separation states that the noncustodial parent can claim the child as a dependent, or the custodial parent signs Form 8332 or a similar statement releasing the exemption. If the agreement was made before 1985, the noncustodial parent must provide at least $600 of support for the child during the tax year. Also, parents who are adhering to agreements made after 2008 must include Form 8332 or similar statement.
Support Test The child cannot have provided more than half of his or her own support during the tax year.

 

Child Who Receives a Scholarship
A scholarship received by a child who is a full-time student is not taken into account in determining whether the child provided more than half of his or her own support.

 

Important Note: This test is different from the support test to be a qualifying relative, which is described later.

Special Test A qualifying child cannot be claimed on more than one return. If the child meets the requirements of a qualifying child by more than one person, the taxpayers should try to agree on who can claim the child.

 

Note: This test does not apply to married taxpayers who file a joint return and claim the same qualifying child.

 

IRS Tie-Breaking Rules
The IRS will use the following rules if the taxpayers cannot agree, and more than one person claims the child on their return:

  • If one taxpayer is a parent of the qualifying child, and the other taxpayer is not, the IRS will allow the claim for the parent.
  • If both taxpayers are a parent of the qualifying child, the IRS will allow the claim for the parent who had the child living with that parent during the longest period of time during the tax year.
  • If both taxpayers are a parent of the qualifying child, and the child lived with both parents for the same amount of time, the IRS will allow the claim for the parent with the highest adjusted gross income (AGI).
  • If neither taxpayer is the parent of the qualifying child, the IRS will allow the claim for the person with the highest adjusted gross income (AGI).
A person is a Qualifying Relative if he or she meets all of the following tests:
Not a Qualifying Child Test The qualifying relative cannot meet the requirements of a Qualifying Child.

 

Example: The taxpayer's 22-year-old daughter, who is a full-time student, lives with the taxpayer and meets all the tests to be a qualifying child. Therefore, she is not a qualifying relative.

Member of Household or Relationship Test The qualifying relative must meet one of the following tests:
  1. The qualifying relative must have lived with the taxpayer the entire year as a member of the household, or
  2. The taxpayer, or spouse if filing a joint return, must be related to the taxpayer in one of the following manners:
    • The taxpayer's or spouse's child, stepchild, eligible foster child, or a descendant of any of them. Example: the taxpayer's grandchild
    • The taxpayer's or spouse's brother, sister, half brother, half sister, stepbrother, or stepsister.
    • The taxpayer's or spouse's father, mother, grandparent, or other direct ancestor, but not foster parent.
    • The taxpayer's or spouse's stepfather or stepmother.
    • A son or daughter of the taxpayer's or spouse's brother or sister.
    • A brother or sister of the taxpayer's or spouse's father or mother.
    • The taxpayer's or spouse's son-in-law, daughter-in-law, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law.

 

Notes: Any of these relationships that are established by marriage are not considered ended by death or divorce. Also, although the IRS uses the word "Qualifying Relative", the Member of Household test allows a person who is not related to the taxpayer to be claimed as a dependent.

 

Eligible Foster Child
This is an individual who is placed with the taxpayer by an authorized placement agency or by judgment, decree, or other order of any court of competent jurisdiction.

 

Cousins
Cousins do not meet the definition of a relative who does not have to live with the taxpayer during the entire year.

 

Spouses
A person cannot be a qualifying relative for any person he or she was married to during any time of the tax year.

 

Exceptions for Member of Household Test
See the exceptions above that are applicable for the Residency Test of a qualifying child. All of the same exceptions apply to the Member of Household test for a qualifying relative.

Gross Income Test The qualifying relative's gross income must have less than $3,900 for the entire tax year in 2013.

 

Gross Income Defined
Gross income is all income in the form of money, property, and services which are taxable. If a qualifying relative is permanently and totally disabled, certain income from a sheltered workshop can be excluded from this test.

Support Test The taxpayer must have provided at least half of the qualifying relative's total support for the tax year, unless there are special circumstances where no individual taxpayer pays for more than half of the support.

 

Special Circumstances
There are some circumstances where no single taxpayer who is otherwise eligible to take an exemption for an individual provides more than half of the support for that individual. However, together these taxpayers may contribute more than 50% of the support. When this is the case, all of the taxpayers who provide more than 10% to the support of the individual can agree with each other that only one of them will claim the exemption. All of the other requirements to qualify as a dependent must still be met. A written agreement identifying each of the other taxpayers who agreed not to claim the exemption must be attached to the return of the taxpayer claiming the exemption. Use IRS Form 2120, Multiple Support Declaration, for this purpose.

 

Example 1
The taxpayer, sister, and two brothers provide the entire support of the taxpayer's mother for the year. The taxpayer provides 45%, the sister provides 35%, and the two brothers each provide 10%. Either the taxpayer or sister can claim an exemption for the taxpayer's mother. The brothers are not eligible for the exemption because they do not provide more than 10% individually.

 

Example 2
The taxpayer and brother each provide 20% of the taxpayer's mother's support for the year. The remaining 60% of her support is provided equally by two persons who are not related to her. She does not live with either of the two non-family supporters. Because more than half of her support is provided by persons who cannot claim an exemption for her, no one is eligible to take the exemption.

 

Example 3
The taxpayer's father lives with the taxpayer and receives 25% of his support from social security, 40% from the taxpayer, 24% from his brother, and 11% from a friend. Either the taxpayer or the brother is eligible to take the exemption.

TaxBrain Online income tax help, LIVE!