As much as you love receiving that tax return check in the mail, filing your returns can be a very complicated, headache-producing process. This is especially true if you have a unique dependent situation and aren’t quite sure who you can claim. An experienced tax lawyer can help you determine who can be a dependent and the best way to claim them on your taxes. Read on for information regarding who to claim as a child or adult dependent and what to do if you have a unique family situation.
Who Qualifies as a Dependent?
To claim someone as your dependent, the person must be a US citizen, national, or resident alien and have an SSN, ITIN, or ATIN. In addition to these general principles, there are also age-specific rules dictating who you can claim as your dependent.
Claiming Child Dependents
In order to claim someone as a child dependent, the following conditions must be met:
- You must pay at least 50% of the child’s support or expenses.
- The child must be under 19 years old.
- The child must be younger than you.
Exceptions to these rules include:
- You may claim a child up to 24 years old if they are a full-time student and attended school for at least five months of that year.
- You can claim a child as a dependent regardless of their age if they are permanently and totally
Claiming Adult Dependents
The guidelines for claiming an adult as a dependent are very similar to claiming a child dependent and include:
- You and the adult must be a qualifying relationship.
- You must pay for at least 50% of the adult’s support and expenses.
- The adult must have either been living with you for the entire year or be related to you.
- The adult’s gross income cannot exceed $4,150.
- The adult cannot be claimed as a dependent by anyone else.
Adult dependents may include siblings, aunts, uncles, in-laws, parents, your domestic partner, or a friend—as long as they meet these criteria.
You May Be Eligible for Tax Credits for Your Dependents
Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), you can no longer claim dependent exemptions. Instead, most people can claim a series of tax credits for their children and other dependents. In 2018, these credits ranged from $500 to $2,000, depending on your relationship with the dependent.
3 Tips for Smoother Dealings with the IRS
Dealing with the IRS can be complicated, especially if you are trying to resolve an issue or concern. Here are three tips for creating smoother dealings with the IRS when working on your dependent claims:
- Document the name and badge number of any IRS agent to whom you speak.
- Record the time, date, and a summary of all your communications with the IRS.
- Retain proof of support and residency documents for at least five years to back up your tax return claims.
Call SH Block for Help Claiming Dependents on Your Tax Returns
If you received a notice from the IRS disallowing one of your dependents, an experienced tax expert might be able to help. At SH Block, our tax professionals will work with you to communicate your erroneous disallowance to the IRS and resolve the issue with minimal hassle.
Have a unique family situation? The Tax Court is starting to show some leniency towards non-traditional households and may rule in your favor. Consult with an SH Block tax attorney before filing your taxes to determine the best way to claim someone as a dependent to maximize your returns and tax credits.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.