Because neither tax law nor family situations are usually cut-and-dry, many questions arise concerning who is eligible to be claimed and how to claim them on a tax return.

Who Can I Claim?
Although you may be financially supporting a loved one, he may not qualify as a dependent by IRS rules. Children who are under the age of 19, or 24 if enrolled in college, who live with you for more than half of the year and provide no more than half of their own support may be claimed as a dependent–but only if they’re your birth child, step child, adopted/foster child or the offspring of one of these. Relatives whom you support may also qualify as dependents, but they must live in your household and make less than $3,650 annually and receive more than half of their support from the person who claims them. Permanently disabled children and relatives may also be claimed as dependents.

How Many Taxpayers May Claim a Single Dependent?
The IRS allows only one person to claim a child or relative as a dependent on their tax returns. Married couples who file jointly may claim children as dependents together on a joint tax return.

Who Claims a Dependent Child in Joint Custody Agreements?
When a child lives with parents in two different households, the parent who has custody of the child the majority of the time claims the child as a dependent. If the child splits his time equally between both parents, the one with the higher adjusted gross income is allowed to claim the child as a dependent.

Do Dependents Need to File a 1040?
In some cases, dependents do not need to file a tax return. If a dependent has earned income through the year (wages and other reimbursement for services) that total more than $5,700, the dependent must also file an income tax return. This minimum is raised to $7,100 if the dependent is older than 65 or blind, and increases to $8,500 if he is older than 65 and blind. Taxpayers who are claimed as a dependent may not claim an exemption on their taxes, and must check the box on their 1040 that indicates they are claimed as a dependent.

How Late in the Year Can a Child Be Born and Still Qualify as a Dependent?
Any child that is born alive during the year may be claimed as a dependent for the entire year. Children who are stillborn do not qualify as dependents, though babies who are born and die in the same year may be claimed as dependents.

Guest Post by eHow contributor Willhelm Schnotz
Read more Questions About Claiming Dependents on Federal Taxes at is an easy-to-use, solution-focused site with more than 30 categories that cover just about everything.

Want more Tax Tips ? We’re gearing up to help you save with overlooked deductions, DIY Self-filing tips and more for the 2012 Tax Season. See our posts in the Tax Tips 101 seriesHERE.

TurboTax - Do your Taxes for Free - It's Easy

Related Articles:

Post Footer automatically generated by Add Post Footer Plugin for wordpress.

Speak Your Mind