What Are Some Rules for Claiming Dependents on Taxes?


Quick Answer

For taxpayers to claim exemptions for dependents on taxes, the dependents must be qualifying children or qualifying relatives of the taxpayers, reports the Internal Revenue Service. Dependents must also be U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, U.S. resident aliens, or residents of Mexico or Canada. Only one taxpayer can claim each dependent.

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Full Answer

Qualifying dependent children of taxpayers must be direct progeny, stepchildren, siblings, adopted children or their descendants, explains the IRS. At the end of the tax year, the children must be under 19 or under 24 if they are students or completely disabled. Unless they are disabled, qualifying children must be younger than taxpayers. Qualifying children must live with taxpayers for over half the year unless they are eligible for temporary absence exceptions for purposes of military duty, school, health problems, business or holidays. To qualify as dependents, children must provide less than half of their own support.

Although qualifying relatives do not need to live with taxpayers who claim them as dependents, the taxpayers must provide more than half their total support from all sources during the tax year, according to the IRS. Total support includes expenses for accommodation, food, education, and medical and other personal needs. In instances of multiple support, taxpayers must agree that only one of them that provides over 10 percent of support claims the dependent exemption.

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