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Can I Claim Them As A Dependent?

Posted by Rachel Santana Posted on Aug 24 2015

We are so frequently asked, “Who can I claim as my dependent?”, and hope this clarifies it for you.

The IRS states that a dependent must be either your “qualifying child” or your “qualifying relative” and must meet certain tests in order for you to claim them.

There are 5 tests to qualify a child:

Relationship – must be your child, brother, sister, descendant of one of these, or a foster child

Residence – Must share your residence for more than half the year

Age – Must be under 19 or under 24 and a full time student for at least months, or totally disabled

Support – Must not have provided more than half of their own support during the year

Joint Support – The child cannot file a joint return with someone else


There are 4 tests that will qualify a relative as a dependent:

They are not the “qualifying child” of another taxpayer

Gross Income – Dependent has gross income of less than $3,950 (2014 Number)

Total Support – You provide more than half of the total support for the year

Member of Household or Relationship – The person must live with you all year or be a relative


Common Questions:

My girlfriend lived with me all year and didn’t work.  Can she be my dependent?

Yes because she lived in your home and did not make more than $3,950 for the year.

My parents live in their own home and only have social security income.  Can I claim them ?

Yes if you provide more than half of their support, social security by itself is not taxable and they are then your dependents for tax purposes.


We hope that this is food for thought and answers some questions.

Rachel B Santana, EA

Hamilton and Phillips PA