Dependents-Who Can You Claim?

Everybody likes to save money when they can and filing yearly taxes is no exception. There are a variety of different ways to prepare your taxes in order to get the most back. One of the most common ways people get the most out of their tax returns is claiming a dependent. In order for a person to qualify as a dependent, they need to meet certain conditions and criteria. Only children or relatives can be named as a dependents so it’s important to make sure your family members qualify before filing. Failure to do so will slow down the process and you may have to pay a penalty.

Dependents must be a citizen or legal resident of the United States, Mexico or Canada. A foreign exchange student from Europe living with a family for a year would not qualify as a dependent because they do not meet the residency requirement. Another important thing to keep in mind is that a person can only be claimed as a dependent by one person. This is important for divorced parents who have joint custody of the children. Also a married person filing a joint tax return with their spouse cannot be claimed as a dependent under any circumstances, even if they are still a teenager and supported mainly by parents.

Children can be claimed as dependents if they are under 19 years old or are a full time student. They also must live with the person claiming them for at least 51% of the year. However, there are some exceptions to that requirement. Dependents can have a job of their own as long as someone else provides them with the majority of their support.

Relatives other than children can also be claimed as dependents. Aging parents often get help from their grown children, but Gramps popping in every once in a while doesn’t count as dependence. Someone needs to establish that the relative truly lives with them. There are no age limitations on dependent relatives.

If you have questions about claiming dependents or need tax help in Fort Lauderdale, contact the Greenberg Law Group P.A. as soon as possible and speak with a qualified tax professional.