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How the IRS Defines "Dependent"

When it comes to your taxes, most people think of "dependent" as meaning a child. But that isn't always the case. Did you know that you can claim other relatives as dependents, even if they don't live with you? In many cases, you can even claim unrelated individuals, if those individuals live with you and have no other means of support. That's because the IRS defines dependent as an individual who relies on you for their support.

For an individual to qualify as a dependent on your tax return, the following five tests must be passed:

  • Relationship (or member of household) test
  • Citizenship or residency test
  • Gross income test
  • Support test
  • Joint return test

Keep in mind that ALL five of these tests must be passed for an individual to be a dependent for tax purposes; while exceptions do exist, in most cases, if a person passes four of these tests but not all five, you cannot claim them as a dependent.

For additional details on who you can claim as a dependent, you may want to refer to IRS Publication 501. If you have specific questions about claiming dependents or need other tax help, Taxation Solutions, Inc. is available to assist you. Contact us for more information now!