Qualifying Child Dependents
A taxpayer can claim a child on their tax return as long as the child meets certain criteria. A qualifying child has to pass the requirements for the relationship, residency, age, support, and joint return tests. In order to satisfy the relationship test, a qualifying child needs to be (1) a child of the taxpayer or a descendant of the taxpayer’s child or (2) a sibling of the taxpayer.
On a joint return, the qualifying child can be related to either the taxpayer or the spouse. For the residency test, the qualifying child must live in the taxpayer’s house for more than half of the tax year. To meet this requirement, a child must reside with the taxpayer for at least 183 nights during the year. For the age test, the child must be (1) under the age of 19 at the end of the year and younger than the taxpayer, (2) a student who is under the age of 24 and younger than the taxpayer, or (3) permanently and totally disabled at any time during the year, regardless of age.
To be classified as a student, the qualifying child must be enrolled full-time at an educational organization during five months out of the year. For the support test, the qualifying child must not have provided more than half of their own support during the ear. Support includes money spent on food, shelter, clothing, medical/dental care, education, transportation, and other similar items. If the child provides more than one half of their own support during the year, then they cannot be claimed as a dependent on a tax return. The joint return test means that a qualifying child cannot file a joint return with a spouse if they are being claimed on someone else’s tax return as a dependent.
By: Brooke Williams, Tax Senior at CROFT & FROST