Summary of Dependency Tests

Dependency tests… you need to pass all 3 of them in order to be a dependent. These are from your parents point of view.

 

What are the Dependency Tests?

  • Joint Return Test You generally cannot claim a married person as a dependent if he or she files a joint return. Exceptions in Pub 501 Page 11, center column.
  • Citizen or Resident Test You generally cannot claim a person as a dependent unless that person is a U.S. citizen, U.S. resident alien, U.S. national, or a resident of Canada or Mexico. However, there is an exception for certain adopted children, as ex­plained in pub 501 page 11 center column
  • The person you are claiming must be a *Qualifying Child” or a “Qualifying Relative”. Those are legal tax terms, and have their own definitions.

 

“Qualifying Child” There are 5 tests that must be passed, and they are:

  • Relationship Test Either your descendants, your siblings, or your siblings’ descendants (your step brother’s adopted grand child passes this test)
  • Age Test To meet this test, a child must be: Younger than you, and either Under age 19, or under age 24 while a full time student. Exception: Permanent or total disability passes this test regardless of age.
  • Residency Test To meet this test, your child must have lived with you for more than half the year. There are exceptions for temporary absences,(Illness, Education, Business, Vacation, Military Service) children who were born or died during the year, kidnapped children, and children of divorced or separated parents.
  • Support Test To meet this test, the child cannot have provided more than half of his or her own support for the year. (Different than support test for “Qualifying Relative”)
  • Joint Return Test same as above

 

“Qualifying Relative” There are 4 Tests that must be passed, and they are:

  • Not a “Qualifying Child is exactly how it sounds. If you can be a qualifying child, you can’t also be a qualifying relative.
  • Member of Household or Relationship Test To meet this test, a person must either: Live with you all year as a member of your household, or Be related to you in one of the ways listed under Relatives who do not have to live with you. (Descendants, Siblings, Siblings’ descendants, ancestors, parents siblings. step/half/adopted count)
  • Gross Income Test To meet this test, a person’s gross income for the year must be less than the personal exemption for that tax year ($3,800 for 2012)
  • Support Test To meet this test, you generally must provide more than half of a person’s total support during the calendar year. (Different than support test for “Qualifying Child”)

 

Summary of All Dependency Tests for Dependency Exemption

For a taxpayer to claim a dependency exemption, the following conditions must be met:

  • You cannot claim any dependents if you, or your spouse if filing jointly, could be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer.
  • You cannot claim a married person who files a joint return as a dependent unless that joint return is only a claim for refund and there would be no tax liability for either spouse on separate returns.
  • You cannot claim a person as a dependent unless that person is a U.S. citizen, U.S. resident alien, U.S. national, or a resident of Canada or Mexico, for some part of the year. (There is an exception for certain adopted children.)
  • You cannot claim a person as a dependent unless that person is your qualifying child or qualifying relative.