I Have Supported My Niece

Can I use my niece as a dependent? Does it make a difference of age?

Hello,

Thanks for your inquiry.

You can claim your niece as a dependent if she meets certain qualifications.

According to IRS Pub 17:

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.

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.

You cannot claim a person as a dependent unless that person is your qualifying child or qualifying relative.

Tests To Be a Qualifying Child:

1. The child must be your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, half brother, half sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or a descendant of any of them.

2. The child must be (a) under age 19 at the end of the year and younger than you (or your spouse, if filing jointly), (b) under age 24 at the end of the year, a full-time student, and younger than you (or your spouse, if filing jointly), or (c) any age if permanently and totally disabled.

3. The child must have lived with you for more than half of the year.

4. The child must not have provided more than half of his or her support for the year.

5. The child is not filing a joint return for the year (unless that return is filed only as a claim for refund)

Tests To Be a Qualifying Relative:

1. The person cannot be your qualifying child or the qualifying child of any other taxpayer.

2. The person either (a) must be related to you in one of the ways listed under Relatives who do not have to live with you, or (b) must live with you all year as a member of your household (and your relationship must not violate local law).

3. The person’s gross income for the year must be less than $3,650.

4. You must provide more than half of the person’s total own support for the year.

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