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Apr 08, 2011
Dependent Requirements
by: Stephanie

Great question, thanks!

The term "dependent" means:

1) A qualifying child, or
2) A qualifying relative

You can claim an exemption for a qualifying child or relative only if these three tests are met.

1) Dependent taxpayer test
2) Joint return test
3) Citizen or resident test

An overview of the rules for claiming an exemption for a dependent are:

1) You cannot claim any dependents if you could be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer.
2) 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 spouce on separate returns.
3) 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.
4) You cannot claim a person as a dependent unless that person is your qualifying child or qualifying relative

The test to be a qualifying relative are:

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.
3) The person's gross income for the year must be less than $3,650 (for 2010)
4) You must provide more than half of the person's total support for the year.

A relative who does not have to live with you is a person related to you in any of the following ways:

1) Your child, stepchild, foster child, or a descendant of any of them (for example, your grandchild). (A legally adopted child is considered your child.)
2) Your brother, sister, half brother, half sister, stepbrother, or stepsister.

So, in summary it sounds like you should be able to claim the dependency exemption.

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