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Who qualifies as a dependent for taxes?

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  • Who qualifies as a dependent for taxes?

    Several friends have asked me who they can claim on their taxes. Do the people they would claim as dependents have to live here with them? Do they have to have social security numbers? A lot of them are confused, because they send money to family members, but they don't think they can legally claim them on their taxes. Any suggestions?

  • #2
    Several friends have asked me who they can claim on their taxes. Do the people they would claim as dependents have to live here with them? Do they have to have social security numbers? A lot of them are confused, because they send money to family members, but they don't think they can legally claim them on their taxes. Any suggestions?

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    • #3
      Am a CPA and the answer to your question is that a dependant has to meet the "SUPORT" test. That is, they must:

      S=You support them more than 50% in the whole year;
      U=The dependant has an income less than $3000, unless they are under 19 or full time students and under 24 years old;
      P=The dependant is precluded from having an income of their own and have not been claimed as a dependant by another taxpayer.
      O=Residents of the US, Mexico or Puerto Rico.
      R=If a relative you must live with them, except if its parent in a nursing home, you can still claim them;
      T=If its other taxpayer, must live with them the whole year.

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      • #4
        OK, so if these people earn money but just not enough, they qualify as dependents only if the person claiming them is responsible for 50% or more of their income? and any family member claimed must live with them? so that means if someone sends money home to Mexico to his/her mother, for example, that cannot be claimed? Thank you for your help on this. There seems to be a lot of confusion out there about dependent eligibility!

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        • #5
          We are going through the same thing.
          http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p501.pdf

          See Page 9: Exemptions for Dependents . There are 5 tests that have to be met.

          See page 11: Test 2 = Citizen or Resident Test.

          We fail Test 2. My hubby is from Pakistan, his children were born there and live there. We can't claim them as dependents.

          Sorry, I can't cut & paste from Adobe.

          This is just my interpretation. I am not a lawyer.

          Lawyers.com has a Personal Tax formum that might help you also.

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          • #6
            No you CANNOT claim someone leaving in another country even if you send them money because remember:

            1.They must have a US social security number. The IRS software will "kick out" your return if you try to claim without a SS number or a fake one.

            2.Family members must live with you more than 6 months. Non relatives must live with you the WHOLE year.

            There is no confusion at all with eligiblity. When you understand it once, you are all set.

            Thats why people pay CPAs to do taxes

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