What You Need To Know About Claiming Older Dependents On Taxes

If you look out financially for an older loved one, the government gives you a reward for your kindness come tax time. Those looking to claim people who aren’t their children as dependents when they file their taxes should go over the rules to make sure they qualify.

The Star-Ledger put together a guide to claiming older dependents. Here are three requirements your would-be dependent has to meet in order to be legitimate in the eyes of the IRS:

* You had to have provided more than half of the dependent’s support for the year.

* He must be a part of your immediate family.

* He has to have earned less than $3,700 in 2011.

It should go without saying that no one else can claim your dependent as his own for the tax year.

Biz brain: Looking to claim older tax dependents [The Star-Ledger]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Blueskylaw says:

    What is the reason for the dependant having to be an immediate family member? What if my friend is unemployed and going through a divorce while crashing at my pad for a year while he tries to regather his wits?

    • Scuba Steve says:

      Unfortunately that would be too many people.. and considering taking care of a dependant can potentially double your tax refund, I’d say they’d want to keep it narrowed down to caregivers and family members.

      Me, I don’t mind paying 25%, but only because I dont ever see that money to begin with. (I get a very small return at the end of the year, and I value the piece of mind much more than the interest on the loan I’m giving to the government). But to each their own.

    • Hoss says:

      Romney could apply for the same programs indigent households get if he claimed every member of his lawn crew as dependents.

    • GearheadGeek says:

      They want to make sure us dirty fags can’t get any benefits for our families. Because of course it’s entirely different if a childless straight couple married for a year have only 1 income than if a gay couple who’ve been together for 12 years have only 1 income for a while, right? The straight couple get a big tax break for their trip to the JP!

    • Rick Stout says:

      You are allowed to claim your friend that sleeps on your couch, as long as he earned less than $3700 and he lived with you the whole year. Whats really funny about the whole thing is that he is considered a “qualifying relative” for tax purposes.

  2. Cat says:

    I make my own dependents at home.

    Fresh new dependents are much better than those old dependents. And unlike old dependents, eventually, they STOP pooping themselves.

  3. PlumeNoir - Thank you? No problem! says:

    I’m not an accountant, but there *is* a “relationship test” that the IRS has that can determine if a non-related person would qualify. (If not a relative, being a permanently disabled adult – since SSI is not counted toward income – is a major help.)

    Tax Cat could explain it better than I…for a belly rub.

    • Hoss says:

      Not really. There needs to be a family connection, but they don’t need to be in the same household.

      • PlumeNoir - Thank you? No problem! says:

        No, there doesn’t – at least they do not need to be a blood reelation. I know this from personal experience.
        I’ll have to drudge up the PDF on the IRS site, but if someone is living with you as a family member and is dependent upon you, and they pass the relationship test, then you can claim them.

        From the IRS website (there’s a PDF that explains the test better out there):

        “Qualifying Relative
        There are four tests that must be met for a person to be your qualifying relative. The four tests are:
        Not a qualifying child test,
        Member of household or relationship test,
        Gross income test, and
        Support test.”

  4. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    I know a few people who seem to stretch the whole dependent thing a little far…they have a son who’s an attorney, just beginning a new job 2 states away, and they claimed him on their taxes because they claim to provide 1/2 of his support. He certainly earned more than $3700 last year. I hope they don’t get audited.

  5. DuckNCover says:

    This should go without saying, but also make sure the other person knows you are claiming them and agrees to allow it. When my ex and I had just moved in together, she had been a full-time student the previous year and working part-time. Since she had also been living with her father he claimed her as a dependent for that year, even though she was 23 (full-time student) and had not relied on him for anything (she paid him rent and bought her own things). And he did claim her. She also filed taxes for herself, not knowing he had claimed her, as she was then living in a different state. One of them ended up getting audited and it wasn’t my ex.

  6. Kaonashi says:

    Screwed up the gender specific pronouns a bit unless the law only applies to having old men as your dependents and excludes old women. He or she would work. As would he, she, or they. Or just they, although they presumes plural.

  7. eeelaine says:

    As others have pointed out, this is misleading, because you don’t need to be “immediate family” to claim someone.

    The IRS has surprisingly easy to follow guides and checklists for who you can and cannot claim. If you want to be safe, either talk to a professional, or go look at the actual IRS documents (google irs and whatever term you are interested in, in this case ‘dependents’) and walk through their checklist – don’t depend on 2nd or 3rd party websites, because unfortunately even reputable ones (ahem, Consumerist) can be wrong.