Family Matters: The Dependent | Phoenix Tax Consultants

Family Matters: The Dependent

Family Matters: The Dependent

Posted on March 1, 2011

Dependants are described by the Internal Revenue Service as “…a qualifying child or a qualifying relative.” and by this definition there can only be two categories of qualifying individuals that rank for the dependency exemption described by the IRS: children and/or any relative of qualifying exemption.  The exemption credit through the IRS allows Taxpayers to claim for credit for every dependent they list.  Each credit lowers the monetary sum of taxable income and therefore decreases an individual’s taxable liability.    

Knowing the broad definitions of dependants can be a certain benefit for taxpayers in their desire for lower tax liability.  In regards to children under the Dependent qualification, they can be children (under the age of 19, or fulltime students under the age of 24): through birth, adoption or foster care, step siblings, or those of a descendent of a family member.  The child is considered a descendent even under the circumstances of vacation, illness, military obligation, obligation of business or even education. 

In terms of qualifications for Family Members who fall under the category of dependants, it varies in relation to those defined for children.  Relatives in the qualifying definition need not live with the filing taxpayer, nor is there a specific age restriction.  The filer needs to provide for more than 1/2 of the Relative’s support (and their income cannot exceed 3,650 for 2010).  Relatives under this definition can be through birth (or adoption), ancestry, a descendant, foster children (but not parent), or through marriage

An important thing to note for those filing joint federal tax returns: a taxpayer or spouse can meet the criteria described for filing dependents.  But when the taxpayers choose to file separately, the dependent is then placed on the side of the taxpayer who met the criteria aforementioned.  Know who your dependents are, and you will save money in the long run. 

Information Source: Federal Tax Dependent Definition |
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