If you are looking for information on dependents to claim for an exemption, you might find yourself asking, “Do I have any dependents?” The answer is yes. Your parents fall under the category of dependents, along with your spouse and any children that come into your care.
What counts as a dependent?
When you file your taxes, you’re probably looking for deductions and exemptions that will help lower your taxable income. One such deduction is for dependents, which can reduce the amount of money the government gets to take out of your paycheck throughout the year and put it back in your pocket. The IRS has a variety of rules about what counts as a dependent:
- Children qualify as dependents, whether they are your biological children, stepchildren, foster or adopted children (if you took custody or guardianship of them), or even siblings. Other relatives may also count if the person is considered under 21 years old and/or financially dependent on anyone else for support, including yourself.
- Parents are also generally considered dependents, provided they are living with you. This can be economically beneficial to you, as it may entitle your parents to certain tax breaks of their own.
What proof do I need?
types of documentation. If you have a child, this is pretty cut and dry – they have to have a social security number issued by the Social Security Administration. If you’re claiming them as a dependent, they must meet specific criteria. However, what kind of proof do you need for a parent or other relative?
- A birth certificate is the most basic form of proof. Other types of documentation may include medical records or school registration information, depending on how old the person is and if they are still in school.
- Proof that you’re financially responsible for this person might also be requested but can vary based on your specific situation. If your parent has their medical coverage or is otherwise well taken care of, you may not need to provide financial documentation.
- However, if the person appears at your doorstep asking for help or they are simply in need of assistance, you might have to provide proof that they depend on you financially. This could include bank statements indicating regular contributions over a certain amount or documentation of their medical bills being covered by your insurance.
What if I make too much money to claim someone else as a dependent?
Unfortunately, this is one of the most common situations that filers run into because it requires an official judgment about how much your parents should contribute to their finances rather than depending on you. This can be contentious for families, especially if your parent has no income or has significant medical bills.
If your parent makes less than $4,000 per year, you can still claim them as a dependent as long as they meet the other criteria for an exemption. In this case, if your parent is currently married and over 65 years old, then any social security or pension income would be taken into account. This would have the effect of reducing their income to below $4,000, making them eligible.
Paperwork can be tedious and complicated, but filling it out correctly is essential for both you and your parent’s finances. If you’re unsure about whether you qualify or what kind of proof will be requested, please consult with a tax professional or visit the official IRS website at www.irs.gov for more information.