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Claiming adult children on your taxes: what you need to know

On Behalf of | May 25, 2023 | Tax Controversies |

Tax season brings with it a multitude of questions and considerations, including whether you can claim your adult children as dependents on your tax return. While claiming dependents is a common practice for many taxpayers, the rules surrounding adult children can be more complex.

This article provides an overview of the factors to consider when determining whether you can claim your adult children on your taxes.

Determining dependency status

The first step in determining whether you can claim your adult children as dependents is assessing their dependency status. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sets specific criteria to determine dependency, which include factors such as age, relationship, residency and financial support.

Qualifying child vs. qualifying relative

To claim an adult child as a dependent, they must meet the criteria of either a “qualifying child” or a “qualifying relative.” For the qualifying child status, the child must be under the age of 19 (or 24 if a full-time student) and meet other specified criteria. If your child does not meet these criteria but still relies on you for financial support, they may qualify as a “qualifying relative” if they meet other IRS requirements.

Financial support and income thresholds

You must also provide more than half of your child’s financial support during the tax year. This includes expenses such as housing, food, education and medical care. Additionally, there are financial thresholds that adult children must meet. As of the current tax regulations, an adult child must have a gross income below a specific limit to qualify as a dependent.

Marital status and joint filing

The marital status of your adult child can also affect their eligibility as a dependent. If your child has a spouse and files jointly, you generally cannot claim them as a dependent on your tax return. However, there are exceptions for certain situations, such as when your child and their spouse file a joint return solely for a refund of withheld taxes.

Other considerations and documentation

While the aforementioned factors play a significant role, there may be other circumstances and requirements to consider when claiming adult children as dependents. Proper documentation, such as Social Security numbers and supporting records, is crucial when filing your taxes and claiming dependents.

It is advisable to refer to IRS guidelines for specific situations to ensure compliance with the most up-to-date tax regulations.