Thursday, October 16, 2008



My cousin is currently living with me due to a terminal illness. He has no one to support him and cannot work. Can he be claimed as a dependent on my tax return?


Dear tax payer, the IRS has very specific stipulations for someone to be claimed as a dependent and they are broken into two categories, a qualifying child and a qualifying relative. It sounds like your cousin falls on the second category, however, I’ll provide you with both guidelines:

Qualifying Child:

In order to qualify as dependent child he or she must:

_ Be your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, half brother, half sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or a descendant of any of them.
_ Must be under the age of 19 by the end of 2008, or under age 24 at the end of the year and a full-time student, or any age if permanently and totally disabled.
_ Must have lived with you more than 6 months (some exceptions apply).
_ The child must have not provided more than half of his or her own support for the year.

In order to be a qualifying relative he or she must:

_ Not be the qualifying child or the qualifying child of any other taxpayer.
_ Be one of the following: child, stepchild, foster child, legally adopted child or a descendant of any of them. Brother, sister, half brother, half sister, stepbrother or stepsister. Father, mother, grandparent or direct ancestor (not a foster parent). Stepfather or stepmother, son or daughter of your brother or sister. A brother or sister of your mother or father, your son-in-law or your brother-in-law or sister-in-law.
_ Not have income higher than $3400 for the year.
_ You must have provided more than half of the person’s total support for the year.

Source: IRS Publication 501, “Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information”.

For additional questions about this and other tax issues you can reach a Tax Consultant for a free consultation.

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