Feb 13, 2008

Qualifying Child and/or Qualifying Relative

QUESTION: My question is about whether there are earning limits for claiming an exemption for a "qualified child" who has been disabled for most of the past year and has lived with us for most of the year. We feel that we should be able to claim this child but can't figure out if it would be allowed.

ANSWER: There are 4 tests for claiming a "qualifying child". They are:
1) Must be a son, daughter, stepson, stepdaughter, or descendant of such child; or a brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or descendant of such relative,
2) Must be less than 19 years old by the end of the tax year or a full-time student less than 24 years old by the end of the year,
3) Must live in taxpayer's principal residence for at least half of the tax year,
4) Must not provide more than half of their own financial support for the tax year.

There are also 4 tests for claiming a "qualifying relative". They are:
1) Must bear some relationship to taxpayer, have the same residence and be a member of taxpayer's household,
2) Must have less than $3,400 (for 2007) of gross income for the tax year, not including Social Security or disability benefits,
3) Must not furnish over half of their own financial support for the tax year,
4) Cannot be a qualifying child of the taxpayer.

For more information on claiming dependents, see IRS Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax. This can be found online at www.irs.gov.

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