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William Perez

Claiming Dependents

By March 9, 2005

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Dear Tax Guide, Can I claim my boyfriend / girlfriend / roommate / friend ... as my dependent? He (or she) didn't work at all last year, but stayed at my apartment and I provided over half of that person's support?

I have been asked this question many times. The short answer is, "Maybe." The long answer? You have to meet five tests for claiming a dependent. One of those tests is the relationship test. You must be related to your dependent by blood or marriage. Or the person must live with you as a member of your household for the entire year. If you supported your roommate while she was looking for a job, that's very generous of you. But you don't get to claim her as a dependent unless she lived with you from January 1 to December 31.

IRS Resources:
Dependents - Tax Topic 354.

January 29, 2010 at 4:26 pm
(1) Sha' says:

Dear William, can i claim my nephew who has been living with me since he got out of prison back on June 1,2009. I read i think a relative have to be living with you for 6months and 1 day before you can claim them. He has no income and no one will hire him due to his past and i have been supporting him since he moved with me.

January 30, 2010 at 4:24 pm
(2) William Perez says:

Sha’, you will need to review the rules for qualifying relatives. (I’m assuming your nephew is 18 or older and not in school.) Under the residency requirements for qualifying relatives, nephews do not need to live in the same residence as you for the entire year. However you still need to meet all the other requirements, such as providing more than half of their support and the dependent would need to earn less than $3650 for the year 2009.

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