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mtcbells1
Level 1

Child moved out after college and got married.

My son lived with me until late July (he was a college student). At the point he moved out and got his own place. He got married in September. I'm answering the questions in order did he get married, and then will he file a return, and then it asked "Did [your son] file this return just to get a refund of withheld tax?"  That question doesn't make sense. He's filing taxes because it's required by law. Of course, he's hoping to get a tax refund, but that's not what the question asks. So how do I answer this?

1 Best answer

Accepted Solutions
Hal_Al
Level 15

Child moved out after college and got married.

"Did [your son] file this return just to get a refund of withheld tax?"  

What that means (usually) is: he did not have enough income to legally be required to file a tax return, but he filed anyway just to get the employer withholding refunded to him. 

 

You need to coordinate with him.  You don't decide on your own whether you can claim him.  It's complicated but the bottom line (usually) is: you can only claim him as a dependent if his spouse agrees to file as Married Filing Separately (MFS) or he refuses to file as Married filing jointly (MFJ) with her.  The one exception is they can file MFJ if they only file to get a refund, and can still be their parent's dependent.

 

For a full discussion see a similar case at: 

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/2938663-can-i-claim-my-daughter-who-got-married-on-december-19th-2...

View solution in original post

6 Replies
RayW7
Expert Alumni

Child moved out after college and got married.

There are years you are not required to file a return but you may want to.  If you have federal taxes withheld from your paycheck, the only way you can receive a tax refund when too much was withheld is if you file a tax return.

  • For example, if you are a single taxpayer who earns $2,500 during the year, with $300 withheld for federal tax, then you are entitled to a refund for the entire $300 since you earned less than the standard deduction.
  • The IRS doesn't automatically issue refunds without a tax return, so if you want to claim any tax refund due to you, then you should file one.

 

Taxpayers who are claimed as a dependent on someone's tax return are subject to different IRS filing requirements, regardless of whether they are children or adults. A tax return is necessary when their earned income is more than their standard deduction.

The standard deduction for single dependents who are under age 65 and not blind is the greater of:

  • $1,100 in 2020
  • Or the sum of $350 + the person's earned income, up to the standard deduction for an unclaimed single taxpayer which is $12,400 in 2020.

A dependent's income can be "unearned" when it comes from sources such as dividends and interest. When a dependent's unearned income is greater than $1,100 in 2020, the dependent must file a tax return.

 

 

 

 

Mike9241
Level 6

Child moved out after college and got married.

what that question is asking: did they file jointly and did they have no tax liability but are only filing jointly to facilitate getting back their taxes withheld. you won't know the answer to this question unless you ask him. 

for example, if they file jointly so they can claim the American Opportunity Credit, then their only reason for filing jointly is not just to get a refund of taxes withheld so neither would be a dependent (source IRS PUB 501)

Hal_Al
Level 15

Child moved out after college and got married.

"Did [your son] file this return just to get a refund of withheld tax?"  

What that means (usually) is: he did not have enough income to legally be required to file a tax return, but he filed anyway just to get the employer withholding refunded to him. 

 

You need to coordinate with him.  You don't decide on your own whether you can claim him.  It's complicated but the bottom line (usually) is: you can only claim him as a dependent if his spouse agrees to file as Married Filing Separately (MFS) or he refuses to file as Married filing jointly (MFJ) with her.  The one exception is they can file MFJ if they only file to get a refund, and can still be their parent's dependent.

 

For a full discussion see a similar case at: 

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/2938663-can-i-claim-my-daughter-who-got-married-on-december-19th-2...

View solution in original post

mtcbells1
Level 1

Child moved out after college and got married.

Thank you. They both have full time careers and make plenty of money. They are filing and they will get a refund of some sort, I'm sure. But I can't wait around until after he files. 

Hal_Al
Level 15

Child moved out after college and got married.

"They both have full time careers and make plenty of money" means that the answer to the question "Did [your son] file this return just to get a refund of withheld tax?"  is No.

 

And that means you can't claim him as a dependent, unless he and his wife both  file as MFS and maybe not even then.  

 

 

Critter-3
Level 15

Child moved out after college and got married.

Another reason to not try to claim your son ... you only get $500 for him max and he can get the stimulus money  you did not get for him of $1800.  Talk to him and make sure he knows you will not claim him..  

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