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jwgeary
Level 1

Do i have to claim my child as a dependent

We are married parents with a son in college and we pay more than 50% of his support.  Our AGI is above the level such that we don't qualify for the American Opportunity Tax Credit, the Lifetime Learning Credit, or the federal child tax credit.  Our son has to file is own tax return for the income earned from a part time job.  Can our son claim himself when he files his tax return?

 

Is the choice up to us or is there a requirement that we have to claim him as a dependent?

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Accepted Solutions
NCperson
Level 15

Do i have to claim my child as a dependent

sorry - but I disagree with @MinhT1 's advise (yet the 2nd paragraph does use the word 'can' and not 'must')

 

You always have the option to claim or not claim a dependent; you CAN pick and choose!.  The IRS doesn't care. There is no requirement that you MUST claim a dependent. 

 

HOWEVER

 

your dependent does NOT have the same option.  He must check the box that he CAN be claimed by someone else, whether or not that someone else (his parents in this case) claim him.  So his answer is the same, regardless of his parent's action. 

 

ps there is no such thing as 'claiming himself' for anyone.  You can claim some one else (other than a spouse) given the IRS rules for claiming someone, but you do not claim yourself or your spouse.

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2 Replies
MinhT1
Expert Alumni

Do i have to claim my child as a dependent

If your son is under 24 and a full time student and he did not provide more than half of his own support for the tax year, you can claim him as a dependent. If you do not claim him, then you lose the Other dependent credit of $500 and you cannot claim his education credit from his form 1098-T.

 

As for your son, on his own tax return, he is asked the question whether he paid more than half of his living expenses with earned income. If the answer is No, then he must say that he can be claimed as a dependent by someone else. And he will not be eligible for the first two stimulus payments.

 

If someone can claim him as a dependent but does not actually claim him, he can claim the non-refundable part of the American Opportunity credit, but not the refundable part.

 

@jwgeary

 

@NCperson - Thank you for your clarification.

 

Edited 04/01/2021  |  2:52 PM PST

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NCperson
Level 15

Do i have to claim my child as a dependent

sorry - but I disagree with @MinhT1 's advise (yet the 2nd paragraph does use the word 'can' and not 'must')

 

You always have the option to claim or not claim a dependent; you CAN pick and choose!.  The IRS doesn't care. There is no requirement that you MUST claim a dependent. 

 

HOWEVER

 

your dependent does NOT have the same option.  He must check the box that he CAN be claimed by someone else, whether or not that someone else (his parents in this case) claim him.  So his answer is the same, regardless of his parent's action. 

 

ps there is no such thing as 'claiming himself' for anyone.  You can claim some one else (other than a spouse) given the IRS rules for claiming someone, but you do not claim yourself or your spouse.

View solution in original post

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