When determining if one can claim a child as a dep...
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Returning Member

When determining if one can claim a child as a dependent, what is meant by "more than half the year"? Does it go by calendar months or actual number of days?

If a child leaves home a few days before the end of June without telling anyone where they are, leaves all the stuff behind for a time,  but child is still on parents car insurance, health insurance, mail still coming to home,  etc,  and then at some point in July decides they are not returning what is considered the day they actually stopped being supported?
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Level 15

When determining if one can claim a child as a dependent, what is meant by "more than half the year"? Does it go by calendar months or actual number of days?

"More than half" means counting days.  Since 2020 was a leap year and had 366 days, more than half means the child must have lived in your home 184 or more nights.

 

Children are treated as living with their parents even during "temporary absences" which can include boarding school, college and summer camp.  Your situation is tricky because an argument could be made that the child was only temporarily away until July when they made the decision permanent and presumably picked up their stuff.  But it depends on the facts and circumstances.  If the child files a tax return and does not check the box that says "I can be claimed as a dependent by someone else" (some people call this "claiming independence" but that's not technically correct), and you claim the child as a dependent, that will create a conflict at the IRS.  They will send letters asking each of you to prove your argument, and I have no idea how they would resolve the issue in this particular case.  Good luck. 

*Answers are correct to the best of my ability at the time of posting but do not constitute legal or tax advice.*
Returning Member

When determining if one can claim a child as a dependent, what is meant by "more than half the year"? Does it go by calendar months or actual number of days?

Thanks.  Turbotax is saying that health insurance coverage is considered "support"....the child is still on my health insurance even now.

 

So I think the argument can be made that since  a) I assumed the child was coming back and had no indication otherwise until day 186 and b) all the childs "stuff" was still being stored in my home til 186 days, and the fact that to this day I am still paying health insurance for this child, the child was a dependent for more than "half a year".

 

I guess we will see how the IRS rules.

 

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