So I am a full time student (20 years old). I live in campus housing on a campus meal plan, wash my clothes on campus, buy my own toiletries, clothes, food, cleaning supplies, gas, car repairs, toll pass, etc. My campus housing and meal plan as well as some tuition were all paid for with student loans. I only use student loans for tuition, campus housing, and meal plan, everything else I pay for with my part time job. I get no financial assistance from my parents for school, which now includes housing while in school. This summer I am getting my own apartment (in July) but won’t fully move in until the end of the first week of August. I will be paying for this apartment with my money from my summer job as well as student loans in the fall, and will work part time to pay for everything else (food, cleaning supplies, furniture, etc.). Now I will live with my parents for those couple months this summer, and they do pay for my car insurance and phone bill ($90 a month altogether though I plan on paying them when I get my apartment) and sometimes I go home on weekends. So my question is do I pay enough of my own expenses to be independent on my taxes next year? Or can the they claim me as a dependant?
It depends. Since you are a student and under 24, you are still considered to live with your parents even if you have your own apartment. So, for you to be claimed as an independent, the question to answer is: are you providing at least 50% of your own support.
The way you state the question above with your details, you very well may be considered to provide 50% of your own support. Loans are considered to be your money if the loans are in your name, because you will have to pay them back. Scholarships and grants, however, are not your funds and is support provided by someone else.
Your parents don't actually have to be the ones providing the support in order to be able to claim you, as long as you are not providing that support. How do you know for sure? Click on the following link that provides a worksheet that can document if you do or do not provide at least 50% of your own support so that your parents cannot claim you as a dependent: Worksheet for Determining Support - IRS.gov
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