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Can I claim my mother in law and two brother in laws as dependents?

My mother in law and two brother in laws live with me. She collects child support because they are both under 18. She does not work and does not collect income so she does not submit taxes. Can I claim them all as dependents considering I am the sole provider? Also, would claiming them alter or change her federal/state benefits and/or child support?
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4 Replies

Can I claim my mother in law and two brother in laws as dependents?

you can't claim your brothers-in-law because they would be qualifying children to your mother in law.

 the rules to calin a person as a qualifying relative are:

 

Qualifying Relative and eligible to be claimed as a dependent the rules are:

 

so it seems as best you can claim your mother-in-law if you meet the support test. you mentioned federal/state benefits so are they receiving something other than child support? you would have to check if claiming her would affect any actual or potential federal/state benefits.  Those benefits for her if she actually gets them would count in figuring the support test.

Can I claim my mother in law and two brother in laws as dependents?

First, I would suggest running your scernario through the official IRS dependency tool.

 

https://www.irs.gov/help/ita/whom-may-i-claim-as-a-dependent

Assuming you are providing more than 50% of the support for these individuals, and because of 'tie breaker rules" you are able claim your brother in laws (as well as your MIL) These rules state that when someone else can also claim them (their mother), but the mother doesn't (because she isn't required to file) you can claim them.  

 

Even though these brother-in-laws may be under 17 years old,  they would only qualify as 'other dependants" (the $500 credit) and not as qualifying children (the $2000 credit) 

 

this topic is always complicated and because of all the different scenarios and rules, best to run through the IRS tool, like I did 

 

 

Carl
Level 15

Can I claim my mother in law and two brother in laws as dependents?

you are able claim your brother in laws (as well as your MIL

I don't know this for a fact, but I would expect it "might" have the potential to affect the amount of child support (and any other support) received. Especially if challenged by the payer of such support. I would suggest you check with qualified legal authority licensed to practice in your state. Especially if the state also taxes personal income and you would be reporting those dependents on a state tax return.

Hal_Al
Level 15

Can I claim my mother in law and two brother in laws as dependents?

There are two types of dependents, "Qualifying Children"(QC) and Other ("Qualifying Relative" in IRS parlance even though they don't have to actually be related). There is no income limit for a QC but there is an age limit, student status, a relationship test and residence test. Only a QC qualifies a taxpayer for the Earned Income Credit and the Child Tax Credit. The support test, for a QC, is only that the child didn't provide more than half his own support. The support test for a Qualifying Relative is that the taxpayer provided more than half the relative's support.

 

Your brother-in-laws cannot be your QC, because they are not closely related enough. For a QC, 

the child must be your son, daughter, stepchild, eligible foster child, brother, sister, half brother, half sister, stepbrother, stepsister, adopted child or an offspring of any of them.

 

So, next you look at the Qualifying relative rules.  A person can still be a Qualifying relative dependent, if not a Qualifying Child, if he meets the 6 tests for claiming a dependent:

  1. Closely Related OR live with the taxpayer ALL year
  2. His/her gross taxable income for the year must be less than $4400 (2022).
  3. The taxpayer must have provided more than 1/2 his support
  4. He must be a US citizen or resident of the US, Canada or Mexico
  5. He must not file a joint return with his spouse or be claiming a dependent of his own
  6. He must not be the qualifying child of another taxpayer 

In addition to the above requirements, to claim your Mother-in-law's(MIL) children, they must meet all of the above requirements and:
--- your MIL must not be required to file a return,
---she does not file a return claiming the children

 

 You are not their "sole provider", since they are receiving child support. The IRS has a worksheet that can be used to help with the support calculation. See: http://apps.irs.gov/app/vita/content/globalmedia/teacher/worksheet_for_determining_support_4012.pdf The support value of a home is the fair market rental value, divided by the number of occupants.

 

The question you didn't ask is: can the Father-in-law claim the children, since he is providing child support. The answer is no, unless the mother allows him to claim them, by signing and giving him IRS form 8332.

 

Another issue: your brother-in-law is usually your spouse's brother. Which means he is closely related to your spouse, so your spouse can claim him as a QC.  This means that you can claim him as a QC, too, if you file a joint return with your spouse. 

 

A child closely related (defined above) to a taxpayer can be a “Qualifying Child (QC)” dependent, regardless of the child's income, if:

  1. He is under age 19, or under 24 if a full time student for at least 5 months of the year, or  is totally & permanently disabled
  2. He did not provide more than 1/2 his own support
  3. He lived with the relative (including temporary absences) for more than half the year
  4. He is younger than the relative (not applicable for a disabled child)
  5. If the child meets the rules to be a qualifying child of more than one person, you must be the person entitled to claim the child as a qualifying child (this essentially means that you have the parent’s permission to claim the child, if the child also lived with the parent more than half the year)
  6. If the parents of a child can claim the child as a qualifying child but no parent so claims the child, no one else can claim the child as a qualifying child unless that person's adjusted gross income (AGI) is higher than the highest AGI of any of the child's parents who can claim the child.
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