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djreda716
New Member

Can I claim one of my two in-laws as a dependent?

Good evening TT users!

I have a specific question relating to claiming one of my two in-laws as a dependent. Here are the details of my specific situation:

  • Both my mother (MIL) and father (FIL) in-law live with my wife and I.
  • They are both retired and collect Social Security.
  • My MIL has an IRA which she has made withdrawals from this year, in excess of $5,000.
  • My FIL has no retirement fund and only receives SSI as income. (Which from what I understand, is exempt in consideration of the "income" limit to which would determine if I can claim him as a dependent.
  • Last year, they filed a joint return. (And obviously were not claimed by anyone else).
  • I provide more than 50% of their financial support. (They live in my home, and all pay +/-90% of their living expenses).

My questions are:

  1. Can I claim my FIL as a dependent?
  2. If the answer to #1 is yes, I would just file my MIL as "Married Filing Separately", correct?
  3. I am assuming that I cannot claim my MIL as a dependent, due to the "income" from her IRA withdrawals, correct?

Thanks in advance to everyone for taking the time to read (and hopefully respond)!

Best,

Dominick R.

1 Best answer

Accepted Solutions
Hal_Al
Level 15

Can I claim one of my two in-laws as a dependent?

Q. Can I claim my FIL as a dependent?

A. Yes

Q.  would my MIL file as "Married Filing Separately"?

A. Yes, normally. But, they do not have to file at all. $5000, in addition to SS, is not enough to be required to file. If for some reason either of them, or both, need to file to get a refund of withholding, they may file a Joint return, since no income tax will be calculated.

Q. I am assuming that I cannot claim my MIL as a dependent, due to the "income" from her IRA withdrawals.

A. Correct. If she would limit her withdrawals to less than $4050; you could clam her.

View solution in original post

3 Replies
Hal_Al
Level 15

Can I claim one of my two in-laws as a dependent?

Q. Can I claim my FIL as a dependent?

A. Yes

Q.  would my MIL file as "Married Filing Separately"?

A. Yes, normally. But, they do not have to file at all. $5000, in addition to SS, is not enough to be required to file. If for some reason either of them, or both, need to file to get a refund of withholding, they may file a Joint return, since no income tax will be calculated.

Q. I am assuming that I cannot claim my MIL as a dependent, due to the "income" from her IRA withdrawals.

A. Correct. If she would limit her withdrawals to less than $4050; you could clam her.

djreda716
New Member

Can I claim one of my two in-laws as a dependent?

Thanks Hal_Al! Great answers! 🙂

One follow up question (more of a clarification as well): Regarding #2, I checked and the actual IRA withdrawals totaled $26,000 (inclusive of $5,000 which was designated for federal tax withholding).

Based on this, I'm assuming that she would indeed need to file a return (as married, filing separately), correct?

Thanks again for your help!!
~ Dom
Hal_Al
Level 15

Can I claim one of my two in-laws as a dependent?

Yes. But:   FIL only has SS income, and normally would  not have to file a return. Because his spouse is filing MFS, he will be required to file MFS return as well and his SS becomes more taxable.

Social security only becomes  taxable when added to sufficient other income. If a person is otherwise required to file a tax return, he does need to enter it in Turbotax (TT). TT will determine the taxable portion.
Social security (including SSDI) becomes taxable when your income, including 1/2 your social security, reaches:
Married Filing Jointly(MFJ): $32,000
Single or head of household: $25,000
Married Filing Separately and lived with your spouse at any time during the tax year: $0

You may want to do comparisons to see if it is worthwhile for you to claim MIL this year. That is more easily done in desktop TT, than online. or you can use this tool: <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tools/calculators/taxcaster/?s=1">https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-to...>
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