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af15d
New Member

I was my mom's dependent until August, when I moved to another state and became independent. Can I specify in my taxes that I was only dependent for part of the year?

In August I graduated from undergrad, and moved from my mom's house to another state to start law school. I have been financially independent since then. Because I attend a public school, I have to prove that I've been independent since September. When my mom filed her taxes, she was told she had to claim me as a dependent or owe the IRS money, due to her allowances, etc. She claimed me, but the preparer added a note saying I had become independent in August. If I appear as dependent for the entire year it would impact my tuition (out of state is 40,000 while in-state is 20,000 and my goal is to practice in this state), and possibly my ability to get loans. Is there anything I can do to specify in my taxes when I became independent, or am I just screwed until next year?

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Accepted Solutions
DanielV01
Expert Alumni

I was my mom's dependent until August, when I moved to another state and became independent. Can I specify in my taxes that I was only dependent for part of the year?

Dependency is determined on the entire year, not just a part of it. And that can be a bit complicated, such as your case.  Let us go under the assumption that you were a full-time student, under 24 by December 31, 2018, living at home at least 6 months and 1 day last year.  You are your mom's qualifying child if you yourself did not provide at least half of your own support for the entire year.  This means there are two possibilities:

  • Your mom claimed you when she should not have.  If you provided at least half of your own support, how much she owes in taxes does not matter.  She is supposed to remove you as a dependent on her return, and you claim yourself as independent on your return (you would claim your own school credits in this case, but you would also mail in your return, because you have been claimed through an e-filed return.  Your mom would mail in an amended return with yours).
  • Your mom could claim you because you did not provide at least half of your own support in the year.  You must file as a dependent, which covers the entire year, not just the section while you were in school.

Unfortunately, there is no provision in the tax code to claim a dependent for only half of the year.  Either the person is a dependent or the person is not.  The tax code has nothing in between.

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7 Replies
DanielV01
Expert Alumni

I was my mom's dependent until August, when I moved to another state and became independent. Can I specify in my taxes that I was only dependent for part of the year?

Dependency is determined on the entire year, not just a part of it. And that can be a bit complicated, such as your case.  Let us go under the assumption that you were a full-time student, under 24 by December 31, 2018, living at home at least 6 months and 1 day last year.  You are your mom's qualifying child if you yourself did not provide at least half of your own support for the entire year.  This means there are two possibilities:

  • Your mom claimed you when she should not have.  If you provided at least half of your own support, how much she owes in taxes does not matter.  She is supposed to remove you as a dependent on her return, and you claim yourself as independent on your return (you would claim your own school credits in this case, but you would also mail in your return, because you have been claimed through an e-filed return.  Your mom would mail in an amended return with yours).
  • Your mom could claim you because you did not provide at least half of your own support in the year.  You must file as a dependent, which covers the entire year, not just the section while you were in school.

Unfortunately, there is no provision in the tax code to claim a dependent for only half of the year.  Either the person is a dependent or the person is not.  The tax code has nothing in between.

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Carl
Level 15

I was my mom's dependent until August, when I moved to another state and became independent. Can I specify in my taxes that I was only dependent for part of the year?

", I have to prove that I've been independent since September."
Are you absotively positutly certain on that? I can see the college requiring proof that you've been a "legal resident" of the state. But I've never heard of a college requiring proof of dependency status for the lower in-state tuition.
af15d
New Member

I was my mom's dependent until August, when I moved to another state and became independent. Can I specify in my taxes that I was only dependent for part of the year?

Thank you so much, I feared that was the case. I appreciate your prompt response!
DanielV01
Expert Alumni

I was my mom's dependent until August, when I moved to another state and became independent. Can I specify in my taxes that I was only dependent for part of the year?

Unfortunately it is.  Hopefully it only affects you one year, though.  Best of luck.
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af15d
New Member

I was my mom's dependent until August, when I moved to another state and became independent. Can I specify in my taxes that I was only dependent for part of the year?

Hi, Carl. The law school's financial aid representative said that if I didn't file as independent, NC would not approve me as an in-state resident. If they believe you're receiving any support whatsoever from your parents, they will not approve it, and they primarily base it on taxes. Once taxes are established I'd have to prove license, vehicle registration, etc.
Carl
Level 15

I was my mom's dependent until August, when I moved to another state and became independent. Can I specify in my taxes that I was only dependent for part of the year?

Thanks for the feedback on that. Seems kinda odd to me. Now I'm not picking on you, but crap like this makes me wonder why anyone would even want to pay for a college with such a asinine policy. But then one has to remember just "exactly" what a college is, first and foremost, right? It's a business whose primary goal is to make a profit. Education is the 2nd priority.
af15d
New Member

I was my mom's dependent until August, when I moved to another state and became independent. Can I specify in my taxes that I was only dependent for part of the year?

Yes, my understanding is that that's the new state-wide policy for all public NC universities, from undergrad to graduate and professional schools. Having less out-of-state tuition paying students is something they try to avoid as much as possible. I have a friend who has lived in the state for two years, working and completing a master, but because she never made her way to the DMV they refuse to consider her as an in state student for law school. It's frustrating and definitely impacts our finances, but there isn't much we can do to change it.
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