My parents can't afford to pay rent. They will use their ssi income to pay for some of their rent. I would pay the remaining (possibly split with a sibling). Will this be income for them on their taxes (and state welfare applications)?
What if I was a cosigner on the apt lease? And what if not?
No, you paying the rent for your parents would not be considered income to them. Whether you are a cosigner on the lease or not, it still would not be considered income.
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You are giving your parents a gift to help them out. Gifts do not go on tax returns as "income" --- in fact gifts are not entered on a tax return at all. And if their only income is Social Security they do not have to file tax returns. Co-signing their lease does not change that. Are you really looking for whether you can claim your parents as your dependents? In order to claim them as dependents you must be able to say you pay for over half their total support. Then you would only get a $500 credit for other dependents for each of them on your own tax return. Claiming them would also make them ineligible to receive a stimulus check. Claiming parents as dependents should not be done without considering the total amount of support you are providing.
CREDIT FOR OTHER DEPENDENTS
Money that you receive as a gift is not taxable income to you, and you do not need to report it on your income tax return. Money that you gave as a gift to someone else is not deductible for your taxes.
Turbo Tax does not support the gift tax form 709, but here is a link:
No, I would not claim them as dependents. I have no interest in that,
I just want to make sure their taxes are done right. I think gifts above a certain amount are taxable, and rents are expensive in this region and so my gift would go above the threshold. But thank you, you have answered my question.