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adamko
New Member

Married Filing Separately (recent college grad). Can my wife's mother claim her as a dependent?

My fiancé and I are getting married in October 2017. My finance's mother wants to claim her as a dependent (for insurance reasons I believe... details are fuzzy, but it seems this point is non-negotiable). I understand that my fiancé and I will need to file MFS for tax year 2017. However, I'm concerned that my fiancé will not qualify as a dependent for 2017, mostly due to the 50%+ support rule. Some details:

* I live in Minnesota. 2017 taxable income will be ~$110k.

* My fiancé is a full time graduate student in Tennessee, graduating in mid May 2017. After she graduates, she will move back home with her mother in North Carolina until mid-late summer. She will then move in with me up in Minnesota, and we'll get married in October. 

* My fiancé will not turn 24 until 2018, so no issue there

* My fiancé's mother is indeed paying for her rent/food/insurance while my fiancé is at school. Tuition expense is fairly minimal due to some large scholarships, though. 

* My fiancé will be a full time teacher beginning in the fall of 2017. Her income will 2017 will probably be $15-20k. 

It seems to me that we'll be right at the cusp of 50% support. If my fiancé's mother were to agree to continue supporting her up until the wedding date, would that tilt the scale and solidify her support status? Or are we too far along the support path (one way or another) to make a difference at this point?

2 Replies
Coleen3
Intuit Alumni

Married Filing Separately (recent college grad). Can my wife's mother claim her as a dependent?

It all looks promising except for one factor. It isn't enough for you to file separately. At your income level the second qualification will make the idea unworkable.

Dependent — a qualifying child must also meet these tests:

  • Nationality — be a U.S. citizen or national, or a resident of the U.S., Canada or Mexico. There is an exception for certain adopted children.
  • Marital status — if married, did not file a joint return for that year, unless the return is filed only as a claim for refund and no tax liability would exist for either spouse if they had filed separate returns.


adamko
New Member

Married Filing Separately (recent college grad). Can my wife's mother claim her as a dependent?

Thanks Colleen, though in reading that, I interpret the bolded part as an impediment to filing jointly. That doesn't seem to be an obstacle for filing separately, as least by my interpretation. Am I missing something?
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