My mother arrived mid-September 2017 and finally got her green card early October. She stayed in the country till end of November and I financially supported her through that period. Does she need to file for the whole year including her income from another country? Or can I file her as a dependent?
It depends -
Yes, you may be able to claim your mother as a dependent if she meets the test as described below
As a dual status alien, she will need to report any US-sourced income form the period before here US residencey started (on a Form 1040NR - as a statement attached to Form 1040) and report worldwide income from the date her residency started to the end of the calendar year on Form 1040.
TurboTax does not support dual status filings and they can be quite complicated.
In either case, she will need a valid Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), to claim her as a dependent. To apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) using Form W-7 (Click ITIN). Click this link for the IRS website ITIN - Frequently Asked Questions
According to the IRS:
- You can’t claim any dependents if you (or your spouse, if filing jointly) could be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer.
- You can’t claim a married person who files a joint return as a dependent unless that joint return is filed only to claim a refund of withheld income tax or estimated tax paid.
- You can’t claim a person as a dependent unless that person is a U.S. citizen, U.S. resident alien, U.S. national, or a resident of Canada or Mexico.
- You can’t claim a person as a dependent unless that person is your qualifying child or qualifying relative.
You could claim your elderly parents as dependents even if they don't live with you for the entire year as long as they meet the qualifying relative test:
An individual must meet all 4 of these requirements in order to be considered your Qualifying Relative:
- Not a Qualifying Child: The individual cannot be your Qualifying Child and cannot be someone else's Qualifying Child. They are a Qualifying Child if they meet all the requirements, whether or not they are claimed as a dependent
- Relationship: The person must either have lived with you for the entire year as a member of the household (a person who is not actually related to you may meet the requirements in this way), or be related to you in one of the following ways: your child, stepchild, grandchild or other descendant of one of your children (or stepchildren or foster children), son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother, sister, half brother, half sister, stepbrother, stepsister, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, parent, stepfather, stepmother, father-in-law, mother-in-law, grandparent, and, if related by blood, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew. Remember that a child whom you legally adopted is always considered to be your child. Also note that, for the purposes of this requirement, divorce or death does not change any relationship which was established by marriage (e.g. son-in-law, daughter-in-law, etc.)
- Gross Income: The person must have made less than $4,000 in gross income during 2016.
- Support: You must have provided more than half of the individual's total support during the year
Click this link for more additional information about claiming a dependent
Click this link for more additional information about claiming elderly parents as dependents