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hyeji-kim0691
New Member

On parents' returns, I come up as "Nondependent - for EIC/dependent care only." As a college student, can I file myself as an independent if I supported myself in 2017?

Hello! I would greatly appreciate answers to my current situation.

I was a full-time college student in 2017 (I graduated in December 2017) and supported myself fully (i.e. my parents did not pay for any of my expenses).

My parents who are married and filing jointly answered that I lived with them "the whole year" (this seems to be the right answer based on research even though I lived away from them at college) and stated that I supported myself in 2017. TurboTax then listed me on their tax return as "nondependent - for EIC/dependent care only."

These are my questions to the above situation:

1. Based on more research, it seems that this "nondependent - for EIC/dependent care only" status is only applicable to couples who are divorced/separated. If so, why is this status coming up for me even though my parents are married and filing jointly?

2. If this "nondependent - for EIC/dependent care only" status is still applicable to married couples and my parents claim me as such, am I allowed to file my taxes and claim myself as an independent?

3. If this "nondependent - for EIC/dependent care only" status is not applicable to children of married couples filing jointly, how should my parents list me on their tax return and how should I list myself on my own tax return if I supported myself during 2017?

Thank you very much for your help!
1 Best answer

Accepted Solutions
Coleen3
Intuit Alumni

On parents' returns, I come up as "Nondependent - for EIC/dependent care only." As a college student, can I file myself as an independent if I supported myself in 2017?

The issue here is dependency. If you are a qualifying child for them, your would have had to meet all the qualifications. If you supported yourself, or even paid over half of your own support, you are not a qualifying child. A non-dependent that you describe is when divorced or separated parents split the benefits of a child. The custodial parent claims one set of benefits that they are entitled to and the noncustodial parent claims the benefits they are entitled to. None of this applies to you.

Bottom line is, you are not a dependent and they are not eligible for any benefits for a qualifying child.

In general, to be a taxpayer’s qualifying child, a person must satisfy four tests:

Relationship — the taxpayer’s child or stepchild (whether by blood or adoption), foster child, sibling or step-sibling, or a descendant of one of these.

Residence — has the same principal residence as the taxpayer for more than half the tax year. Exceptions apply, in certain cases, for children of divorced or separated parents, kidnapped children, temporary absences, and for children who were born or died during the year.

Age — must be under the age of 19 at the end of the tax year, or under the age of 24 if a full-time student for at least five months of the year, or be permanently and totally disabled at any time during the year.

Support — did not provide more than one-half of his/her own support for the year.

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4 Replies
macuser_22
Level 15

On parents' returns, I come up as "Nondependent - for EIC/dependent care only." As a college student, can I file myself as an independent if I supported myself in 2017?

You are correct - nondependent is *only* for divorced or separated parent that have not lived together at any time dire the last 6 months of the year.   Even when correct, you would still be a dependent because non-dependent on one parents tax return implies that you are a dependent on the other parents tax return.  In this case it would seem to be a data entry error.

Unless you paid *more* than half of your own support for the year, you can be a dependent.   You are not allowed to claim yourself even if your parents do not claim you.

See IRS Pub 17 Personal Exemptions - Your Own Exemption
<a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="https://www.irs.gov/publications/p17/ch03.html#en_US_2016_publink1000170848">https://www.irs.gov/pub...>

You can take one exemption for yourself unless you can be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer. If another taxpayer is entitled to claim you as a dependent, you can’t take an exemption for yourself even if the other taxpayer doesn't actually claim you as a dependent.

Your parents, if using TurboTax, probably gave a wrong answer to the "custody" questions that does not apply to married persons living together.  They should delete you as a dependent and re-enter paying close attention  to the questions.   Yiu should be a dependent, not a non-dependent.

[** only refers to this situation - there are cases such as a disabled child older than age 18 (or 23 if student) where non-dependt allows claiming the EIC beyond the normal cut off age, but that does not apply here]
**Disclaimer: This post is for discussion purposes only and is NOT tax advice. The author takes no responsibility for the accuracy of any information in this post.**
hyeji-kim0691
New Member

On parents' returns, I come up as "Nondependent - for EIC/dependent care only." As a college student, can I file myself as an independent if I supported myself in 2017?

Thank you for your answer!
Coleen3
Intuit Alumni

On parents' returns, I come up as "Nondependent - for EIC/dependent care only." As a college student, can I file myself as an independent if I supported myself in 2017?

The issue here is dependency. If you are a qualifying child for them, your would have had to meet all the qualifications. If you supported yourself, or even paid over half of your own support, you are not a qualifying child. A non-dependent that you describe is when divorced or separated parents split the benefits of a child. The custodial parent claims one set of benefits that they are entitled to and the noncustodial parent claims the benefits they are entitled to. None of this applies to you.

Bottom line is, you are not a dependent and they are not eligible for any benefits for a qualifying child.

In general, to be a taxpayer’s qualifying child, a person must satisfy four tests:

Relationship — the taxpayer’s child or stepchild (whether by blood or adoption), foster child, sibling or step-sibling, or a descendant of one of these.

Residence — has the same principal residence as the taxpayer for more than half the tax year. Exceptions apply, in certain cases, for children of divorced or separated parents, kidnapped children, temporary absences, and for children who were born or died during the year.

Age — must be under the age of 19 at the end of the tax year, or under the age of 24 if a full-time student for at least five months of the year, or be permanently and totally disabled at any time during the year.

Support — did not provide more than one-half of his/her own support for the year.

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hyeji-kim0691
New Member

On parents' returns, I come up as "Nondependent - for EIC/dependent care only." As a college student, can I file myself as an independent if I supported myself in 2017?

Thank you for your answer! In this case, I am confused why TurboTax would automatically list me as a "nondependent - for EIC/dependent care only" on their tax return based on their answers. Should they not say that they lived with me for "the whole year"? This question and one about providing more than half the support were the two questions that they answered regarding my dependency status and it resulted in the system labeling me as "nondependent - for EIC/dependent care only."
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