I am a 21 year old full time college student who pays all of my bills on my own and I'm confused on whether I can claim independent or not. I understand I fall under the dependent category BUT, my mother does not provide any financial support. I go to college out of state, live off campus (signed lease apt with a roommate) and all other expenses (rent, utilities, phone, transportation, food, and clothing) are paid for by me. All tuition that was NOT covered by scholarships and grants were paid for with federal student loans that are under my name. I should also note that I pay my rent in advance with my student loan refund money. I earned over $6,000 last year and money earned from work covers over expenses. Should I claim independent if my mother has claimed me for the past 3 years?
If you provided over half of your own support, then your mother is not eligible to claim you as a dependent and you will claim your personal exemption for yourself on your tax return. Please see the following rules for what qualifies a person as a dependent for more information:
There are 5 test that will qualify a child as a dependent as follows:
- Relationship: Must be your child, adopted child, foster-child, brother or sister, or a descendant of one of these(grand or nephew).
- Residence: Must have the same residence for more than half the year.
- Age: Must be under age 19 or under 24 and a full-time student for at least 5 months. They can be any age if they are totally and permanently disabled.
- Support: Must not have provided more than half of their own support during the year.
- Joint Support: The child cannot file a joint return for the year.
There are 4 tests that will qualify a relative as a dependent as follows:
- They are not the “qualifying child” of another taxpayer or your “qualifying child”.
- Gross Income: Dependent earns less than $4,000 in 2015.
- Total Support: You provide more than half of the total support for the year.
- Member of Household or Relationship: The person must live with you all year as a member of your household or be one of the relatives that doesn’t have to live with you see IRS Publication 501for a list of qualifying relatives.
Given the facts as you presented you don't seem to qualify as a dependent for your mother. You will find that claiming yourself will probably not give you any financial benefit, however, given the facts you presented. None of the AOC will be refundable.
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