Head of Household and dependent child wage limit

Based on my review of IRS Publication regarding Head of Household it seems like I can use this filing status even though my dependent earned more than the wage limit - Turbo Tax does not seem to include this logic. Said another way when the dependent is a child in your home and you meet the support criteria the dependents income limit does not apply - however the dependent must check the check box that they are a dependent on another persons tax return. I saw a similar question on the Turbo Tax Community and reply said sorry no you can not claim the dependent due to the wages being in excess of $3800 (or what ever that limit is) - I don't think this is accurate when ones filing status is Head of Household based on IRS Publication 501


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You must be claiming the child as a dependent in order to claim head of household (see exception below*).

There are two types of dependants, "Qualifying Children"(QC) and other ("Qualifying Relative" in IRS parlance even though they don't have to actually be related). There is no income limit for a QC but there is an age limit. Only a QC qualifies you for the Earned Income Credit. They are interrelated  but the rules are different for each.

A child of a taxpayer can still be a “Qualifying Child” (QC) dependent, regardless of his/her income, if:

1. He is under age 19, or under 24 if a full time student for at least 5 months of the year, or is totally & permanently disabled

2. He did not provide more than 1/2 his own support

3. He lived with the parent (or was away at school) for more than half the year

If those three rules are not met, then the $3800 income test comes into play.

*If you are the custodial parent and this year the non-custodial parent is claiming the child as a dependent, that child still qualifies you for head of household even though he is not your dependent, because he lives with you.

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