Can my boyfriend claim me & my kids as dependants if I am married/separated & receive SSDI? I have sole custody.

My boyfriend and I have lived together for a year, he is employed full time and pays for most of our bills. Would he be able to receive the child tax credit or earned income credit and claim us as dependants?

Answer

There are two types of dependents, "qualifying child" and "qualifying relative".  Qualifying relative is sometimes also called "other dependent."  Because you are not related by blood or marriage to your boyfriend, you and your children can't be qualifying child dependents.

You could be qualifying relative dependents.  The rules are the same for you and your children. Your boyfriend can claim you as a qualifying relative dependent if you lived with him all year, you have less than $4150 of taxable income, and he paid more than half your financial support.  For the support calculation, your financial needs includes 1/4 his rent, utilities and household food, plus your personal costs for travel, clothing, entertainment, medical care, and so on.  Against support he provides (the value of free housing, food, and money) you need to count SSDI, alimony, and other state support as support not provided by him.  If he paid more than half the total, he can claim you.

Repeat the support analysis for each child.  Include any child support paid by the other parent as support not provided by the boyfriend.

Even if he can claim you and your children as qualifying relative dependents, that type of dependent is only worth a $500 tax credit, not $2000, and does not qualify him to claim head of household filing status or EIC.

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