My children get state assistance and have earned income. Can I claim them as dependents?

You can usually claim your children as dependents even if they are dependents with income and no matter how much dependent income they may have or where it comes from. However, they must meet the following income test requirements:

  • Your children must be one of these:
    • Under age 19
    • Under age 24 and a full-time student
    • Permanently and totally disabled
  • Your children must have lived with you for more than half of the year. There are exceptions for temporary absences, like when your children are away at school.
  • Your children must not have provided more than half of their own support.

The support test looks at how much support your children provide for themselves. It considers who paid expenses like food, lodging, and medical. As long as your children didn't pay more than half of these expenses, you’ll meet the support test. It's not necessary that you paid these types of expenses, as long as your children didn't.

  • Your children must not use married filing jointly to file, unless they're only filing to claim a refund of income taxes withheld. Also, there would be no tax liability for either your child or your child’s spouse if filing separate returns.

If your children don't live with you more than half of the year, they might still qualify as your dependents under a different rule. In this case, the amount of their income and the amount of support you provide would be relevant.

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Calculators

So how much will you get (or owe) this year? That’s the million-dollar question. We happen to have three very useful calculators to help you estimate your refund or balance due.

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