Can I claim someone as a dependent who's never lived with me?
Yes. The person doesn't have to live with you in order to qualify as your dependent on taxes. However, the person must be a relative who meets one of the following relationship test requirements:
- Your child, grandchild, or great-grandchild
- Your legally adopted dependent
- Your stepchild, stepbrother, or stepsister
- Your brother, sister, half brother, or half sister
- Your parent or other direct ancestor, but not a foster parent
- Your stepfather or stepmother
- Your parent's brother or sister
- Your brother's or sister's child
- Your mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, son-in-law, or daughter-in-law
There are additional rules for the person to qualify as your dependent. To qualify as one of your dependents, all of these must be true:
- The person must not be the qualifying child of any other taxpayer.
- The person must have gross income less than $4,050 for the year.
- You must provide more than half of the person's total support for the year. The person must be one of these:
- U.S. citizen
- U.S. national
- Resident of the United States, Canada, or Mexico
- The person must not file a joint return unless he or she is only filing to claim a refund of estimated taxes or income taxes withheld. Also, there would be no tax liability for either the person or the person's spouse if filing separate returns.
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