Question

Can I claim a family member who lives with me, but is not my child, as a nondependent for Earned Income Credit (EIC) purposes?

Answer

Maybe. You might be able to claim a family member who’s not your child or dependent.

To be your qualifying child for Earned Income Credit (EIC) purposes, the family member must:

  • Be either:
    • Under age 19 — or under age 24 if a full-time student for five months during the year — and be younger than you or your spouse if married filing jointly
    • Totally and permanently disabled, no matter what age
  • Live with you for more than half of the year. Temporary absences to attend school count as living with you if the student lives in your home when not at school.
  • Not file a joint return, unless that return is only to claim a refund
  • Not be claimed by anyone else for the EIC. If the child’s parents qualify to claim the child for the EIC, you can only claim the child if both of these apply:
    • The parents aren’t claiming the child.
    • Your adjusted gross income (AGI) is higher than the eligible parents’ AGI.

If neither of the child’s parents is eligible to claim the child, then your AGI doesn’t have to be higher. However, the child must still meet the other requirements to be your qualifying child.

Even if a family member isn’t your dependent, you can claim the person for EIC purposes if both of these apply:

  • The family member meets all the other requirements.
  • He or she is your:
    • Child
    • Stepchild
    • Foster child
    • Sibling
    • Step-sibling
    • Half-sibling
    • A descendent of any of these

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