Question

Can I claim someone as a dependent who’s never lived with me?

Answer

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.

Related Topics

Related Resources

Taxes Get Personal: What’s Your Filing Status?

Do you know what your tax filing status is? Learn how to determine and check your tax filing status with H&R Block.

What Is a CPA or Certified Public Accountant?

What is a CPA, and how can one help you with preparing your taxes? Understand the role of a certified public accountant with the experts at H&R Block.

How Does Changing Jobs Affect Your Tax Return?

Changing jobs can come with tax implications like job search and moving expense deductions. Learn more about these potential benefits at H&R Block.

What Are H&R Block’s Prices?

Trying to determine the cost of tax preparation or H&R Block’s prices? Find out why there is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to tax prep.