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Can You Claim Parents as Dependents?

what all you can claim on your taxes

Find out if your elderly parent meets the requirements to be claimed as a dependent on your tax return

Everyone knows that claiming a dependent on your income tax return can get you a significantly larger refund. For every dependent you claim on your 2012 taxes you can claim an extra personal exemption. That’s $3,800 you can deduct from your income, thus reducing your tax burden.

But who exactly can you claim? Do elderly parents qualify?

When it comes to taxes there are actually two different types of dependents: qualifying children and qualifying relatives.

Obviously, you can’t claim your parents as qualifying children. So the question becomes, do they meet the requirements for qualifying relatives?

In order to claim someone as a qualifying relative they must

  • Have lived with you all year as a member of your household, or be one of the following family members: child, parent, sibling, stepparent, stepchild, stepsibling, half sibling, grandparent, grandchild, child-in-law, parent-in-law, sibling-in-law, uncle, aunt, niece, or nephew
  • Be a U.S. citizen or resident, or a resident of Canada or Mexico
  • Be unmarried, or married but not filing a joint return
  • Not be a qualifying child of you or someone else
  • Have

    a gross income of less than $3,800

  • Have more than half of their total support for the year provided by you

In plain English, this means that yes you can claim a parent as a dependent but they have to meet the above requirements.

Your parent doesn’t have to live with you in order for you to claim them, but you do need to support them. And they can’t have more than $3,800 in gross income for that year. As a general rule Social Security benefits are not included in gross income, but sometimes they are. Be sure to make sure they are tax-exempt, because this could determine your eligibility to claim them as a dependent.

When determining if you provided over half of their total support, be sure to consider lodging, food expenses, utilities, repairs, household expenses, clothing, education, medical and dental expenses, travel and recreation expenses, etc.

If you support a parent who meets all of the requirements listed above be sure to claim them when you file free taxes online .

This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 6th, 2013 at 3:26 pm and is filed under Tax Tips .

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