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What are the requirements to claim a qualifying child as a dependent?

There are really four different requirements that the child must meet in order to qualify as a dependent. The four requirements include the relationship test, age test, principal residence test, and self-supporting test:

1) Relationship test: In order for a taxpayer to claim a child as a dependent, the taxpayer must have a specific relationship with the child. The child must be either the taxpayer’s son, daughter, stepson, stepdaughter, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or a descendent of any of the above mentioned.

2) Age test: The age test is one of the requirements that must be met in order for a taxpayer to claim the child as a dependent. The child must be either be 19 years old or younger if they are not a full-time student. If the are a full-time student, the child can be up to 24 years old. There is no age limit if the child is “permanently and totally disabled”.

3) Principal residence test: This requirement basically says that the child must live with the taxpayer for at least 50% of the year. That means that the taxpayer and the child must be roommates for at least 6 months of the year. There is no requirement that the 6 months must be consecutive.

4) Self-supporting test: This is one of the requirements that a child must pass in order to qualify as a dependent for the taxpayer. It basically says that the taxpayer must pay for 50% or more of the child’s living expenses. If the taxpayer does not cover more than 50% of the child’s expenses, then the taxpayer cannot claim the child as a dependent.


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