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My 19-year-old son has already filed his 2019 tax return and checked the box that someone else can claim him as a dependent. He got a full refund because he didn't earn very much last year. He lived in my home the entire year and is dependent for room and board and drives my vehicle to get to work. etc. But he did not attend school in 2019 and is not disabled, so from what I understand, I can NOT claim him as a dependent.

I have not filed my 2019 return yet. I was originally planning on claiming him as a dependent, which would have resulted in a $500 credit for other dependents. If I can't claim him and he had not checked the box on his return, then my understanding is that he would qualify for a $1200 stimulus check.

So I have 2 questions:

  1. Can I claim him as a dependent?
  2. If not, and he amends his 2019 return, will he get a stimulus check?
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You said that your son is 19 years old, but was he 19 years old at the end of 2019? Assuming he was 19 at the end of 2019, and he was not a student nor disabled, he is not a "qualifying child". However, even if he is not a qualifying child, he would still be your dependent as a "qualifying relative" for 2019 if he had gross income of less than $4200 in 2019, and you provided more than half of his support in 2019.

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  • He made less than $4200 and was 19 at the end of the year. So if I understand correctly, he still needs to check someone else can claim you box. Is that correct? – DSway Jun 2 at 16:19
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    @DSway: yes, if you provided more than half of his support – user102008 Jun 3 at 4:39
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I have not filed my 2019 return yet. I was originally planning on claiming him as a dependent, which would have resulted in a $500 credit for other dependents. If I can't claim him and he had not checked the box on his return, then my understanding is that he would qualify for a $1200 stimulus check.

So if you can't claim him in 2019 he should amend his return. It could change his refund depending on his numbers.

Regarding the stimulus check. The check given this year is an advance on the 2020 tax credit. So if he was a dependent in 2019 neither of you will get a check for him this year. You won't get $500 because he is too old and he won't get $1200 because he was a dependent. Because you haven't filed for 2019 they used use your numbers from 2018 to determine your check amount.

If he isn't a dependent in 2020, then next April he will get a credit for the $1200 on his taxes, thus getting a larger refund. That of course doesn't help him if he needs the money now.

If he wasn't a dependent in 2019 then his amended return should trigger the US government to send a $1200 check to him. I say should because there have been problems getting the funds to some people. Also realize that he might have to supply banking information to the IRS to get a direct deposit. It is possible that he could get a paper check or a debit card.

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