If my 21-yr-old daughter lived at home (and I provided more than half of her support) until her wedding in late August of last year, can't I still claim her as a dependent of some sort?

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    What country are you in, as it certainly makes a difference in tax law? – sdg Apr 3 '10 at 19:19

I'm going to assume your question pertains to the United States. (Odds are good, I think.)

What I've determined is: I can't answer yes/no based on the limited information above, and my findings.

But, do refer to the criteria below which I found at IRS.gov - A "Qualifying Child" to determine if your daughter still qualifies for your tax return last year. Here are some of the salient points, with my emphasis added where I think you need to pay particular attention:

In general, to be a taxpayer’s qualifying child, a person must satisfy four tests:

  • Relationship — the taxpayer's child or stepchild (whether by blood or adoption), foster child, sibling or stepsibling, or a descendant of one of these.
  • Residence — has the same principal residence as the taxpayer for more than half the tax year. Exceptions apply, in certain cases, for children of divorced or separated parents, kidnapped children, temporary absences, and for children who were born or died during the year.
  • Age — must be under the age of 19 at the end of the tax year, or under the age of 24 if a full-time student for at least five months of the year, or be permanently and totally disabled at any time during the year.
  • Support — did not provide more than one-half of his/her own support for the year.

Additional Rules

While the four qualifying child tests generally apply for the five tax benefits noted above, there are some additions or variations for particular provisions:

Dependent — a qualifying child must also meet these tests:

  • Nationality — be a U.S. citizen or national, or a resident of the U.S., Canada or Mexico. There is an exception for certain adopted children.
  • Marital status — if married, did not file a joint return for that year, unless the return is filed only as a claim for refund and no tax liability would exist for either spouse if they had filed separate returns.

So, I think you're OK on the half-year criteria, since you mentioned your daughter got married in August. But, you'll need to determine if she meets the age requirement (e.g. if still a full-time student, then yes), as well as what kind of tax return your daughter would/will have filed for last year.

This part of IRS publication 501 goes into more (excruciating) detail and is likely more definitive/current than above, though IRS.gov is the source of each. Your situation ought to be straight-forward, but if you have difficulty interpreting Publication 501 as it applies to you, please consider consulting a tax professional. Special life-events often make filing income taxes more complicated than usual.

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