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For most of this year (since February of 2013) my brother- and sister-in-law have been living with my wife and me. I own my home if that matters.

They moved from Alabama to Wisconsin for better opportunity. I told them they didn't have to pay rent until they were both working. Unfortunately, they're still not fully employed. I cover most of their food and bills, and all of their rent.

Can I somehow claim them as a dependent or a deduction on my Federal income taxes?

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    The Internal Revenue Service provides very specific rules for determining when a person can be claimed as a dependent. Have you tried looking at these? Try, for example, Publication 17 Your Federal Income Tax or this link – Dilip Sarwate Aug 20 '13 at 19:10
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Yes, you can.

If they are:

  • United States Residents/Citizens
  • Live with you for the whole year or are part of your family (in-laws count)
  • Their gross income is less than $3800
  • And you provide more than half of their support during the calendar year

Then they're qualified relatives and can be claimed as dependents. See the IRS link for more details.

However pay attention: the gross income test and the support test are for the whole year. You cannot claim "partial" dependency. You can only claim them as dependents if the situation you've described continues throughout the whole year, and they have no other income other than your support.

Talk to a tax adviser for a proper advice. I'm not a tax adviser.

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    OP remarked "not fully employed," so if they had part time income above $3800, they can't be claimed, correct? – JoeTaxpayer Aug 20 '13 at 20:28
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    @Joe that's correct. – littleadv Aug 20 '13 at 20:38

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