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I completed 2 internship this year and my total income was roughly 24K. I had 7k or so withheld. I wrote checks to my parents:5k to contribute with the minimum to receive a mortgage loan required and 5k for repairs to the new house they purchased for the family and in which I will be living in as well. I have always been a dependent student but I'm not sure how my internship and my income shifted to my parents will affect my dependency status. Has anyone experienced this before?

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  • are you listed on the mortgage? Jan 6 '15 at 11:06
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For a full answer to this it's best to go direct to the horse's mouth (the Department of Education, that is)

dependent student question flow chart

What if I answered No to every question?

If so, then for federal student aid purposes, you’re considered to be a dependent student, and you must provide information about your parents on the FAFSA.

The most common rule for being a 'dependent' according to the federal government is generally "receiving more than half of support" from someone. If you pay more than half of your own expenses, you might not be properly considered a dependent - but that specific situation will need to be addressed with a tax attorney, Certified Public Accountant, and/or your college's Financial Aid office. Generally speaking, if your parents can claim you as a dependent on their taxes then you will be a dependent student on the FAFSA.

The $10k gift you cite is below the maximum allowed gift without it being taxable, so you are likely OK there (again, consult a real professional expert if you are unsure), but since it is for a mortgage/house and you are all filing taxes you need to make sure everything is properly reported and accounted for with the IRS especially.

As the FAFSA directly pulls from the IRS and can generally verify information with them, also make sure you don't say one thing on the FAFSA and tell the IRS something else. They'll notice and you'll get an audit on financial aid, from the IRS, or both - even if the discrepancy was correct (like having a different filing status on taxes than listed on the FAFSA).

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