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I just turned 19 so I'm a legal adult. I moved out of mothers due to neglect and abuse, but still remain somewhat friendly with her. However, she texted wanting to know if she could claim me on her tax returns. I roughly paid around 6K or 5,600 in taxes. But, I believe she's trying to claim me as a dependent even though I haven't lived with her for nearly two years.

She's using the excuse as that she would be able to give me more. So my question I guess is which way would it be beneficial? What happens if I claim myself and then she tries to claim me? Is it illegal for her to claim me when I'm an adult?

  • Are you a full time student? Has your mother given you any financial support this year? – Ben Miller Dec 24 '17 at 7:20
  • I am a full time student. No, not really, we hardly talk. – Porixify Dec 24 '17 at 7:21
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    "So my question I guess is which way would it be beneficial?" It's not a choice. Either she meets the legal requirements to be able to claim you or she doesn't, according to the facts. If she can claim you, you cannot get an exemption for yourself, even if she doesn't actually claim you. – user102008 Dec 24 '17 at 16:28
  • She said "she would be able to give me more", is she proposing to share with you (give you) an amount equal to what you would save if you claimed yourself? That sounds great, you would both win. You should have a bedroom in her house to stay there part time – Xen2050 Dec 25 '17 at 0:46
  • You might also want to look into FERPA which governs education records. If you're a dependant, she gains certain rights over your education. That might not be ideal in an abuse situation. – seanr Jan 13 '18 at 7:46
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There are very specific rules that govern whether or not a person qualifies as a dependent of another. You can learn about them on this IRS tutorial about dependents.

Based on what you've said in your question, I doubt she would be allowed to claim you as a dependent. Because you are a full time student you do meet the age test (under age 24), but you fail the support test, because you provide more than half of your own support.

Inform her that she cannot legally claim you as a dependent and that you intend to claim your own exemption. If she does claim you and you also claim yourself, the two of you will hear from the IRS, and when you explain the situation to them, your mother will owe additional tax.

  • There are a few cases in which you can claim yourself as independent, and your parents can still claim you, aka getting married, this was the case for me was i was a dependent for 70% of a year before getting married, when you get to legally bypass or override some of the rules and claim your self independent (usually this helps your status seeking student loans no longer under your parents income, but they still get to claim you for the year you just finished) – Himarm Dec 26 '17 at 9:09
  • If the mother deliberately incorrectly claims the OP as a dependant (tax fraud no?), and the OP is aware/acquiesces/attempts to benefit, then the OP will be liable to be prosecuted for conspiracy to commit fraud in the worst case? – Pete Dec 26 '17 at 20:25
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    @Pete I'm not sure what you are asking, but the OP is not responsible for what his mother claims on her tax form. All he can do is tell her that he is claiming the exemption for himself. If she then files incorrectly, she will have to answer to the IRS, not the OP. – Ben Miller Dec 26 '17 at 22:37
  • @BenMiller I confess IANAL, neither I am completely familiar with all the US laws. In was worried that if the OP knows in advance their mother is going to make a false claim, that could be construed as conspiracy. The statement "...she would be able to give me more" suggested to me that there would be some financial benefit given to the OP if they go along with scheme. – Pete Dec 26 '17 at 23:21
  • She was indeed trying to do something of the sort I believe. I just wanted to make sure that I wouldn't get in trouble. – Porixify Jan 13 '18 at 8:13
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If you have taxable income above the dependent deduction amount then she will not be able to claim you. In a case where perhaps you worked but your taxable income did not exceed the deduction amount, as was my case for a few years, then if you were legally her dependent then she could claim the deduction, if even a partial. If you are not her dependent I highly recommend not allowing her to claim you --- if you are going to college and trying to obtain federal funding it will severely limit your access to those funds.

  • Citation? You made no reference to the support test. – JoeTaxpayer Jan 5 '18 at 4:26

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