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Qualifying Child Dependents

If you support your children, you may be able to claim them as qualifying child dependents according to the IRS rules. There are often new qualifying child rules for dependent tax exemption so you need to make sure that your children qualify for as follows. Before you test to see if a child is a qualifying child, you need to make sure that the child qualifies as a dependent. See IRS dependent exemption.

Tests for qualifying child dependents

There are five tests for qualifying child dependents which we will discuss below.

  1. Relationship test
  2. Age test
  3. Residency test
  4. Support test
  5. Special test for qualifying child or more than one person
Who can be a qualifying child dependent?

A qualifying child dependent must be:

  • your son or daughter (including adopted child)
  • your stepchild
  • your foster child
  • brother, sister, half brother, half sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or
  • descendant of any of them
How old must a qualifying child dependent be?

A qualifying child dependent must:

  • be 19 or younger at the end of the year OR
  • be under 24 if he or she is a full time student for at least 5 months OR
  • be permanently and totally disabled anytime during the year
Does the qualifying child dependent need to live with the person claiming him or her as a dependent?

A qualifying child dependent must live with the person claiming him or her for more than half the year. Temporary absences do not count as being absent.

How much support do I need to give the child for him or her to qualify as my qualifying child dependent?

The child is a qualifying child dependent if he or she has not provided more than half of his or her own support. The support can come from a variety of sources such as other relatives and the state or social security.

What if someone else can also claim the child as a qualifying child dependent?

If the same child meets all the rules to be a qualifying child dependent of more than one person, then you must be the person who is entitled to claim the child as a qualifying child by law. The child is the qualifying child of the following people in order (IRS tiebreaker rule):

  • his or her own parent
  • parent with whom the chid lived with the longer period of time during the year (if both are parents)
  • parents with higher adjusted gross income (AGI)
  • person with highest adjusted gross income or AGI
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