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Support Test

The support test is used in testing for qualifying relative dependents. In general, for dependent exemption, the taxpayer must provide more than half the person's total support during the year to meet the support test. So, the question becomes what is the total support for someone?

What are the sources of income included in the support test?

For the purpose of the support test, all sources of income for support are included such as:

  • the person's own funds used for support (not just merely savings that have not been used)
  • tax exempt income used for support including:
    • social security benefits
    • welfare benefits
    • life insurance proceeds
    • Armed Forces dependency allotments
    • nontaxable pensions
    • tax exempt interest
  • savings, borrowed money used for support
  • support provided by the state such as food stamps and housing
What expenses are included in total support?

Total support include all expenses such as:

  • food
  • lodging
  • clothing
  • education
  • medical and dental care
  • recreation
  • transportation
  • similar necessities
  • furniture, appliances, cars and other capital expenses under certain circumstances
What are not included in the total support?
  • federal, state and local income taxes paid from own income
  • Social security and Medicare taxes paid with own income
  • Life insurance premiums
  • Funeral expenses
  • Scholarships (if full time student)
  • Survivor's and Dependents' educational Assistance payment for support of the child who receives them.