Tax Law (Questions About Taxes)/claiming dependants


QUESTION: I want to claim my 26 year old son and 5 year old granddaughter as dependents on my 2012 federal taxes.  My son lived with me all of 2012 and had no income.  He has shared parenting with his ex wife.  He is allowed to claim his daughter on even years for tax purposes per his divorce decree and has told me to claim his daughter.  My granddaughter lived with me 1/2 of 2012 (actually more).  Her mother worked briefly during 2012 and I do not believe she earned more than 3700.00.  Can i legally claim both as dependents.  I file head of household.


Your son at age 26 does not meet the test as set forth by the IRS as a dependent.  A child who is over 18 and under the age of 24 must be enrolled in and attending college full time.  Your granddaughter could be considered as a dependent however her dependency is governed by a court order and unless you are part of that court order I could not recommend that you claim her as a dependent.

She lived with you half the year but did you pay half of her expenses.  The expenses not only food clothing and shelter but including medical care.  If she is on government medical care it will be difficult for you to prove that you spent enough to over come that burden to claim her as a dependent on your return.

However, without looking at all the documentation and interpreting IRS rulings, I can not recommend either way on either of the situations.


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QUESTION: Would they meet the qualifications for qualifying relative...Yes I did pay for her clothing, shelter, preschool tuition, food although her medical care is through government.
 I am thinking of talking with her mother and see if she would be opposed to me claiming her.
Would appreciate your input.  My son cannot file taxes since he had no he just goes unclaimed?


Your son could be considered a qualifying relative and you could be considered as a qualifying grand parent.  However, before I made that decision I would go to and read all the requirements IRS use to define dependents. Keep in mind that each parent is presumed to be the one to claim a dependent not the grand parent or other relative.  If social services are involved with your grand daughter's upkeep then it becomes more difficult for a non parent to claim a child as a dependent.

I wish I could give you a definite answer but I do not access to any of the information from you that I need to give that answer.  It is possible for you to claim them both BUT each would have to meet the test and you have documented proof in your file to with stand any IRS audit.  For if you make the deduction and the IRS later rules otherwise the penalty is harsh.


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John L. Tidwell


Unemployment tax law both state and federal; determination of employer employee relationship; the usual 20 commonlaw factors for making that determination; and what makes me a liable employer.


Over 20 years of field audit experience with a state agency



Degree in Accounting from Falls Business College

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