Tax Law (Questions About Taxes)/Reporting scholarships


Part of my son's scholarship is taxable, but he is not required to file a tax return because he qualifies under the "five tests" for exemption for dependents in Pub. 501.  Is he still required to file a tax return since part of his scholarship is taxable?


Thanks for your question.

You area confusing two issues.  The "five tests" criteria is the test to determine if he is a qualifying child that allows you to take a dependency exemption for him. This is totally unrelated to whether or not he must file a return.

As a qualifying child, he will not take his own personal exemption if he files.  For 2012, he must file if his unearned income was more than $950 or if his earned income was more than $5,950. A taxable scholarship is considered earned income.  

If he meets this filing threshold he must file; if not, he does not need to file a return.

Hope this helps.

John Stancil, CPA

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John Stancil, CPA


I can answer questions on personal income taxes, partnerships, and some corporate income taxes. I can deal with some state tax questions. Limited gift and estate tax questions. I am also familiar with ministerial and church tax reporting issues. I am Professor Emeritus at Florida Southern College. Sales taxes and property taxes are state and local issues so I am not likely be be able to give you an in depth answer on those types of taxes. I have maintained a CPA practice, specializing in tax, for over 35 years. I am a member of the National Association of Tax Professionals, The Florida Insititute of CPA's, The NCPE Fellowship. In addition I am a Certified Mentor for SCORE. Visit my website at I also offer seminars and consultations to churches and clergy on their tax issues at Also visit my blog, I am listed on Tax Connections at Prepare and file your own taxes at


I hold a doctorate in Accounting, and am a CPA. My certifications of CIA, CFM, and CMA are inactive. I passed all certification examinations on the first attempt, and received honorable mention for my scores on the CIA exam. I have operated a CPA firm for over 37 years and have taught accounting and tax at the college level for over 35 years.

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