Question Hello John,
I hope youíre able to sort this out for me, I live in Texas and I file Married Jointly and take the standard deduction my wife doesnít work. My question is can I claim my brother-in-law as a dependent (my wifeís brother), heís around 46 years old and a convicted felon. He is living in a house that I own and furnish while my wife and son and I are living with my 85 year old father in my fatherís house so that we can take care of him. My brother-in-law has not filed an income tax return for years. I know for a fact that this past year he has not had a job, other than odd jobs that he gets paid in cash and he hasnít made more than $1000 or way less cash this whole year. I pay the mortgage on the house the electric bill, water bill, cable bill, and trash pickup, everything that goes along with owning a house. We even help him out with food sometimes plus he drives a vehicle I own. All that being said I pay way more than 50% of his expenses so that he can live somewhere and in return he doesnít pay me a dime. I think I should be able to claim him as a dependent but what Iím worried about is his past. I know he owes student loans has medical bills in the thousands and no telling who else he owes, for all I know he may owe the IRS money. Iím expecting a pretty large return this year, but Iím afraid my return will be garnished if I claim him as a dependent. Is there anything the IRS or anyone else can take from me or punish him for if I claim him as a dependent?
Thanks for your question.
You can claim him as a depending if his gross income is under $3,950. Your refund can't be garnished, that only happens with wages and salaries. It is unlikely that your refund could be taken to satisfy his debts - they are not supposed to, but you never know what happens. Additionally, since he had not filed in years, your claiming him as a dependent could raise some flags with a 46 year old suddenly being claimed as a dependent and not filing returns.
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 www.mybaldcpa.com. I also offer seminars and consultations to churches and clergy on their tax issues at www.churchtaxsolutions.com
Also visit my blog, www.thetaxdocspot.com. I am listed on Tax Connections at https://www.taxconnections.com/profile/John-Stancil/12258973
Prepare and file your own taxes at www.1040stancilcpa.com
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.
Organizations FICPA, NATP, NCPE Fellowship, Lakeland Business Leaders
Publications The CPA Journal, Florida CPA Today, Green Consumer, Green Business, Global Sustainability as a Business Imperative, Palmetto Review, NATP TaxPro Quarterly, Mustang Journal of Finance and Accounting.
Education/Credentials DBA University of Memphis
MBA University of Georgia
BS in Accounting Mars Hill University