One of the questions I get a lot is who is considered your dependent? Such a simple question, right?

But, of course not (as you may have guessed).

Even my eyes crossed at their many pages long answer. I’ll give you some basics: a “child” dependent can be your biological child, adoptive child, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or a descendant of any of those. They must be younger than you (and your spouse if filing jointly) and at the end of the year must be under 19 or 24 if a student or totally disabled.

They can qualify you for the Child Tax Credit or Credit for Other Dependents. He/she must have lived with you for over half the year, and you must have provided over half of their support. A “relative” dependent could be any of above who wasn’t a qualifying child. He/she could also be your mom, dad, aunt, uncle, in-laws, or anyone who lived with you the entire year as a member of the family.

He/she must have made less than $4,300 as well. Also remember, any of these dependents can only be claimed if they don’t qualify to be claimed on another taxpayer’s taxes. As you can expect, there are many factors that go into validating if someone is your dependent. You can answer the questions on pages 18-20 in the 1040 Instruction Booklet to help determine if someone is considered your dependent.

Remember, incorrectly claiming someone as your dependent can have repercussions, so getting it right the first time will save you time and money. As always, if you are unsure, please see a tax professional who can decipher who is and isn’t able to be claimed as your dependent.

Schedule your next tax appointment with Angie Love’s Taxes.