Money Matters
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Dependent to Parents?

The only income DH and I had last year was $2,300 that I made, technically self-employed (I have a 1099-MISC). At one point, DH's parents talked about claiming him as a dependent, since he is young enough and didn't earn any income last year.

But...when I filled out my taxes with an e-file program and said that his parents were claiming him, it told me I owed $220, which is almost 10% of our teeny tiny income. When I changed it to say that he wasn't being claimed, it dropped our amount owed to $21.

I don't know if his parents have already done their taxes or what they did about claiming him - what will happen if we both claim him? 

Re: Dependent to Parents?

  • If you both claim him, you will both get a letter from the IRS stating that there is a discrepancy and you must decide on whose return he is claimed.  One of you will have to amend to remove him as a dependent.
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  • One of the tests to being a qualifying child is that the child cannot file a joint tax return (unless it is only filed to claim a refund and since you are not in a refund situation this does not apply). 

    So if you file a joint return and take the exemption for both of you, you and his parents will most likely both get notices.  The onus is on the taxpayer to prove their position at that point, and you have the law on your side.

    I don't know if that conversation with your in laws is worth $200 though.

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