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Tax Guide, Dependents
Qualifying Relative Test

Qualifying Relative

Age:   Unlike a qualifying child, a qualifying relative can be any age.

Four tests must be met for a person to be your qualifying relative. The four tests are:

  1. Not a qualifying child test,

  2. Member of household or relationship test,

  3. Gross income test, and

  4. Support test.

1.  Not a Qualifying Child Test

A child isn't your qualifying relative if the child is your qualifying child or the qualifying child of any other taxpayer.

2.  Member of Household or Relationship Test

To meet this test, a person must either:

  1. Live with you all year as a member of your household, or

  2. Be related to you in one of these ways

  • Your child, stepchild, foster child, or a descendant of any of them (for example, your grandchild). (A legally adopted child is considered your child.)

  • Your brother, sister, half brother, half sister, stepbrother, or stepsister.

  • Your father, mother, grandparent, or other direct ancestor, but not foster parent.

  • Your stepfather or stepmother.

  • A son or daughter of your brother or sister.

  • A son or daughter of your half brother or half sister.

  • A brother or sister of your father or mother.

  • Your son-in-law, daughter-in-law, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law.

Any of these relationships that were established by marriage aren't ended by death or divorce.

If you file a joint return, the person can be related to either you or your spouse. Also, the person doesn't need to be related to the spouse who provides support.

A person is considered to live with you as a member of your household during periods of time when one of you, or both, are temporarily absent due to special circumstances such as:  Illness, education, business, vacation, military service or detention in a juvenile facility.  If the person is placed in a nursing home for an indefinite period of time to receive constant medical care, the absence may be considered temporary.

Death or birth.  A person who died during the year, but lived with you as a member of your household until death, will meet this test. The same is true for a child who was born during the year and lived with you as a member of your household for the rest of the year. The test is also met if a child lived with you as a member of your household except for any required hospital stay following birth.

3.  Gross Income Test

To meet this test, a person's gross income for the year must be less than $4,050.

Gross income is all income in the form of money, property, and services that isn't exempt from tax.  Gross receipts from rental property are gross income. Don't deduct taxes, repairs, or other expenses to determine the gross income from rental property.   Gross income includes a partner's share of the gross (not net) partnership income.   Gross income also includes all taxable unemployment compensation, taxable social security benefits, and certain scholarship and fellowship grants. Scholarships received by degree candidates and used for tuition, fees, supplies, books, and equipment required for particular courses generally aren't included in gross income. For more information about scholarships, see chapter 1 of Pub. 970.

4.  Support Test

To meet this test, you generally must provide more than half of a person's total support during the calendar year.

However, if two or more persons provide support, but no one person provides more than half of a person's total support, see Multiple Support Agreement .

You figure whether you have provided more than half of a person's total support by comparing the amount you contributed to that person's support with the entire amount of support that person received from all sources. This includes support the person provided from his or her own funds.

To figure if you provided more than half of a person's support, you must first determine the total support provided for that person. Total support includes amounts spent to provide food, lodging, clothing, education, medical and dental care, recreation, transportation, and similar necessities.

Generally, the amount of an item of support is the amount of the expense incurred in providing that item. For lodging, the amount of support is the fair rental value of the lodging.

Expenses not directly related to any one member of a household, such as the cost of food for the household, must be divided among the members of the household.

The total fair rental value of a person's home that he or she owns is considered support contributed by that person.

For examples and additional information, please refer to IRS Publication 501