Claiming the income of dependents
I legally became the guardian of my niece and nephew in August of 2006. They have lived with me since July 2, 2006. They both collect Social Security Survivors benefits, which come in my name for them. My question is: Do I have to include them on my taxes? I file as head of household and have another dependent. My income was $36,000. Thanks!
I believe your concern has to do more with their income rather than
if they qualify as your dependents. A child's income is his or her
own, and is not the income of the person who claims the child as
a dependent. Children with gross incomes that exceed certain amounts
and types are required to file separate tax returns and pay their
Table 2 of Publication
501 explains, on Page 3, the filing requirements for dependents.
It is the parents' or guardian's responsibility and liability to
make sure that the child files and pays his or her taxes.
If the only income that your niece
and nephew have is from Social Security benefits, they will not be required to
file and, whether or not you can claim them as dependents, their income does not
go on your tax return.
In order to claim your niece and nephew as your dependents
for 2006, they have to be considered your qualifying children or
|There are five tests that must be
met for a child to be your qualifying child.
|5 tests for claiming
||Special test for qualifying
The residency test requires that the child live with
you for more than half the year. Since you are just a few days'
short of this test, the other tests do not matter and your niece
and nephew would not be qualifying children for 2006 but could be
Under the qualifying relative test, you can claim
the niece and nephew as dependents even though they did not live
with you for more than half the year if you provided more than half
their support for the year. Total support includes amounts spent
to provide food, lodging, clothing, education, medical and dental
care, recreation, transportation, and similar necessities. You determine
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
This includes support the person provided from his
or her own funds, such as the Social Security benefits. A person's
own funds are not support unless they are actually spent for support.
For example, if you saved their support in a separate account for
them, then it would not be counted as funds provided by them for
You should consult an accountant to see if they can be considered
your dependents in 2006.
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