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Columns: Tax Talk
George Saenz, CPA   Expert: George Saenz, CPA
Tax Talk
Son's rehab and support could be tax deductible
Tax Talk

Who qualifies as a dependent?

Dear Tax Talk:
I want to know if I can claim my son on my income tax for last year. My son was 24 last year and lived at home, but lived in a rehab center for six months. Can I claim the cost of his rehab, and also claim him as a dependent on my income tax, or neither?

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Dear Marj,
A dependent is a qualifying child or qualifying relative.

To be a qualifying child, the child must be under age 19 at the end of the year or under age 24 and a full-time student. A qualifying relative can include a child that has reached the age limits but is still economically dependent.

To be considered a qualifying relative, your son has to have gross income of less than $3,400, and you must have provided more than half of his total support. He does not have to live with you in order to be a qualifying relative.

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 that are 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.

You can deduct the amount of your medical and dental expenses that are more than 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income. You can only deduct the medical expenses for yourself, your spouse and your dependents. You can include in medical expenses amounts you pay for an inpatient's treatment at a therapeutic center for drug addiction. This includes meals and lodging at the center during treatment.

If your son's gross income is under the $3,400 limit and you provided more than half of his support, you can claim him as an exemption on your return and deduct the cost of his treatments.

Bankrate.com's corrections policy -- Posted: Jan. 31, 2008
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