My son a qualifying child for tax purposes
Dear Tax Talk,
My son turned 24 last year. Since he is a full-time college student, can I claim him as a dependent? He had income from a part-time job, but I was his main source of income. Is he a qualifying child?
Although you'd be better off if he graduated, if he still hasn't found himself, Uncle Sam is willing to cut you a break. There are basically two types of dependents: a qualifying child and a qualifying relative. A qualifying child includes your children or siblings (including step, half or foster) or a descendant of any of them. A qualifying child must be younger than age 19 at the end of the year or younger than 24 and a full-time student. Since your son has already turned 24, he is no longer considered a qualifying child. However, he may still be a qualifying relative.
As a qualifying relative, your child can be older than 24 and still be claimed as your dependent. However, the key difference between the two tests is that a qualifying relative cannot have more than $3,800 in gross income in 2012. If your son's part-time earnings were less than that, you can claim him as a qualifying relative as you are his main source of support. Also, your son does not have to live with you.
Ask the adviser
To ask a question on Tax Talk, go to the "Ask the Experts" page and select "Taxes" as the topic. Read more Tax Talk columns.
To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that any U.S. federal tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein. Taxpayers should seek professional advice based on their particular circumstances.