There is lots of rules that you need to be familiar with when filing your income taxes in order to get the most amount of deductions and tax credits possible. Often when people are filling out their income taxes, they become confused on what constitutes eligibility, or worst, they never realized that there was a deduction or a tax credit for certain circumstances. Age limits for claiming dependent, especially children is just one of the many things that can be confusing for taxpayers. Especially if you are one of those parents whose children will never leave no matter what age they may be, or they haven’t got their life together just quite yet so that they can. I jest, however, there are certain situations where you have children of different age ranges, and relatives that have depended on you for their support. Does this affect your tax liability?

Claiming Dependents: Child or Relative?

Well it does have a positive affect on different tax credits and deductions if four different test are passed pertaining to eligibility. To claim tax credits for dependents, the dependents have to be a qualifying child or relative, and they have to pass the dependent taxpayer test. Furthermore, the dependents have to be a citizen or resident, and they have to pass the joint return test. There are a few other additional rules, however, we will address the first four here next.

Claiming Dependents as Qualifying Children


To claim tax credits for a qualifying child, four situations must exist. These include relationship, residence, age, and support. To be eligible they must be a child, stepchild, adopted or foster child, sibling, stepsibling, or a descendent of one of these to determine relationship status. There are some special rules for claiming credits just for adopted children. In order to claim adopted children from another country, they need to be a U.S. citizen by the end of the tax year. To be considered a resident the child must live with the person that is going to claim them for more than half of the year. Age limit for claiming dependents apply to those individuals that remain under 19 years of age by the year end. To claim dependents that are older than 19, those dependents must be under the age of 24 and they must be attending an institution of higher learning and they must have done so for at least 5 month out of the year. Individuals that are completely and totally disabled, physically or mentally, are considered to be an eligible dependent regardless of age. To qualify, dependents must be a United States citizen, and if they are married, they shouldn’t have file a joint return unless for the purpose of a refund without tax liability. Lastly, they cannot claim that they provided more than one half of their own support during the year. If these terms are met they are considered a qualified child.

Claiming Dependents as Qualifying Relatives

To be considered a qualifying relative these five dependency test have to be met. These test include the relationship to the taxpayer. There should be some sort of relationship between the taxpayer and dependent such as relative or friend. The amount of gross income that they have earned during the past year, and who was responsible for over half of their support are all stipulations that are part of the dependency test they have to meet. Whether or not they can file a tax return, or if they did file a joint return for purposes other than a refund are also determining factors. Coupled with that fact, they cannot claim any dependents on their on tax return. Furthermore, they cannot be a qualifying child of another tax payer. Lastly, they must be a U.S. citizen, and they must have lived with you for more than over half of the year. These people are considered a qualifying relative, and they can be claimed as a tax credit when you file. There are no age limits for claiming dependents that are qualifying relatives. A person in your household that does meet the stipulations to be considered a qualifying child might meet the criteria to be considered a qualifying relative. You can claim up to $3,650 for a qualifying relative.

If you are going to claim tax credits do your research. Understanding tax laws can be difficult sometimes plus they are always changing. The Internal Revenue has a website that goes into extensive detail about what is and is not allowed. Take the time to look over sections that you think may apply to you. Even if you don’t understand the explanation, you can be made aware of circumstances that pertain to you so that you are armed with the right information to ask your tax preparer questions. You may find that these credits do apply to your household making you eligible for that deduction. Furthermore, age limit for claiming dependents varies with the different tax credits that you can receive. There are many credits and deduction that may apply to you other than determining a qualifying child or a qualifying relative There is the Earned Income Credit, Childcare Credit, and Adoption Credit just to name a few. Due to the downturn of the economy more and more families are living together trying to survive under one roof. New laws are generated during times like this, so become informed on these changes. If you do your own taxes, there are many products on the market that can assist you with the changes as well.

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