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When You Can Claim Your Sibling as a Dependent04.11.14

In the spirit of National Siblings Day, we’re taking a look at when you can claim your brother or sister on your tax return. Here’s the low down:

  • If you are older than your brother or sister and the live with you, you may be able to claim them as a dependent child if  the following requirements are met:
    • They live with you for more than half the year
    • They are not filing a joint return
    • They are under 19 or if under 24 a full-time student for any part of 5 months during the year
    •  If they are permanently and totally disabled 
    • They don’t provide more than half their own support

    If you can claim your brother and sister under these circumstances, you may also be able to claim:

    • The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) if your income is below a certain amount.  If your taxes are low enough, you may be able to receive all or part of the credit in a refund
    • The $1,000 Child Tax Credits if they are under age 17.  If your taxes are low enough, you may be able to receive all or part of the credit in a refund
    • If you are paying child care for you sibling under age13 or who is disabled so you can work, you may be eligible for the credit for qualified Child and Dependent Care Expenses. This credit can reduce or eliminate your taxes, allowing more of the EITC or Child Tax Credits to be included in a refund.
    • You may be able to claim the Head of Household filing status if you are single and you also provided more than half the support of your household.
    • You may be able to claim an Education Credit or deduction if you are paying, or helping to pay for, their college or trade school tuition and fees.

    If your sibling is over 19 and not a student or disabled or over 24 and not disabled, you may still be able to claim them as a dependent relative if the following requirements are met:

    • Their gross taxable income is less than the standard deduction amount ($3,900 in 2013 and $3,950 in 2014) or;
    • They are disabled and their only income is from a sheltered workshop
    • You provided more than half the support of the household where they live.  If they live in a facility providing special care, the cost of living there is considered their household expenses
    • They aren’t married
    • They are U.S. citizens or residents or residents of Mexico or Canada for part of the year
    • No one else can claim them as a dependent child

    The benefits include:

    • You may be able to claim the Head of Household filing status if you are single and you also provided more than half the support of your household.
    • If you are paying child care for your disabled sibling so you can work, you may be eligible for the credit for qualified Child and Dependent Care
    • You may be able to claim an Education Credit or deduction if you are paying, or helping to pay for, their college or trade school tuition and fees.

If you still have questions, swing by your local Jackson Hewitt office and they’ll be happy to help!