Can You Claim your Adult Child as a Dependent on your Tax Return?

It is more and more common for children who have graduated from high school to continue to live at home. This is true for a variety of reasons. It could be that your adult child is living at home but taking college or trade school classes. Or, an adult child has medically dependent needs. The question is, as a parent, when can you claim your adult child as a dependent on your taxes to get an exemption for them?

Can You Claim your Adult Child as a Dependent on your Tax Return? | #taxes

Since each exemption is worth up to $4,050 for the 2017 tax year, it is important to know whether or not you can make an adult-child claim.

The IRS has very specific requirements on how and when you can claim an adult child as a dependent.

When to Claim an Adult Child as a Dependent

Claiming an Adult Child Who is Under Age 19

The last day of a tax year is December 31st. So if your child has not yet turned 19 on or before the last day of the tax year you can claim them as a dependent and get an exemption.

Claiming an Adult Child Who is Under Age 24 AND a Full-Time Student

If your child is 19 but has not yet turned 24, and has been a full-time student during some part of any five months of the taxable calendar year, you can also claim them as a dependent and get an exemption.

The IRS guidelines state that being a full-time student means they must be one of the following:

  • At a school that has a regular teaching staff, course of study, and a regularly enrolled student body at the school
  • A student taking a full-time, on-farm training course given by such a school or by a state, county, or local government agency

Claiming an Adult Child Who is Disabled

There is no age limit to claiming your child as a dependent if they are “permanently and totally disabled.” This is the IRS wording that means the following conditions are met (from the IRS code):

  • Your child “cannot engage in any substantial gainful activity because of a physical or mental condition.”
  • A doctor has determined that “the condition has lasted or can be expected to last continuously for at least a year or can lead to death.

Other Requirements

In order to meet any of these conditions, your child must also:

  • Have lived with you for more than half of the year (this can include time away at college, if your home is still the permanent address)
  • Provide less than half of their own support (you must provide more than half)
  • Not claim any dependents of their own
  • Be a U.S. citizen, a national or resident alien of the United States, or a resident of Canada or Mexico

While there are no limits on what income your child earns or their marital status, there are special requirements about how they file their taxes to ensure that you can still claim them as a dependent.

Do you have questions about how to handle your teens and young adult children on your taxes? Contact us today to schedule your appointment. Email or call 740-374-6942, or simply fill in the form below.

This information is not intended as legal or tax advice. Cowdery Tax and its representatives does not offer legal or tax advice. We offer services for business bookkeeping, payroll, tax payments, and personal tax filings. We share information that is publicly available. Tax laws may change with or without notice that may alter or change the information contained in this publication.