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How Long Can You Claim a Child as a Dependent?

How Long Can You Claim a Child as a Dependent?

Claiming your child as a dependent can provide significant financial benefits, including tax credits and deductions. However, as your children grow older and start to become financially independent, you may be wondering how long you can continue to claim them as a dependent.

Age Restrictions

In general, you can claim your child as a dependent on your tax return if they are under the age of 19 or under the age of 24 if they are a full-time student. However, if your child is permanently and totally disabled, they can be claimed as a dependent regardless of their age.

 

Income Restrictions

If your child earns more than a certain amount of income each year, you may not be able to claim them as a dependent. For tax year 2021, the threshold is $4,300 for dependents who are not married and do not file a joint tax return.

Other Tests

There are additional tests that must be met in order to claim your child as a dependent, including the support test and the relationship test. The support test is used to determine whether you provide more than half of your child’s financial support, while the relationship test is used to ensure that your child is related to you in certain ways, such as being your biological or adopted child.

Gradual Independence

As your child becomes more financially independent, it may become more difficult to claim them as a dependent on your tax return. For example, if your child gets a full-time job and starts to earn more than the income threshold, you may no longer be able to claim them as a dependent. However, if your child is still a full-time student and does not earn more than the income threshold, you can continue to claim them as a dependent until they turn 24.

In Conclusion

Claiming your child as a dependent can provide significant financial benefits, but there are restrictions that must be met in order to do so. As your child grows up and starts to become financially independent, it’s important to understand the rules around claiming them as a dependent and to adjust your tax strategy accordingly. If you’re unsure about whether you can claim your child as a dependent, consider consulting with a tax professional.


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