Who Qualifies as a Dependent on Your Return?

This page is currently being updated for Tax Year 2020 Tax Returns due on April 15, 2021. The 2021 eFile Tax Season starts in January 2021. Sign up to the Tax Win Zone.

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If you're not sure if a particular person e.g. child, step child, sibling, nephew etc. might qualify on your tax return as a Dependent, the DEPENDucator tool below will provide your personal answer. Depending on your relationship with the person in question you might also want to use the RELucator tool. This tool will determine if a person is a Qualifying Relative. If a person is a qualifying relative, you can also claim this person as a dependent on your tax return.

After you used the DEPENDucator, and you are not sure what to do if a Dependent was claimed by an unqualified or ineligible taxpayer, e.g in the case of a divorce, separation, unmarried couples etc. Start the DEPENDucator below.

DEPENDucator Tool

DEPENDucator
Qualifying Child Dependent Educator

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Qualifying Child Dependent Educator
If you are the taxpayer, is this person your
Did the person live with you for more than 6 months of the Tax Year?
Was the person under age 19 by Dec. 31 of the tax year OR under 24 and a student OR any age and permanently disabled?
Did the person provide more than 50% of their own support during the tax year?
Are you, the taxpayer, the dependent of another taxpayer?
Is the person married and did they file a joint return with their spouse?
Is the person a U.S. Citizen, U.S. National, U.S. resident alien, or a resident of Canada or Mexico?
Based on your answers, this person is an IRS qualifying child and is your dependent. Continue to see which credits you might qualify for.

Does the person have SSN, ITIN, ATIN issued on or before the due date of your 2020 return?
Was the person 16 or younger on December 31 of the Tax Year?
Does the person have a SSN valid for employment issued on or before the due date of your 2020 return?
Based on your answers, this person is NOT a IRS Qualifying Child. You cannot claim them as a dependent unless they are a Qualifying Relative
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Based on your answers, you CANNOT claim the Child Tax Credit OR the Credit for Other Dependents for this person.
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Based on your answers, you CAN claim the Credit for Other Dependents for this person.
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Based on your answers, you CAN claim the Child Tax Credit for this person.
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Based on your answers, you CAN claim the Credit for Other Dependents for this person.
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The DEPENDucator Tax Tool will help you determine if someone is your Qualifying Child and your dependent. Just answer the "Yes" and "No" questions until the DEPENDucator provides you with an answer. Not only will the DEPENDucator tell you if you can claim someone as your dependent, it will also tell you if your dependent qualifies you for the Child Tax Credit or the new Credit for Other Dependents. Our DEPENDucator is a multi-year tool so you can use it for previous years’ tax returns as well! See all of the requirements for claiming a Qualifying Child as a dependent.

It's good to claim dependents on your tax return because they may qualify you for certain tax credits and/or a better filing status. Find out how to claim a dependent on your tax return.

If someone is NOT your Qualifying Child, you can still claim them as a dependent if they are your Qualifying Relative. Find out if someone is your Qualifying Relative.

If you are not sure if your dependent needs to file their own tax return, visit our guide on whether or not a dependent is required to file a tax return.

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