Form 2120: Multiple Support Declaration

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) uses Form 2120, Multiple Support Declaration, to help determine who can claim a qualifying relative as a dependent on their tax return. This form applies in situations where several individuals contribute financially to the support of the same person, but no single contributor provides more than half the cost.

What is a Multiple Support Declaration?

  • It is a legal agreement between multiple taxpayers who financially support a qualifying relative.
  • Allows one designated taxpayer to claim the dependent on their tax return, even if they don't meet the usual "more than half" support test.
  • Requires cooperation from all other contributors who must agree not to claim the dependent themselves.

Who Needs Form 2120?

You might need Form 2120 if:

  • You financially support a qualifying relative (parent, sibling, child of another sibling, etc.)
  • Several other individuals also contribute to the relative's support
  • No single contributor provides more than 50% of the total support costs

Common Scenarios for Using Form 2120:

  • Adult siblings caring for an elderly parent
  • Divorced parents sharing support for a child who lives with one parent most of the time
  • Multiple relatives contributing to the care of a disabled family member

How to file Form 2120?

Step 1: Identify all other eligible individuals who contribute more than 10% of the qualifying relative's support.

Step 2: Include their names, addresses, and Social Security numbers on the form.

Step 3: Obtain signed written statements from each eligible person waiving their right to claim the dependent on their tax return.

Step 4: Attach these statements to Form 2120 when filing your tax return.

Who qualifies as a "qualifying relative" for Form 2120?

A qualifying relative is someone who meets the relationship test (parent, sibling, child of another sibling, etc.) and lived with you for more than half the year. Adopted, half, and step relatives also qualify, as do foster children and descendants of children (grandchildren, great-grandchildren).

What if there are more than four other contributors to the relative's support?

If there are more than four other eligible individuals contributing over 10% of the support, you can't list them all on Form 2120. Instead, attach a separate statement to your tax return that includes their names, addresses, and Social Security numbers.

How do we decide who gets to claim the dependent on Form 2120?

The designated person claiming the dependent and the other contributors can discuss and agree on who claims the dependent each year. This might depend on who receives the most tax benefit or simply rotate year-to-year.

What kind of documentation do I need to keep for Form 2120?

Maintain copies of Form 2120, the signed waiver statements from other contributors, and any receipts or documentation that shows your contribution to the relative's support (rent payments, utility bills, medical bills, etc.).

Is there a deadline to file Form 2120?

The deadline to file Form 2120 is the same as your tax return filing deadline (typically April 15th, with extensions available).