Before you can determine who is a qualifying child dependent, there are three initial tests that apply to all dependents. Click here to review these. For this article, we will only be reviewing the tests that apply exclusively to qualifying child dependents.
The age test is three-pronged. The child must either be under the age of 19 at the end of the year or a full-time student for at least five months out of the year and under the age of 24 at the end of the year or any age and permanently disabled.
If your potential qualifying child fits into any of these categories, then they pass the age test.
If you provided more than half of the child’s support for the year then the child has passed the support test. Examples of support include rent, mortgage payments, utilities, groceries, and health insurance premiums.
To be a qualifying child, the child must have lived with you in your home for at least half of the year. An exception to this is if your child is a full-time college student and living on-campus.
The child must be related to you in one of the following ways: your own child, your step-child, your sibling or step-sibling, a foster child, or a descendant of any of these.
If your child has passed all of these tests without any confusion or questioning, then the child has constituted your child dependent for your 2018 tax return.
If your situation does not fit as neatly into these short examples, then you may need to apply tie-breaker rules to determine who will be able to claim the child on their return.
This article does not constitute tax, legal, or financial advice. For help regarding your specific situation, please consult a local professional.