Getting married is a major life event that comes with many changes and adjustments, including in the realm of taxes. As a married college student, you may be wondering if your parents can still claim you as a dependent on their tax return. The answer is not a simple yes or no, as it depends on several factors that will be discussed in this blog post. It is important to note that while this information is based on general guidelines, it is always best to consult with a tax advisor for personalized advice.
What is a Dependent?
First, it is important to understand what is meant by the term "dependent." A dependent is a person who relies on someone else for financial support and meets certain criteria set by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). There are two types of dependents: qualifying children and qualifying relatives. In this case, we are focusing on qualifying children, which includes biological or adopted children, stepchildren, foster children, and siblings.
Qualifying Child Tests
For your parents to claim you as a dependent, you must meet four qualifying child tests set by the IRS. These tests include:
The first test is the relationship test, which requires you to have a specified relationship with the person claiming you as a dependent. As mentioned earlier, this could include biological or adopted children, stepchildren, foster children, or siblings.
The age test requires you to be under the age of 19 at the end of the tax year, or under the age of 24 if you are a full-time student. In some cases, there is no age limit if you are permanently and totally disabled.
The residency test states that the dependent must have lived with the person claiming them for more than half of the tax year. This can become tricky for married college students, as you may be living with your spouse instead of your parents.
The final test is the support test, which requires that the dependent did not provide more than half of their own support for the tax year. This means that if you are married and your spouse is supporting you, you cannot be claimed as a dependent by your parents.
Marital Status and Dependency
As a married college student, your marital status can affect your dependency status. If you are married, your spouse cannot be claimed as a dependent on your parents' tax return. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule:
Abandoned Spouse Exception
If you are married but legally separated from your spouse, you may still be able to be claimed as a dependent by your parents. This is known as the abandoned spouse exception, and it allows your parents to claim you if you meet all the other qualifying child tests and your spouse did not live with you for the last six months of the tax year.
Joint Return Exception
The joint return exception states that if you are married but your spouse did not have any income for the tax year and is not filing a joint return, your parents may still be able to claim you as a dependent. This is only applicable if you meet all the other qualifying child tests.
Not a U.S. Citizen or Resident Exception
If you are married to a non-U.S. citizen or non-resident alien, your spouse is not required to have a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). In this case, your parents may still be able to claim you as a dependent if you meet all the other qualifying child tests.
Talk to a Tax Advisor
In conclusion, as a married college student, your parents may still be able to claim you as a dependent on their tax return if you meet the qualifying child tests and do not fall under any of the exceptions. However, it is always best to consult with a tax advisor for personalized advice and to ensure that you are following all tax laws and regulations. They can also help you determine if it is more beneficial for you and your spouse to file jointly or separately. Remember, taxes can be complex, so it is crucial to seek professional guidance to avoid any potential issues with the IRS.