Can I Claim My Grandmother As a Dependent on My Taxes?

Yes, you can claim grandma as a dependent when filing your tax return.
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Based on recent changes to the tax code, many Americans are wondering who qualifies as a dependent for taxes. In many family situations, children and elderly parents or grandparents are dependent upon working-age taxpayers to provide them with financial support.


The IRS says that taxpayers can take an exemption of ​$500​ for each non-child dependent that they have. For a grandparent to meet the qualifying relative deduction, he or she must meet certain guidelines set forth by the IRS. The credit begins to phase out when the taxpayer earns ​$200,000​ or more, according to the IRS.


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Consider Also:Claiming Dependents for Your Taxes

Qualifying Children and Relatives

The IRS recognizes two types of dependents: qualifying children and qualifying relatives. The IRS says that a qualifying child must be ​less than 19 years​ of age or ​younger than 24​ if he is a full-time student, but there is no age requirement for qualifying relatives.


This means that a grandparent can potentially be considered a dependent as a qualifying relative, but not as a qualifying child. Be careful that you and a divorced partner don't both claim any children or relatives as dependents if you are.

Only one partner can claim head of household after a divorce, and specific children as dependents. That's because to claim children as dependents, you must pay more than ​50 percent​ of their expenses. This prevents divorced parents from each claiming they pay 50 percent support and trying to each claim the tax credits.


Consider Also:Child Tax Credit: What Is It & How to Qualify

Member of Household or Relationship Test

The IRS states that a qualifying relative must either live with you all year as a member of your household or be related to you in one of several ways to qualify as a dependent. Relatives do not have to live with you all year to be qualifying relatives include grandparents, parents and or other direct ancestors, like great grandparents. A grandmother can be claimed as a dependent even if she didn't live with you all year, so long as she meets the gross income and support requirements for qualifying relatives.


Consider Also:What's Different About the 2021 Child Tax Credit?

Gross Income Requirement

For tax year 2021, a qualifying relative must have a gross income that is less than ​$4,300​, explains the IRS. Retired grandparents who have no regular source of income are likely to meet this requirement. According to the IRS, tax-exempt income, like certain Social Security benefits, does not have to be included in gross income; so, a grandparent may qualify as a dependent even if she receives more than ​$4,300​ a year from Social Security.


Support Requirements for Dependents

The final criterion for determining whether a person is a qualifying relative is the amount of support the taxpayer provided to the relative. The IRS says that a taxpayer must have provided more than half of another person's support during a calendar year for that person to be considered a qualifying relative. If a grandparent used her own savings or income to pay for at least half of her own support, she does not qualify as a dependent.