Who Is Dependent?
Spouses, biological and step children, and relatives are common types of dependents. However, a dependent exemption can only be claimed if the dependent does not claim another dependent on his taxes. If you have no dependents, your parents may be able to claim you as long as you are a qualifying adopted, biological or step child. The IRS uses a series of tests to determine whether your parents are entitled to a dependency exemption.
For your parents to claim you as a dependent child, you must live with them more than 50 percent of the year. This is called the residency test. An exception to this rule is a college student who lives away on campus throughout the year. Additional rules are used to qualify children living outside the household. Also, dependents must be U.S. citizens or residents of Canada or Mexico.
You must be younger than the age of 19 to be claimed as a dependent child on your parent's tax return. If you enroll in school full time, your parents can claim you until you are 24 or until you cease relying on your parents for financial support. If you have a permanent disability, your parents can claim you indefinitely on their tax return as long as support is given.
If your parents provide more than half your financial support, you can be claimed on their taxes even if you do not share the same residence. This support may be in the form of providing money for housing, food and medical care. If the IRS determines that you provided more than half of your own support during the tax year, your parents are not able to claim you.