Can I claim cousins as dependents?

February 26, 2014 by Dave Du Val, EA
Family in swimming pool on a raft

Hey Dave,

I lived with my younger cousins, ages 11 and 4, in 2013 except for about 2 months when I stayed with my father while he was sick. I provided more than half of their support for the year also. Can I claim them as dependents?

Sincerely,

Joshua

 

Dear Joshua,

When the writers of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) came up with the rules for claiming a dependent, they did not foresee all the real life scenarios in our country. But to answer your question, with the current convoluted rules in place, your particular situation does not allow you to claim your cousins as “Qualified Child(ren)” or “Qualified Relative(s)” as they are the wrong relationship (according to the rules in the IRC) for the Qualified Child and − as they did not live with you for the entire year − they do not meet the rules to be a Qualified Relative. There are many other rules that come into play other than the support test that, based on your question, you passed, but unfortunately you do not qualify to claim them on your tax return this year.

Deductiby yours,

Dave

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