Can I claim my ex-mother-in-law as a dependent on my taxes?

February 11, 2020 by David E. Du Val, EA
1040 tax return with green pen laying on it

Hello David, 

My husband and I divorced in 2017, but I helped him take care of his mother (my ex-mother-in-law) in 2019. For tax purposes, can I claim my ex-mother-in-law on my tax return as a dependent that qualifies me for Head of Household? Is she still my mother-in-law for tax purposes even after the divorce? Thank you.

Claudia


Claudia,

Your willingness to take in your ex-mother-in-law and care for her is truly commendable. And the good news is that, from a tax standpoint, a relationship that is established by marriage, such as your relationship with your mother-in-law, does not end with either divorce or with the death of the spouse. So, it would appear you may file as Head of Household, assuming your mother-in-law meets all the other tests to be a “qualifying relative,” and as long as you meet all the other tests for head of household.
 
Also, since 2018 for the federal return, there is no exemption amount for any taxpayer or dependent on Form 1040.  However, California still has exemption amounts for taxpayers and their dependents.
 
Deductibly Yours,
Dave

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David E. Du Val, EA
Chief Compliance Officer for TRI Holdco

 

Dave Du Val, EA, is Chief Compliance Officer for TRI Holdco. Inc., the parent company of TaxAudit, and Centenal Tax Group. A nationally recognized speaker and educator, Dave is well known for his high energy and dynamic presentation style. He is a frequent and popular guest speaker for the California Society of Tax Consultants, the California Society of Enrolled Agents and the National Association of Tax Professionals. Dave frequently contributes tax tips and information to news publications, including US News and World Report, USA Today, and CPA Practice Advisor. Dave is an Enrolled Agent who has prepared thousands of returns during his career and has trained and mentored hundreds of tax professionals. He is a member of the National Association of Tax Professionals, the National Association of Enrolled Agents and the California Society of Enrolled Agents. Dave also holds a Master of Arts in Education and has been educating people since 1972. 


 

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