A dependent is a person who can be claimed on a taxpayer’s tax return because that person has been depending on the taxpayer for financial support during the tax year. A dependent is usually the child of the taxpayer who is filing but it can also be another relative who has needs financial support from the taxpayer. The dependent cannot be claimed by more than one person on a tax return and they in turn cannot claim dependents on their own tax returns. The dependent has to qualify under the rules of the IRS in order for an exemption or deduction to be valid on a tax return. The prerequisites include such details as that the person for whom the exemption is claimed must be a U.S. citizen, resident alien or national. They can also be residents of Canada or Mexico and still qualify under the rules of the IRS.

Mr. and Mrs. Wolfwood have allowed their 23 year old son, Nick, to move back into their home after Nick lost his job. On their next tax return, they can claim him as a dependent provided that he is not married or can be claimed on someone else’s return. If Nick also had a son living with him, he would not be able to claim his son as a dependent, although his parents may be able to so. Before he had moved in with his parents, Nick may have been able to claim his son on his previous tax return.