A person has to meet all of the five tests in order to be claimed as a dependent. You cannot take age and blindness exemptions for your de- pendent. If your dependent died during the year you may take full exemption.


  1. Member of household or Relationship Test.
  2. Citizenship Test.
  3. Joint Return Test.
  4. Gross Income Test.
  5. Support Test.
  6. Member of Household or Relationship Test. To meet this test, an unrelated person must live with you for the entire year as a member of your household except for temporary absence.

A person does not meet the member of your household test if at any time during your tax year the relationship between you and that person violates the local law.

A person related to you in any of the following ways does not have to live with you or be a member of your household to meet this test.

Your child, grandchild, great-grandchild.

Your sister, brother, half and step sister and brother.

Your parent, grandparent or other direct ancestors, but not foster parent.

Your stepmother, stepfather.

A brother or sister of your father or mother.

A son or daughter of your brother or sister.

Your father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law.


Any relationship that has been established by marriage is not ended by death or divorce.

Cousin; your cousin meets this test only if he or she lives as a member of your household.

  1. Citizenship Test. A person must be a U.S. Citizen or resident, a resident of Canada or Mexico for some part of the calendar year to meet the citizenship test.

Foreign students brought to this country and placed in American houses for temporary period generally are not U.S. residents and do not meet citizenship test.

  1. Joint Return Test. Even if the other four dependency tests are met you are not allowed an exemption for your dependent if he or she files a Joint return with his or her spouse except to get a refund of tax withheld.
  2. Gross Income Test. You may not take an exemption for a person who had gross income of $1,000 or more this year. Tax exempt income such as Social Security Insurance is not included in gross income.

If your child is under 19 or a full time student and you provide more than 50% of the total support, you can claim that child as you’re dependent no matter how much that child earns.

  1. Support Test. You must provide more than half of person’s total support to meet the support test: You figure whether you have provided more than half by comparing the amount you contributed to the person’s support with the entire amount of support received from all sources.

The total cost, not the period of time you provide the support determines whether you provided more than half the support.

Total support is the sum of fair rental value, food and clothing, recreation, medical expenses and all other expenses that were spent. For that person.

Article extracted from this publication >>  March 8, 1985