Can I Claim My Boyfriend As a Dependent When Filing Taxes?

Published February 26th, 2018 by Steve Stanganelli CFP

As a tax preparer, I hear questions like this from time to time.

The short answer to you claiming your boyfriend as a tax dependent is: No.

While I like the way you’re thinking, it’s not possible. Your boyfriend is awfully lucky to have your help and support but the IRS is not going to provide you with a tax benefit for your relationship.

The IRS has a seven-part test for dependency. And someone has to qualify by answering ‘yes’ to all of them.

The first three apply to everyone:

  1. To Claim Another Person as a Dependent, the Taxpayer Cannot Be Eligible to Be Claimed as a Dependent on Someone Else’s Return
  2. A Person Cannot Be Treated as a Dependent if He or She Files a Joint Return With a Spouse.
  3. The Person Claimed as a Dependent Must Be Either a Us Citizen, Us National, or a Resident of the United States, Canada, or Mexico.

Now, the next four tests depend on whether the prospective dependent is a “qualifying child” or a “qualifying relative”.

As your boyfriend is not a child, then you have to use the “qualifying relative” tests.

The Relative Must Be a Son, Daughter, Foster Child, or a Descendant of Any of These (Such as a Grandchild), a Brother or Sister or Child Off These, a Parent or Grandparent, a Close Inlaw or Step-sibling, or “any Other Person Other Than the Taxpayer’s Spouse Who Lived With the Taxpayer All Years as a Member of the Taxpayer’s Household if the Relationship Does Not Violate Local Law”.

  1. The “relative” Must Not Be a Qualifying Child of Any Other Taxpayer.
  2. The Relative Must Have Gross Income of Less Than $4,050 in 2017.
  3. The Taxpayer Must Have Provided Over Hald of the Relative’s Support in 2017.

I think you’ll be hard-pressed to have your boyfriend qualify as a relative even if you stretch the “any other person who lived with the taxpayer” test above.

If you need help filing your taxes, reach out to Steve Stanganelli, CFP(r) of Boston Tax Planners.