Consumer alert: Did you claim all your dependents on your tax return?

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Are you giving Uncle Sam too much money? You might be if you forget to declare all your dependents. Remember for tax purposes, a dependent child is either younger than 19 or a student younger than 24. For 2022, you get a $2,000 tax credit for each child. That’s easy.

But we might forget we can also claim other folks who aren’t children as dependents. For example, I’ve shared that my 86-year old dad lives with us full time. My husband is his primary caregiver. Dad’s only income is social security. So in this case, the government does not count his social security as income. But if your parent has other income from interest or dividends, part of their social security may be considered income. Check with a tax professional because you may be leaving money on the table, so says Al Burgos, owner of Burgos Income Tax Inc.

“It’s a $500 tax credit, that dependent credit, that reduces your taxable income $500,” said Burgos. That can be very significant. And again, the qualifications are they can’t have any earnings over $4,400 dollars. You’ve got to be providing more than 50 percent of their support, and they have to be physically in your house.”

In fact, there are a number of qualifying relatives that you may be able to declare as a dependent. Here are some examples:

· A boomerang young adult son or daughter. who returned home to live with you.

· A boomerang adult son or daughter who returns with children of her own. If they lived with you all year and your daughter didn’t make more than $4,400, Uncle Sam says they’re all your dependents.

· Your girlfriend/boyfriend who lives with you and has no income.

· Your college student son/daughter who has a job and his filing his own tax return As long as the student is under 24,and a fulltime student, he/she likely meets the qualifications of a dependent child.

Remember, if you’re declaring someone as a dependent, no one else can do so. Family living situations are complicated. If you have any questions about whether someone meets the IRS definition of a dependent, consult a tax professional. Don’t give Uncle Sam more money than you have to. And that’s your consumer alert.