TurboTax / Tax Calculators & Tips / All Tax Guides / Family / Claiming a Domestic Partner as a Dependent

Claiming a Domestic Partner as a Dependent

Updated for Tax Year 2016


OVERVIEW

Most people claimed as dependents on tax returns are children or other relatives. But what you may not know is that under certain circumstances you can also claim someone as a dependent even if you're not related, as is the case with a domestic partner. Even though you are not able to file a joint tax return, if you are currently supporting your domestic partner financially, and that person has little or no income, you might be able to claim your partner as a dependent on your own tax return.


Why dependents matter

claiming a domestic partner as a dependent

Once you identify someone as a dependent on your tax return, you're announcing to the IRS that you are financially responsible for another person. By law, taxpayers are allowed to reduce their taxable income by a certain amount for each dependent claimed on a tax return. This amount is called an exemption, and for the 2016 tax year, the exemption amount is $4,050 per person. So if you're able to claim your domestic partner as a dependent, you should be able to reduce the amount of your income that's subject to tax by the exemption amount.

Several tests apply

You can claim your partner as a dependent if your situation meets all of the following conditions:
• No one else, such as your partner's parents, can claim your partner as a dependent child on their tax return 
• Your partner must be a U.S. citizen, a U.S. national, a U.S. resident alien, or a resident of Canada or Mexico 
• Your partner must live with you all year
• Your partner's gross income for the year -- meaning income from all sources -- cannot exceed the exemption amount. For 2016, that amount is $4,050 
• You must provide more than half of your partner's financial support during the year
• Your partner cannot be married to someone else and file a joint return with that other person except to claim a refund of withheld income tax or estimated income tax paid

Income limit poses challenge

Tax expert Jonathan Weber, stresses that it can be difficult for a non-relative to meet all of the conditions necessary to be claimed as a dependent. "Most people don't realize just how many qualifiers a non-relative has to pass," he says. The income limit is an especially tough hurdle. In most cases, Weber says, "even a part-time or seasonal job will put their income over the $3,950 limit." Working just 10 hours a week at $8 an hour, for example, would bring in more money than allowed.

Living together

Remember that your partner must live with you for the entire year to qualify as a dependent. If you moved in together in the middle of the year, you’ll have to wait until the next year before claiming your partner as a dependent.

On another matter related to living arrangements, certain "temporary absences" don't affect whether you and your partner would be considered living together. If one of you took a vacation, for example, or was deployed with the military, you would still be considered living together. The IRS says the following types of absences will not count against you:
• Illness, such as time spent in a hospital or rehabilitation facility
• Vacations
• Business travel or assignments
• Education-related absences
• Absences for military service

Get every deduction you deserve

TurboTax Deluxe searches more than 350 tax deductions and credits so you get your maximum refund, guaranteed.

For only $54.99$34.99*
Start for Free

Looking for more information?

The above article is intended to provide generalized financial information designed to educate a broad segment of the public; it does not give personalized tax, investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek the assistance of a professional who knows your particular situation for advice on taxes, your investments, the law, or any other business and professional matters that affect you and/or your business.


Security is built into everything we do
Here's how
* Important Offer Details and Disclosures
  • TURBOTAX ONLINE/MOBILE

  • Try for Free/Pay When You File: TurboTax online and mobile pricing is based on your tax situation and varies by product. Free 1040EZ/1040A + Free State offer only available with TurboTax Federal Free Edition; Offer may change or end at any time without notice. Actual prices are determined at the time of print or e-file and are subject to change without notice. Savings and price comparisons based on anticipated price increase expected in March. Special discount offers may not be valid for mobile in-app purchases.
  • QuickBooks Bonus Offer with TurboTax Self-Employed: File your 2016 federal return with TurboTax Self-Employed by 4/18/17 and receive a complimentary subscription to QuickBooks Self-Employed until 4/30/18 at no additional cost. After you file your taxes, you must activate your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription by 7/15/2017 by logging into QuickBooks Self-Employed via mobile app or at https://selfemployed.intuit.com/login. Once activated, you will have access to QuickBooks Self-Employed until 4/30/2018.
    Offer valid only for new QuickBooks Self-Employed customers.
    • When you use TurboTax Self-Employed to file your 2017 taxes, you will have the option to renew your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription. If you do not file with TurboTax Self-Employed by 4/30/2018, your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription will automatically renew on 5/1/2018 for another year at the then-current annual subscription rate. You may cancel your subscription at any time from within the QuickBooks Self-Employed billing section.
  • Pays for itself: In order to pay for the price of TurboTax Self-Employed, you will need at least $600 in deductible business expenses. This calculation is based on the self-employment tax income rate for tax year 2016.
  • Anytime, anywhere: Internet access required; standard message and data rates apply to download and use mobile app.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with e-file and direct deposit; tax refund time frames will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: $X.XX Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice.
  • TurboTax Expert Help, Tax Advice and SmartLook: Included with Deluxe, Premier and Self-Employed (via phone or SmartLook); not included with Federal Free Edition. Feature availability varies by device. State tax advice is free. Service, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2015 TurboTax products.
  • Most Popular: TurboTax Deluxe is our most popular product among TurboTax Online users with more complex tax situations.
  • CompleteCheck: Covered under the TurboTax accurate calculations and maximum refund guarantees.
  • TurboTax Self-Employed Expense Finder: Available only in TurboTax Self-Employed. Not available for people with certain types of expenses and tax situations including paying contractors or employees, home office or vehicle actuals, inventory, self employed health insurance or retirement, asset depreciation, sale of property or vehicles, and farm income. Some financial institutions limit the timeframe for which historical transactions may be imported by ExpenseFinder. ExpenseFinder expected late January (late February for mobile app).
  • TURBOTAX CD/DOWNLOAD SOFTWARE

  • TurboTax CD/Download products: Price includes tax preparation and printing of federal tax returns and free federal e-file of up to 5 federal tax returns. Additional fees apply for e-filing state returns. E-file fees do not apply to New York state returns. Savings and price comparison based on anticipated price increase expected in March. Prices subject to change without notice.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with e-file and direct deposit; tax refund time frames will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: $X.XX Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice. This benefit is available with TurboTax Federal products except TurboTax Business.
  • About our TurboTax Product Experts: Customer service and product support vary by time of year.
  • About our credentialed tax experts: Live tax advice via phone is included with Premier and Home & Business; fees apply for Basic and Deluxe customers. State tax advice is free. Service, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice. Not available for TurboTax Business customers.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2015 TurboTax products.
  • Data Import: Imports financial data from participating companies. Quicken and QuickBooks import not available with TurboTax installed on a Mac. Imports from Quicken (2015 and higher) and QuickBooks Desktop (2011 and higher); both Windows only. Quicken import not available for TurboTax Business. Quicken products provided by Quicken Inc., Quicken import subject to change.