Note: The content of this video applies only to taxes prepared for 2010. It is included here for reference only.
Questioner: My wife and I help support her mother. Can we claim her as a dependent on our tax return?
Narrator: Hello, this is Tiffany Smith from TurboTax. Yes, you can claim your wife’s mother as a dependent if you provide more than half of her support AND if she has less than $3,650 for 2010 in gross income of her own for the year. Unlike claiming a child as a dependent, your mother-in-law doesn’t have to live with you for any part of the year or claim your home as her primary residence.
In fact, almost any relative can be claimed as a dependent for tax purposes. So can non-relatives such as foster children or domestic partners. But you do have to meet all the rules the IRS sets.
In addition to your mother-in-law’s income and how much support you provide, there are two other requirements to meet to claim her as a dependent: She must be a citizen or resident of the United States, and she can’t file a joint tax return with anyone else. In general, the joint return rule also means that you can’t claim married children as dependents.
There is no age limitation when it comes to claiming relatives like your mother-in-law. When you want to claim children as dependents, however, they must either be under age 19 at the end of the year or be full-time students under the age of 24.
Keep in mind that someone can be claimed as a dependent on only one tax return. If you share your mother-in-law’s support with another relative, your wife’s brother for example, you can sign an agreement with him that outlines who will be able to claim Mom as a dependent.
For more information on claiming dependents, visit Turbotax.com.