When is a dependent not a dependent? Spoiler: Never.

When is a dependent not a dependent? Spoiler: Never.

I am getting questions about whether or not kids aged 17 and older will be eligible for the second stimulus payment.  The answer is no.  Eligibility for kids for both EIPs is the same; dependent children under age 17, the same population that is eligible for the child tax credit, which is $2000.  Kids 17 and older qualify for the “Other Dependent Credit”, which is just $500.

So I can already hear you saying, “Well, if my 19 year old college kid only gets me a $500 credit on my tax return, then in 2020 we just won’t claim her.  She can claim herself and get her $1200, and the $600.”


The rules for dependents are clear.  If anyone CAN claim you as a dependent then you CANNOT claim yourself.  The tests for dependency are age, residence and support.  My son Joe is 20 and was at Ohio University this year.  At 20 (and as a full time student) he meets the age test.  Living away from home for college is considered a temporary absence, so he meets the residency test, he lives with me.  And while he had a job all year he made only about $12,000, not enough to provide half his support, especially when we consider car expenses, rent, health insurance, etc.  He cannot claim himself on his tax return.  He is still my dependent.  He gets no stimulus money.

I know people are going to want to argue about this and I get it, I really do.  See Joe, above.  But the IRS will be watching for this because the law is clear, and claiming tax credits you are not entitled to is tax fraud.

By |2021-01-21T15:29:36-05:00January 21st, 2021|Uncategorized|Comments Off on When is a dependent not a dependent? Spoiler: Never.

About the Author: