Can I File My Taxes if I am 19 and Can Be Claimed as a Dependent?

by Tara Thomas ; Updated August 24, 2018

You've landed a job and you might be wondering, "Do I file taxes if I am a dependent?" Not only can you file your taxes if you’re 19, and can be claimed as a dependent, you may be required to. Depending on how much you earned for the year, the IRS might require you to pay taxes on that income – even if you’re claimed on someone’s return as a dependent. As far as the IRS is concerned, there is no age minimum before someone must begin to file taxes. If you have income, both earned and unearned, then the IRS will want its cut. While you may not have to file – depending on how much you made and other factors – being a dependent does have an impact on how you to file your own return.


  • Depending on how much you earn, you may still be responsible for filing taxes if you are 19 and can be claimed as a dependent.

Qualifying Child or Qualifying Relative

The IRS has different sets of qualifications used to determine if someone is a qualifying child or a qualifying relative, although both can be dependents. Age, residency, relationship and amount of support are all taken into consideration. Qualifying children must be under the age of 19 (or up to 24 if they are a full-time student), and the person claiming them pays more than half of their care and support. There are no age restrictions for qualifying relatives who can be claimed as a dependent, but spouses are never considered dependents for tax purposes. And you cannot claim yourself as a dependent. Because the qualifications vary for each type of dependent, it’s a good idea to visit the IRS’ website for a complete list of the rules and requirements for determining whether or you can be claimed as a dependent.

2017 Minimum Income Requirements

Unlike the standard minimum income thresholds the IRS announces annually, the minimum income requirements for dependents are much lower. This means that you are required to pay taxes with much less income earned than someone who cannot be claimed as a dependent on another taxpayer’s form. The one exception to this is for taxpayers married filing separately who have to file taxes when they earn more than $4,050 in the year.

For 2017, if you are claimed as a dependent on anyone’s tax return, you must file taxes of your own when your income exceeds the following figures. However, qualifying relatives, regardless of age, cannot be claimed as a dependent if they earn more than $4,050 in gross income for the year. If you are a self-employed dependent, then you must file taxes when you’ve earned more than $400 for the year, irrespective of age.

Single Dependents

  • Under age 65 and not blind – more than $6,350
  • Age 65 and older or blind – more than $7,900
  • Blind and age 65 or older – more than $9,450

Married Dependents

  • Under age 65 and not blind – more than $6,350
  • Age 65 and older or blind – more than $7,600
  • Blind and age 65 or older – more than $8,850

It’s worth noting that these figures are for earned income. Earned income is any money you earned from working a job or from self-employment. Unearned income, or income from dividends and interest received, have different filing thresholds. You will need to file additional forms, and are subject to different filing requirements for this type of income if you’re a dependent. Consult your tax preparer for guidance, or visit the IRS’ website for worksheets and useful, interactive tax assistant tools.

About the Author

Tara Thomas is a Los Angeles-based writer and avid traveler. Her articles appear in various online publications, including Sapling, PocketSense, Zacks, Livestrong, Modern Mom and SF Gate. She began her writing career in college authoring grant proposals for a Southern California marine science laboratory, which helped her develop a lifelong passion for environmentalism. She has a Bachelor of Science in marine biology from California State University, Long Beach. Thomas is also an event consultant/planner, spent 10 years as a mortgage consultant and enjoys writing on the subjects of travel and personal finance.

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