How to File Taxes If You Can Be Claimed As a Dependent

••• A young woman holding a pen, doing her taxes image by Christopher Meder from

It is important for you to know how to file taxes if you can be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return. It is also vital to know if another taxpayer is legally entitled to claim you as a dependent. For tax purposes, a dependent means a qualifying child or relative. A qualifying child is a person related to you by blood or marriage. The child must be under age 19 at the end of the year or a full-time student under age 24, or permanently and totally disabled at any time during the year, regardless of age. An adopted child or eligible foster child is considered a qualifying child provided he lived with you for more than half of the year and you provided more than half of his financial support that year. A qualifying relative must be related to you by blood, marriage or must have lived in your household for the entire year. He cannot have earned more than $3,800 during the year and you must have provided more than half of the person’s total support for the tax year.

Fill out the required information on your income tax return, including your full name, address, Social Security number and filing status.

Report all your earned and unearned income. Earned income includes amounts you received for services you performed such as wages, salaries, tips, bonuses and self-employment income. Unearned income refers to investment income, such as dividends and interest.

Do not claim yourself as a personal exemption. If another taxpayer is entitled to claim you as his dependent, you cannot take your own exemption, even if the other taxpayer does not actually claim you as a dependent.

Compute your taxable income by taking the standard deduction or itemizing your deductions and subtract this amount from your total income. Use the tax table to calculate the tax you owe on your taxable income.

Enter your federal income tax withheld as reported on Forms W-2 and 1099. Deduct that amount from your tax liability. If your tax bill is greater than your withholding credit, you owe money to the IRS; if your withholding tax credit is greater than your tax liability, you will get a refund.

Finish your tax return by filling out the remaining information required. Sign and date the return.