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Can I Claim My Boyfriend or Girlfriend as a Dependent on My Tax Return?

by | Feb 1, 2024 | 2024, Accounting, Tax Credits and Deductions, Tax planning | 0 comments

If you and your significant other live together but are not married, you most likely share numerous expenditures, and one of you may even financially support the other. In such a case, you may question if you may list your girlfriend or boyfriend as a dependent on your tax return and take advantage of any tax breaks.
Claiming a dependent on your taxes might reduce your taxable income, but can your significant other qualify as a dependent? Here are the details on how to claim a domestic partner on your tax return under the IRS dependent guidelines.
What are the tax benefits of claiming my boyfriend or girlfriend as a dependent?
When you claim someone as a dependent, you are responsible for their financial well-being, including food, clothes, shelter, and other essentials. If you offer more than 50% of their financial support during the year, you may be eligible to claim them as a dependent. This can help you qualify for specific tax credits and deductions when you submit your taxes, eventually saving you money.
For example, if your significant other qualifies as a dependent, you may be eligible to claim the Credit for Other Dependents, a $500 tax credit. If your boyfriend or girlfriend had a lot of medical and dental expenditures throughout the year that you helped pay for, you may also be entitled to deduct part of those costs if you itemize.

What are the requirements?
The IRS dependent guidelines are fairly specific about who qualifies as a dependent. Many couples do not meet the IRS requirements and must file taxes as individuals if they are not yet married. If you’re not sure if you may claim your domestic partner on your tax return, TaxAct® will assist you figure out whether they qualify throughout the filing process.

The IRS defines dependents as just qualified children and relatives. However, do not be misled by the term “relative”. A domestic partner may be deemed a relative under IRS standards if they fulfill certain criteria.

To claim your boyfriend or girlfriend as a dependent on taxes, your circumstances must fulfill all of the following IRS requirements.

1. You must live together.
To be classified as a dependent, your significant other must have resided with you for at least one calendar year. If you lived with your significant other for a brief period of time, you cannot claim them as a dependent.

2. Your significant other made less than $4,700 in 2023.
If you wish to claim your boyfriend or girlfriend as a dependent, the IRS requires that they earn less than $4,700 in the 2023 tax year. If your spouse earned more than $4,700 in 2023, they have effectively earned enough to show the IRS that they can support themselves financially. Even if you live with your partner and pay the majority of the costs, if your significant other earns more than the threshold in a year, you cannot claim him or her as a dependent on your tax return.

3. You must contribute more than half of their financial support.
You may be allowed to claim your significant other as a dependent on your taxes if you pay more than half of their basic living expenses. Housing, food, education, and medical bills are all examples of living expenses.
You will need to keep track of all of these costs to demonstrate that you give more than half of your significant other’s financial support. Keep all receipts, papers, and invoices so you can access them when you need them. Documentation is essential when claiming any type of special tax deduction in case the IRS requests evidence.


When can’t I claim my significant other as a dependent?
Even if you and your spouse fulfill the requirements outlined above, the IRS dependent regulations contain various qualifiers and additional limits.
For example, you cannot claim your partner as a dependent on your taxes if another person can do so on their tax return. Each dependent may only be claimed by one taxpayer. So, whether your significant other’s parents, children, or ex-spouse list them as dependents, you cannot do the same.
Finally, to claim your boyfriend or girlfriend as a dependent, they must be a US citizen, national, or resident. Residents of Canada and Mexico may also eligible.

Child and Dependent Care Credit
The Child and dependent Care Credit (CDCC) is a tax benefit for persons who pay for the care of a qualified dependent. A classic example is a parent paying for daycare so that someone may babysit their child while they work.
Though they may sound similar, declaring your domestic partner on your tax return as a dependent is not the same as claiming the CDCC. You will not be able to claim this credit unless your significant other is unwell or unable to care for themselves, and you paid for their care while you worked or sought for job.



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