The Tax Significance of Figuring out Dependents


The numerous completely different tax advantages obtainable to your shoppers largely depend upon having a number of dependents.

To start out with, Part 151 permits private exemptions, which aren’t at the moment obtainable.  Nevertheless, the definition of “dependent” present in Part 152 remains to be essential in these years.  

A seasoned tax skilled could recall the dependency exemption hasn’t been obtainable since 2017, when the exemption quantity (which is adjusted yearly for inflation) was $4,050. This profit is scheduled to return after 2025, however now we typically have a large number of particular advantages to contemplate.

A dependent is usually outlined as a qualifying baby or qualifying relative however with every part topic to many particulars (Part 152(a); see IRS Pub. 501, “Dependents, Normal Deduction, and Submitting Data,” to be used in making ready 2021 returns, p. 11 and usually).

Submitting Standing

Dependents may even have an effect on submitting standing. “Surviving spouses who’ve a dependent baby might be able to use the Qualifying Widow(er) standing within the two tax years following the 12 months of the partner’s demise.”  (IRS Pub. 4491 “Volunteer Revenue Tax Help (VITA), Tax Counseling for the Aged,” 2021 returns, p. 4-5). The publication makes use of “dependent” many occasions.

Normal Deduction

We observe that being a dependent can decrease one’s normal deduction. Generally, a dependent’s normal deduction is proscribed in 2021 to the higher of $1,100, or earned revenue plus $350 (topic to some most guidelines)(Sec. 63(c)(5)). The usual deduction could also be larger if the person is 65 or older, or legally blind.

Dependent Care

Usually topic to a $5,000 most or $2,500 if married submitting individually, an worker can exclude employer funds for dependent care help (Sec. 129). The 2021 exclusion was considerably elevated to $10,500, or $5,250 if married submitting individually. The dependent care help revenue exclusion may also attain army personnel (Sec. 134(b)(4)).  

Be aware the worker requirement right here, which from a planning standpoint introduces the worker vs advisor distinction.  There are, in fact, disadvantages to classification as an worker, significantly the present itemized deduction disallowance of virtually all worker enterprise bills.  

Distinct from the exclusion for employer funds is the kid and dependent care expense credit score. (Sec. 21, Kind 2441; See typically “Benefits of Dependent Care Help Applications,” Mike Pusey,, Could 10, 2021; “Baby and Dependent Care Credit score FAQs,”

Baby Tax Credit score

The 2021 preliminary credit score is usually elevated to $3,600 if the kid has not attained age six by the top of 2021, and $3,000 for one another qualifying baby who has not attained the age of eighteen by the top of 2021 (Part 24, Kind 8812 and directions).  

The return might want to embrace not solely the dependent’s title however taxpayer identification quantity. A qualifying baby with out an identification quantity could qualify as one other dependent.  

The kid identification quantity requirement comes up even within the context of adoption bills, whereas the touchstone there, given the “getting began” nature of the subject, is “eligible baby” relatively than dependent (Part 23). The kid tax credit score is phased out at comparatively excessive ranges of adjusted gross revenue.

Restoration Rebate Credit score

The dependent query can have an effect on 2021’s “restoration rebate credit score.” (Sec. 6428(d)(2)).

“When you will be claimed as a depending on another person’s 2021 tax return, then you definately can’t declare a dependent in your tax return.  You additionally can’t declare the 2021 Restoration Rebate Credit score.

The 2021 Restoration Rebate Credit score contains as much as an extra $1,400 for every qualifying dependent you declare in your 2021 tax return. A qualifying dependent is a dependent who has a legitimate Social Safety quantity or Adoption Taxpayer Identification Quantity issued by the IRS. 

A sound SSN for the 2021 Restoration Rebate Credit score is one that’s issued by the Social Safety Administration by the due date of your 2021 tax return (together with an extension if you happen to requested the extension by the due date). To assert an individual as a dependent in your tax return, that individual have to be your qualifying baby or qualifying relative…..” (See the prolonged dialogue at “2021 Restoration Rebate Credit score – Subject C:  Eligibility for claiming a Restoration Rebate Credit score on a 2021 tax return,” Q C7,  See additionally Q C8 and C9).

Earned Revenue Tax Credit score

For 2021, the utmost credit score ranges from $1,502 to $6,728 relying on the variety of kids and submitting standing (See “Earned Revenue and Earned Revenue Tax Credit score (EITC) Tables,”

The earned revenue tax credit score is present in part 32 which defines a “qualifying baby” relying relatively closely on the path of part 151 and 152 for the definition of a “dependent.” (See additionally Schedule EIC Kind 1040). Eligibility for the credit score activates the taxpayer not being a dependent of one other taxpayer.

Well being Insurance coverage Premium Help Credit score

This credit score isn’t obtainable to somebody that may be claimed as a dependent of one other individual (Sec. 36B(c)’(1)(D)). The Kind 8962 asks such questions as “the entire of your dependents’ modified AGI (adjusted gross revenue).”  

One can see numerous nuances to the principles looking out “dependent” within the directions to Kind 8962. “Household measurement” for functions of those calculations typically contains dependents.

Well being Protection Tax Credit score

This credit score below Part 35, claimed on Kind 8885, is usually 72.5 p.c of prices throughout protection months of the 12 months. This measure of sure medical health insurance prices focuses on a “qualifying member of the family” which typically reaches the taxpayer’s dependents.  ((Sec. 35(d)(1)(B) incorporating Sec. 151(c)). Advance funds could end result within the taxpayer receiving a Kind 1099-H from the well being plan’s administration group.

Sale of Principal Residence

The definition of what constitutes a “principal residence” can contemplate any variety of components, together with being the “principal place of dwelling of the taxpayer’s members of the family.” (Regs. 1.121-1(b)(2)(ii)).  We observe a personal letter ruling utilizing the phrase “sure members of the family” with out vital commentary.   See PLR 200626024 (6/30/06) citing Regs. 1.121-3(f).  See additionally the rules mitigating the necessities in some circumstances when the taxpayer’s transfer triggers dwelling gross sales for causes of well being of a certified particular person. (Regs. 1.121-3(d)). 

Right here the definition of certified people contains household relationships below the non-public exemption guidelines of part 152(a)(1) by way of (8) however with out having to qualify as a dependent (Regs. 1.121-3(f)). That is an occasion through which the idea of dependent is a spotlight but there are deletions from the definition such that full qualification as a dependent isn’t required.  So, as normal, the tax adviser’s analysis must concentrate on particulars of the availability.

In Conclusion

Our matter can come up can come up in reference to deducting scholar mortgage curiosity (Sec. 221, “Subject No. 456 Scholar Mortgage Curiosity Deduction,”  The tax nuances of discovering a dependent are many.

“Figuring out and figuring out the proper variety of dependents is a important part of finishing the taxpayer’s return. The deduction for private and dependency exemptions is suspended for tax years 2018 by way of 2025 by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Though the exemption quantity is zero, the power to assert a dependent could make taxpayers eligible for different tax advantages. For instance, the next tax advantages could all be related to a dependent: baby tax credit score, extra baby tax credit score, credit score for different dependents, earned revenue credit score, baby and dependent care credit score, head of family submitting standing, and different tax advantages.” (IRS Pub. 4491 “Volunteer Revenue Tax Help (VITA), Tax Counseling for the Aged,” 2021 returns, p. 5-3).

The variety of complicated subjects the place the idea of “dependent” has significance means that figuring out them is a excessive precedence for the tax skilled.  The subject of “dependent” is essential in each compliance and planning for the shopper.  It’ll typically be an essential focus firstly of the taxpayer interview. 


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