Rules for Dependents, Exemptions and
Head-of-Household Filing Status


Who Can I Claim as a Dependent?

  • Your child under age 19 on December 31st generally qualifies as your dependent (unless you or your spouse are younger than the child).
  • Your child under age 24 on December 31st generally qualifies as your dependent if a full-time student during any day during five different months during the year (unless you or your spouse are younger than the child).
  • Your child generally qualifies as your dependent if he is permanently and totally disabled.
  • Otherwise, if the “family member” whom you support had gross income less than $4,050 in 2017, then that  generally qualifies him as your dependent.

  • No personal exemption amount is allowable on the return of an individual who is eligible to be claimed as a dependent on another taxpayer’s return.
  • The (College) Tuition and Fee Deduction cannot be claimed if the taxpayer is eligible to be claimed as a dependent on another taxpayer’s return.
  • The American Opportunity (College) Credit and the Lifetime Learning (College) Credit cannot be claimed if the taxpayer is actually claimed as a dependent on another taxpayer’s return.


Exemptions and Dependents: Top Ten Tax Facts

Medical and Dental Expenses – Child of divorced or separated parents


Head of Household filing status, see IRS Publication 504

What is My Filing Status?

Release or Revocation of Release to Claim to an Exemption by Custodial Parent IRS Form 8332


The differences between an Exemption and a Dependent.

You generally may claim an exemption for each of your dependents.

Exemptions, see IRS Publication 501


T.C. Memo. 2015-203 discussing HOH and dependency exemptions as well as the 20% section 6662(a) accuracy-related penalty when there is an understatement of tax of the lower of 10% or $5,000 vs. an underpayment / deficiency of the lower of 10% or $5,000.