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 2016, then that  generally qualifies him as your dependent.


Exemptions and Dependents: Top Ten Tax Facts


Head of Household filing status, see IRS Publication 504

What is My Filing Status?


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.