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Lev
Lev, Tax Advisor
Category: Tax
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Experience:  Taxes, Immigration, Labor Relations
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Can I claim my sister as a dependent?

Resolved Question:

Can I claim my sister who is on SSI as a dependent? She gets $940 a month from SSI. She lives with me and only pays for her food, clothes etc. She doesn't pay for heat, water, electric, cable etc., I do.

Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Lev replied 5 years ago.


LEV:

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is not taxable for your sister - so generally as long as she has no other income and other requirements are met - you may claim her as a dependent. For requirements – see IRS publication 501 page 12 – Table 5. Overview of the Rules for Claiming an Exemption for a Dependent. To determine if you are providing more than half of your sister’s support – please fill out the worksheet on Page 12 – Worksheet 1 – Worksheet for Determining Support.

If you do – you may claim her as a dependent for tax purposes. Let me know if you need any help or clarification.

Customer:

So her SSI is not considered gross income?

LEV:

That is correct - because it is not taxable it is not included into her gross income for dependency eligibility purposes. See in teh same publication page 17 - Gross income defined. Gross income is all income in the form of money, property, and services that is not exempt from tax. Because Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is not taxable – it is not included into the gross income.

Customer:

But I will have to put her SSI on line 1 of the worksheet for determining support. Right?

LEV:

Yes - that is correct - for support test this money should be considered as used for her own support.

Customer:

I can't claim her then. That doesn't seem right she doesn't pay rent or any other bills. She just buys her own food, clothes and personal needs.

LEV:

The matter is = if she provided more than half of her own support - or you provided more than half of her support. All expenses should be considered including housing, utilities, but if there are several persons living in your home - all common expenses should be divided between these persons to determine her support. If she gets $940 * 12 = $11,280 of her own funds and spends all for her own support – you may claim her as a dependent if you provided more than $11,280 for her support – including rent, utilities and all other expenses that you paid for her.

Customer:

That's a lot, so I can use my mortgage, lights, oil?

LEV:

You may use all expenses that you paid for her. If you have some common expenses - for instance utilities and there are two persons in your household - half will be treated as paid for her support. Here is a reference to the IRS publication I mentioned above - just in case you need it - www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p501.pdf

If you own the home – you will use the fair rental value of the home – see line 6b worksheet on page 20.

Customer:

Okay, I think that is all I need. Thank you.

LEV:

You are welcome. Let me know if you need any help now or in future.

Lev and 2 other Tax Specialists are ready to help you

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