How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Anne Your Own Question
Anne, Master Tax Preparer
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 2430
Experience:  Enrolled Agent with 25 Years Experience specializing Individual and Small Businesses
Type Your Tax Question Here...
Anne is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Can I claim an incarcerated dependent on my tax return

Resolved Question:

The state of oregon has convicted my minor child of a class b adult felony, with a sentence to two years. however, they require us to pay $700 per month as long as she is taking classes (which she is and will throughout her incarceration).
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Anne replied 9 years ago.


Thank you for using just answer. This is a really good question. In order for you to claim your daughter under the Qualifying Child rules, you must be able to prove that you provided more than 50% of her support. If your daughter lived with you more than 6 months in 2007 before being incarcerated, then this should be no problem really. If she was incarcerated for the majority of the year, then meeting this requirement, once you consider meals, clothing, medical/dental and housing, will be much more difficult.

While this specific situation (an incarcerated dependent) is not mentioned in the tax law or IRS instructions, I based the scenario above on a Tax Court case from 2002 (T.C. Memo 2002-258 [PDF document]). The issue in that case was whether the parent could claim her son as a dependent and as a qualifying child for the earned income credit even though her son was in prison all year. The Tax Court reasoned that since the parent did not provide more than half of the child's support, the parent could not claim the son as a dependent. Furthermore, since the son did not live with his mom for more than 6 months of the year, the mom could not claim her son for earned income credit purposes.

I hope this helps you

Positive feedback and bonuses are always appreciated

Anne and 4 other Tax Specialists are ready to help you