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Lev, Tax Advisor
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 29558
Experience:  Taxes, Immigration, Labor Relations
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Can a mother-in-law be claimed as a dependent on a married

Resolved Question:

Can a mother-in-law be claimed as a dependent on a married couple's tax returns? If so, what criteria must be met?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Lev replied 5 years ago.

Hi and welcome to Just Answer!

Yes - a mother-in-law be claimed as a dependent.

You cannot claim a married person who files a joint return as a dependent unless that joint return is only a claim for refund and there would be no tax liability for either spouse on separate returns. - so generally - the mother-in-law should not file a joint tax return with her spouse.

Tests To Be a Qualifying Relative:

-- The person cannot be your qualifying child or the qualifying child of any other taxpayer.

-- The person either (a) must be related to you, or (b) must live with you all year as a member of your household. - please be aware that your mother-in-law is not required to live with you.

-- The person's gross income for the year must be less than $3,650 (for 2010) - please verify.

-- You must provide more than half of the person's total support for the year - please verify.

Please see for reference - IRS publication 501, page 12 -

Let me know if you need any help or clarification.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX'm assuming that if the MIL were to be "gifted" $10K-$15K per year by the couple claiming her as a dependent, that wouldn't count as the gross income? I saw that SS benefits wouldn't count toward gross income, but didn't see anything written about gifts.
Expert:  Lev replied 5 years ago.

The gift is not a taxable income in the US - please see for reference the IRS publication 525 page 34 -


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Recipients of gifts should not include the value of gifts into their taxable income and do not report on their tax returns - regardless of the value of gifts.


Social security benefits might be partly taxable. However if social security benefits is the only income - none is taxable.

Let me know if you need any help.

Lev and other Tax Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you!