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Your Girlfriend Might Be a Dependent for Tax Purposes — See If She Qualifies

Jennifer Farrington - Author
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Nov. 1 2022, Published 1:32 p.m. ET

When you claim a person as a dependent on taxes, it opens up doors to certain deductions and even credits. Adding a dependent when filing your taxes can also sometimes reduce your tax liabilities. Because there are so many advantages to claiming dependents on taxes, it's understandable that you’d want to know under what circumstances the IRS allows you to claim your girlfriend as a dependent.

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There are four factors your girlfriend must meet in order for you to be able to claim her as a dependent on your federal income taxes. Keep reading for all the details on the IRS criteria.

Residency and income will be used to determine if your girlfriend can be claimed as a dependent on taxes.

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In order for your girlfriend to qualify as a dependent on taxes, four factors must be met. The first is residency. Did your girlfriend live with you for the entire calendar year and was your home listed as her official residence? If so, then she meets the first requirement.

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But, if she had other addresses listed as her official residence throughout the year, you likely won’t be able to claim her. The only exception the IRS allows when it comes to residency is if your girlfriend was temporarily absent from the home due a vacation or medical treatment, shares tax preparation software company TurboTax.

Also, it’s worth noting that if you live in Mississippi or Michigan, these states still consider cohabitation illegal, thereby disqualifying you from being able to claim your girlfriend as a dependent. Cohabitation is when two people in a relationship live together without being married.

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Your girlfriend’s income will also play a factor in determining if she can be claimed as a dependent. While the income limit varies by year, in 2022, it was set at $4,400. This means if your girlfriend’s gross income was $4,400 or less in 2022, you may potentially be able to claim her as a dependent on your 2023 tax return.

Living expenses impact whether or not your girlfriend is a dependent.

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The IRS also requires that you pay for more than half of your girlfriend’s living expenses (for the calendar year you are filing taxes for) in order to claim her as a dependent. While it is acceptable for her to cover some expenses, if she’s using income, loans, or any other source of funding to cover more than half of her living expenses, you won’t be able to claim her.

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Only one taxfiler can legally claim a person as a dependent.

The final requirement that must be met when determining whether a person can claim their girlfriend on taxes is whether they are being claimed by someone else. If another person intends on claiming your girlfriend, then you cannot. However, if that person agrees not to, and all three of the criteria outlined above are met, then you can proceed with claiming her on taxes.

If you still aren't sure about whether your girlfriend qualifies as your dependent, consider enlisting the help of a tax professional when it comes time for you to file your taxes.

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