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Can My Daughter Declare Her Lazy Boyfriend as a Dependent?

Pricey Penny,

My 21-year-old daughter has been residing together with her boyfriend for the previous seven months. He is identical age as she is and is unemployed. He reveals completely no want to seek out employment, nor does he have the drive to take action, which makes me irritated understanding that he’s profiting from her kindness. 

I requested her about it and all she tells me is, “I do not thoughts serving to him.” I do know she is hurting financially as a result of she pays the hire, groceries, gasoline, and so forth. My query is: When it is time to file 2022 revenue taxes, may she legally declare him as a “dependent” though they’re NOT married? And what different deductions can she declare?


Pricey L.,

Clearly, taxes are the least of your daughter’s issues. However sadly, it doesn’t sound like your daughter can legally declare her boyfriend on her 2022 tax return.

To assert somebody as a depending on a federal tax return, they should meet a four-part IRS definition of a “qualifying relative.” (No, they don’t have to truly be a relative to fulfill the factors). They should dwell with you for the whole calendar 12 months, they need to have lower than $4,400 in gross revenue for 2022, it’s a must to pay greater than half of their help for the 12 months, and nobody else can declare them as a dependent.

In case your daughter’s boyfriend has solely lived together with her for seven months, he wouldn’t meet the primary standards. But when this residing scenario continues via the whole lot of the subsequent calendar 12 months — and I actually hope it doesn’t — your daughter may declare him in 2023.

It’s additionally uncertain that your daughter would qualify for different deductions. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 practically doubled the usual deduction. For 2022, the usual deduction is $12,950. For the overwhelming majority of taxpayers, significantly renters, itemizing deductions doesn’t make sense. Any deductions they qualify for will add as much as far lower than $12,950. So when you’re on the lookout for a silver lining on this relationship, it’s not going to come back within the type of a much bigger tax refund for 2022.

For complicated tax conditions, I sometimes suggest readers seek the advice of with an authorized public accountant or an legal professional as an alternative of counting on an recommendation columnist. However this one’s not particularly sophisticated, so I don’t suppose your daughter must shell out cash for a professional. When she recordsdata her return subsequent 12 months, she will use a free tax software program program, which can information her to the identical solutions I’m supplying you with.

What pursuits me, although, is the truth that you’re fascinated by your grownup daughter’s taxes — and it’s solely October. I believe you’re making an attempt to muster no matter recommendation you may to repair this monetary trainwreck. You possibly can’t encourage her boyfriend to work, nor are you able to decrease her hire or grocery invoice, so tax steerage is the one factor you may provide.

Now it’s time to step again. She is aware of you don’t approve of her boyfriend. Give attention to sustaining a great relationship together with your daughter. Meaning you’ll have to be cordial to her boyfriend.

Typically these conditions have a means of working themselves out. Dwelling with somebody who has zero ambition will get outdated after some time. Regardless that your daughter claims she doesn’t thoughts serving to her boyfriend, I’d say the percentages of her ultimately concluding that he’s a mooch are fairly excessive.

What you are able to do is keep away from enabling this example. Regardless that you assume your daughter is struggling financially, it doesn’t sound like she’s asking you for cash. However ought to she flip to you sooner or later for monetary assist, don’t give her cash. Be agency that if she wants help with payments, that might want to come from her boyfriend.

Your frustration is comprehensible. However having the liberty to make errors is what forces us to develop up. In case you harp on the problem, you could wind up solely sharpening your daughter’s resolve to make this relationship work. Don’t provide monetary or relationship recommendation until your daughter asks for it. However do say a silent prayer that this relationship might be over earlier than tax season.

Robin Hartill is an authorized monetary planner and a senior author at The Penny Hoarder. Ship your tough cash inquiries to [email protected].



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