Can My Daughter Declare Her Lazy Boyfriend as a Dependent?

Expensive Penny,

My 21-year-old daughter has been dwelling 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 figuring out that he’s benefiting 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, fuel, and so forth. My query is: When it is time to file 2022 earnings taxes, might she legally declare him as a “dependent” although they’re NOT married? And what different deductions can she declare?


Expensive 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 say 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 really be a relative to fulfill the standards). They should reside with you for your entire calendar yr, they must have lower than $4,400 in gross earnings for 2022, it’s important to pay greater than half of their help for the yr, 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 dwelling scenario continues by way of everything of the following calendar yr — and I actually hope it doesn’t — your daughter might 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 in the event you’re on the lookout for a silver lining on this relationship, it’s not going to return within the type of an even bigger tax refund for 2022.

For complicated tax conditions, I sometimes advocate readers seek the advice of with a licensed public accountant or an lawyer as an alternative of counting on an recommendation columnist. However this one’s not particularly sophisticated, so I don’t assume your daughter must shell out cash for a professional. When she recordsdata her return subsequent yr, she will be able to use a free tax software program program, which is able to information her to the identical solutions I’m providing you with.

What pursuits me, although, is the truth that you’re fascinated with your grownup daughter’s taxes — and it’s solely October. I think you’re attempting to muster no matter recommendation you’ll be able to to repair this monetary trainwreck. You may’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’ll be able to provide.

Now it’s time to step again. She is aware of you don’t approve of her boyfriend. Concentrate on sustaining a superb relationship along with your daughter. Meaning you’ll should be cordial to her boyfriend.

Generally these conditions have a means of working themselves out. Dwelling with somebody who has zero ambition will get outdated after some time. Despite the fact 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 case. Despite the fact 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 in some unspecified time in the future 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. For those who 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 except your daughter asks for it. However do say a silent prayer that this relationship can be over earlier than tax season.

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

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