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Second stimulus check: who qualifies as a dependent according to your taxes?

If a second stimulus check is approved, it is possible that all qualifying dependents will be eligible for a payment this time round.

Second stimulus check: who qualifies as a dependent according to your taxes?

As part of the first round of Economic Income Payments approved in March under the CARES Act, Americans who were eligible to receive the $1,200 stimulus check ($2,400 per married couples) were also entitled to $500 per dependent under 17 years old.

If Congress does eventually approve a second stimulus check, you will likely be able to claim a payment for dependents once again, but there may be some changes.

Democrats have proposed increasing the payment to $1,200 per dependent, up to a maximum of three dependents, while Republicans want to keep the payment at $500, but again would not set a limit on the number of dependents you can claim.

Both parties have stated that they are in favour of scrapping the age limit on dependents this time round, meaning all qualifying dependents, no matter what their age, would be eligible for a payment.

If is this the case, qualifying dependents will depend on tax law criteria, so below we break down the rules on who qualifies as a dependent according to the IRS.

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Stimulus check: Who could qualify as a dependent?

According to the IRS, qualifying dependents fall under two types: a qualifying child or a qualifying relative.

A qualifying child must be younger than 19 years old, or they must be a student younger than 24 years old at the end of the calendar year. The IRS does make an exception for children that are "permanently and totally disabled," on whom there are no age limits.

A qualifying relative, be it a child or an adult, must meet certain requirements from the IRS. More detailed information can be found on this IRS link. But here are a few examples of some of the criteria.

  • The qualifying relative must live with you all year OR be related to you as a son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, or a descendant of any of them (i.e., your grandchild), brother, sister, half brother, half sister (or a son or daughter of any of them), stepbrother, stepsister, stepfather, stepmother, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law.
  • The qualifying relative must have a gross income of less than $4,200 in 2019.
  • You must provide more than half the person’s total support for the year.

Stimulus check: what’s the latest?

As the United States struggles with the economic consequences of the pandemic, the wait goes on for Congress to finally approve a fifth coronavirus aid package and, with it, potentially a second stimulus check - but as the House of Representatives returns from its summer recess, the chances of a relief bill being agreed before the election appear touch-and-go.

You can read more on this topic by checking out our article: US coronavirus relief-bill update


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