Tax Season 2024: Can you claim a boyfriend or girlfriend as a dependent on income taxes?
The IRS rules that you can claim a boyfriend or girlfriend as a dependent on your income taxes but only if they pass four tests.
If you are in the process of filing a tax return with the IRS, you may be wondering whether or not you can claim a boyfriend of girlfriend as a tax dependent. The IRS allows for a qualifying relative as a tax dependent, but what exactly does that mean?
The tax agency uses the term ‘qualifying relative’ for people who can be claimed as a tax dependent despite not being your spouse or child. This can include boyfriends and girlfriends, but also nieces, nephews and siblings.
There are, however, some additional eligibility requirements that must be met to claim an non-married partner as a tax dependent. Here’s the four tests that the dependent must satisfy to be listed on your tax return…
To be claimed as a tax dependent your partner must be a permanent member of your household. There are some exceptions for temporary absences – they will not lose the status due to vacations or medical treatments – but your home must be listed as their official residence for the entire year.
The tax dependency status is essentially a tax break for those who have other people depending on them financially. This means that your non-married partner cannot be claimed as a tax dependent if they had a 2022 gross income of more than $4,400.
This threshold changes year-to-year but it is designed to prevent those with their own earnings to be claimed as a dependent. Gross income includes any income that is subject to federal taxations, i.e. wages, investment earnings, interest payments.
You must be able to prove that your partner does depend on your financially. This means that you must have provided them with at least half of their total support, which includes food, clothing, shelter, education and any medical or dental expenses.
The exact boundaries of ‘support’ can be subjective, but this handy worksheet outlines the main areas of expense that can be included.
Your tax dependent must satisfy the definition of ‘qualifying resident’ mentioned above, which is essentially any familial relation or non-married partner. Each individual can only be claimed as a tax dependent on one person’s tax filing.
If you want to claim your boyfriend or girlfriend as a tax dependent then you will need to ensure that they are not listed as a dependent to anyone else. However if they were a tax dependent elsewhere in a previous tax year, you can move them to your filing.