It seems pretty simple: Junior lives under your roof, eats your groceries, drives your car, uses your health insurance, etc. He is your dependent...or is he?
In order to qualify as a qualifying child, Junior must either be under the age of 19 on December 31 and NOT provide over half of his own support, or be under 24 at the end of the year and a ful- time student for any part of 5 calendar months during the year or be any age and totally and permanently disabled.
If Junior fails to be a dependant as a qualifying child, he may still be a qualifying relative. The biggest catch here is that Junior has to have Gross Income of less than $3800 for 2012. That equates to 462 hours at minimum wage, which is not a lot of time spent working during the year.
There are several additional tests to be passed before Junior qualifies as your dependent. The law is also clear that if you can claim Junior, Junior cannot claim himself, even if you chose not to claim him.
Please bring in the W2’s of your possible dependents with you. We will prepare their returns for free if they qualify as your dependent and for a reduced rate if they do not. Every year we amend dozens of returns because parents and kids did not get this right!