As tax season approaches, many people are wondering if they can claim themselves as a dependent on their tax return. Claiming yourself as a dependent can have implications for your taxes and potentially impact the size of your refund. In this article, we will explore the rules around claiming yourself on taxes and how it can affect your bottom line.
Before we dive into whether or not you can claim yourself, let’s first define what it means to be claimed as a dependent. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), a dependent is someone who relies on another person for financial support. Dependents can include children under 19 years old or full-time students under 24 years old, elderly parents who live with you, and other relatives who meet certain criteria.
When someone claims you as a dependent on their tax return, they are essentially saying that they provided more than half of your financial support throughout the year.
Can You Claim Yourself on Taxes?
The short answer is no – if someone else has already claimed you as a dependent. However, if no one else has claimed you as a dependent – including parents or guardians – then yes, you can claim yourself on your own tax return.
It’s important to note that even if someone else does claim you as a dependent but doesn’t actually provide more than half of your financial support during the year (for example, if they incorrectly assume that they qualify based solely on relationship), this does not give you permission to also claim yourself.
You must have actually provided more than half of your own financial support during the year in order to legally and accurately claim yourself.
Why Claim Yourself?
So why would anyone want to go through all this trouble just to be able to say “I supported myself last year”? There are several reasons why you might want to claims yourself on your tax return:
Higher Standard Deduction
If you are not claimed as a dependent and no one else can claim you, then you get to take the full personal exemption amount when filing your taxes. This means that for tax year 2020, if no one else can claim you as a dependent, you can reduce your taxable income by $12,400.
Eligibility for Certain Credits
Certain tax credits – like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) – are only available to those who are not claimed as dependents on someone else’s tax return.
Increase in Refund
Claiming yourself may also result in a larger tax refund compared to what you would receive if someone else claimed you as a dependent.
What If You’re Already Claimed?
If someone has already claimed you as a dependent but they did not actually provide more than half of your financial support during the year, they will need to file an amended return with the IRS indicating that they made an error.
However, it’s important to remember that even if this is done and no longer prevents them from qualifying for certain deductions or credits themselves based on relationship (such as Head of Household status), it still does not give permission for anyone else – including yourself – to legally claim yourself.
When it comes time to file your taxes this year, make sure that everyone who claims dependents does so accurately according to the rules outlined by the Internal Revenue Service. While claiming yourself may seem like a small detail in the grand scheme of things, it could potentially have implications for both yourself and others who may be counting on receiving certain deductions or credits based on their own relationships with qualifying dependents.
By understanding how being claimed as a dependent works and applying these rules appropriately when filing your taxes throughout 2020 and beyond will help maximize the refund you receive and ensure compliance with IRS guidelines. Keep in mind that claiming yourself is just one aspect of your tax return and there are many other factors to consider when preparing for the upcoming tax season.
Q1. Can I claim myself as a dependent on my taxes? A: No, you cannot claim yourself as a dependent on your tax return. The reason being that the definition of a dependent is someone who relies on someone else for financial support, such as a child or elderly parent. Since you provide financial support for yourself, you cannot be claimed as a dependent.
Q2. How does claiming myself affect my tax refund? A: Claiming yourself as an exemption reduces your taxable income by the amount of the personal exemption deduction (which was $4,050 in 2017). This may result in a lower tax bill or higher refund depending on your overall tax liability.
Q3. What happens if someone else claims me as their dependent without permission? A: If someone else claims you as their dependent without permission and they do not have the legal right to do so (i.e., they are not providing at least half of your financial support), then you will need to file Form 14039 with the IRS and report identity theft/fraudulent use of your social security number. Additionally, this person may be subject to penalties from the IRS for falsely claiming dependents.