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Dependency exemptions: The returning son

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in Small Business Tax

Q. My child, who graduated from college in 2004, has had trouble finding a full-time job. He’s moved back into our house temporarily. Can I claim a dependency exemption for him for ’06 if we didn’t in ’05? L.R., Greensboro, N.C.

A. Yes. You’re not required to have claimed your child as a dependent in the prior year; each year is treated separately. But you still must meet the usual requirements for dependency exemptions. For instance, you must provide more than half of your child’s support, and he can’t have more than the personal exemption amount ($3,300 for 2006) in gross income. Note: The gross income test doesn’t apply to a child between ages 19 and 24 if the child is a fulltime student. Tip: You can claim an exemption for your child even if he doesn’t live in your household, assuming all the other rules are met.

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