How to Claim Your Girlfriend on Your Taxes if She Lives With You
Around tax time, men who support their girlfriends or fiancées often ask, "Can I claim my girlfriend on my taxes?" The good news is you might be able to claim her, as well as any children of hers that you are fully supporting. You could also get a nice refund from this.
The Census Bureau reported that there are almost 5 million opposite-sex couples living together without marriage. Some of these relationships undoubtedly have one partner supporting the other, especially in light of the difficult economy, or especially if one partner is a college student.
So, the answer is yes, you can claim your girlfriend or fiancée on your taxes provided she meets certain qualifications. Here is how to do it. Included also is an estimate of how much you can get back from the IRS for claiming your girlfriend.
Can I Claim My Girlfriend on My Taxes?
The answer is yes, if:
- Cohabitation between unmarried, unrelated men and women is legal in your state. It is against the law in Florida, Michigan, Mississippi, and Virginia for unmarried opposite-sex couples to live together. Even though the laws are not enforced, the IRS does not want to entertain the violation of any state laws, even on paper. So if you live in one of those four states, you will not be able to claim her. In the 46 other states, unmarried cohabitation will not keep you from being able to claim her.
- Your girlfriend or fiancée is not required to file her own tax form. This means she must have made less than $3,800 in income from all sources (such as wages, unemployment, tips, dividends) or if she is a freelancer or independent contractor (for example sells products on eBay, gives piano lessons, etc.), she must have made less than $600. Unfortunately, the IRS has a low income threshold for small business filings! She will be aware of how much income she made based on the 1099-MISC or 1099-K forms that are sent to her during tax time.
- She lived with you all year, and you supported her all year. Basically, if you fed her, sheltered her, and clothed her during the entire 12-month period, that is a yes. If she was a student she can still have received financial aid for school, such as Pell grants and state grants, without it affecting your taxes.
- She is not claimed as a dependent on anyone else's tax forms. This means her parents, ex-husband, grown children, etc., cannot claim her, and she cannot claim an exemption for herself either (if she chose to fill out a tax form anyway).
How Do I Claim My Girlfriend or Fiancee on My Taxes?
Depending upon whether you file electronically or on paper, the wording of the term might be different. Look for terms such as "other qualifying relative", "other qualifying relationship", "other qualifying dependent." In an electronic tax-filing program, the option is usually at the end of a list of relationship types. You would place her child or children in this same category, if she has any.
How Much Can I Get Back from the IRS If I Claim My Girlfriend and Her Child as Dependents?
Every dependent reduces your taxable income by $4,050. The Federal tax on that $4,050 will likely be 10 to 15%. So this means you will likely get back $400 to $600 for claiming her, and the same figure goes for her child/children. This is in addition to whatever you are already owed.
You will not, however, be able to claim the earned income credit or the child tax credit (unless your relationship changes in the future (such as adopting her child or marrying your girlfriend that has custody).
Do you financially support your significant other?
What You Need to Know About Claiming a Girlfriend or Boyfriend
- This same information applies to women who ask if they can claim their boyfriend on their taxes.
- Unmarried same-sex couples could possibly claim each other more easily, as there are fewer laws against unrelated people of the same sex living together.
- You can also get tax credits for paying for your dependent's college education, as long as you receive the tax forms in your name from the educational institution.
- You cannot get a student loan interest deduction for your girlfriend if the student loan is not in your name to begin with. Some partners help their girlfriends pay back their loans as a personal favor, but in the eyes of the tax man only a debtor can earn a benefit from a debt.
- Marriage still allows more benefits, such as shared healthcare plans, IRAs for non-working spouses, and shared deductions across most categories when filing jointly.
Note: I am not a tax adviser or accountant.
Questions & Answers
Can I claim both my girlfriend and my child at the same time?
Yes, you should be able to do this if they both live with you.
My girlfriend qualifies as my dependent. She had a net loss of income. How do I show her income loss on my taxes if I must?
If you're talking about business losses, I think you can claim her as a dependent (without losses). Otherwise, she has to file her own taxes with a Schedule C.
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