These rules enable you claim a child as a dependent.
To be claimed as a qualifying child, the person must meet four criteria:
Relationship — the person must be your child, step child, adopted child, foster child, brother or sister, or a descendant of one of these (for example, a grandchild or nephew).
Residence — for more than half the year, the person must have the same residence as you do.
Age — the person must be
•under age 19 at the end of the year, or
•under age 24 and a be a full-time student for at least five months out of the year, or
•any age and totally and permanently disabled.
Support — the person did not provide more than half of his or her own support during the year.
Some Tips about Claiming Qualifying Children
The qualifying child must live with you for more than half the year. More than half a year means, at minimum, six months and one day. If you share custody, you may want to keep a log of where the child spends the night in your calendar or day planner.
The new rules state that the qualifying child must not provide more than half of his or her own support. This is different from the old rules. Under the old rules, the taxpayer had to provide over half the support for the child. The change makes it easier for families relying on public assistance, charity, and gifts from family members to claim a dependent.
You might still be able to claim the child as a qualifying relative if the child does not meet the criteria to be a qualifying child. But the qualifying child rules always prevail over the qualifying relative rules. So you'll want to make sure the dependent would not qualify as a qualifying child for someone else before claiming a qualifying relative on your tax return.