How you know whether you can claim someone as a dependent on you tax return:
There are five (5) special rules that must all be satisfied to claim someone as a dependent on your tax return:
1. Citizenship: The person you want to claim as a dependent must be a citizen of the United States or resident of the United States, Canada or Mexico. The child of a U.S. citizen is U.S. citizen even if he or she is born in a foreign country. Any child born in the U.S. is a U.S. citizen even if the parents are not U.S. citizens. If you adopt a child from a foreign country, the child becomes a U.S. citizen when he or she arrives in the U.S. If you are adopting a child from a foreign country, the child must live with you in the U.S. the entire year to qualify as your dependent.
2. Relationship: The person you want to claim, as a dependent must either be related to you or live with you the entire year
3. No Joint Return Filed by Dependent: The person you want to claim as a dependent cannot file a joint tax return, unless the person and his or her spouse did not have to file a tax return, and would not owe any taxes if he or she had filed separate form his or her spouse.
4. Income Limits (“Gross Income Test”): The person you want to claim as your dependent may not have had gross income of more than $2800 in 2000, except if the person is under 19 at the end of the year, or under age 24 at the end of the year, and is a full-time student for five calendar months of the year. Also, nontaxable scholarship money spent of tuition, books, and required fees is not counted.
If the person is permanently and totally disabled and earns money from a tax-exempt workshop or government program, that money is not counted toward this test.
Gross business profit and total rental income is counted. You can’t deduct the expenses of running the business or rental property.
5. Support: You must provide more than half the support for the person you want to claim as a dependent.