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My annual tax question
Old 04-04-2016, 10:13 PM   #1
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My annual tax question

Hi all,

My 21 year old son filed taxes for the first time this year.

After he filed, I realized that he/we made a mistake: I thought I could claim him as a dependent on my return but it turns out I cannot because he did not meet the 5 month full time student criterion.

This mistake means that his entry on form 1040 line 6a is zero but should be 1 and his entries on line 40 and 42 are too low. Line 41 is also wrong as a result.

However, on both the return he already filed and on an amended return, line 43 is zero, and the remainder of the return is identical and correct.

Does he need to file an amended return in this situation? I would prefer not to just to avoid the paperwork hassle, and the IRS instructions are not clear enough to seem to require it.

(I haven't filed my return yet, but when I do so I will correctly not claim him as a dependent.)
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Old 04-04-2016, 11:10 PM   #2
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Did he contribute to a Traditional IRA that he can recharacterize as a Roth IRA since he has more deductions? With no tax, a Roth IRA would be the way to go. Otherwise, with 0 taxable income originally and amended, I would not think he would need to file the amended return.
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Old 04-04-2016, 11:12 PM   #3
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Is he paying State tax , as often States use the number of Federal exemptions to determine a State deduction from income. This would be a reason to amend.

If it has no effect on taxable amount and since his taxable income is zero, I would not bother to amend as I don't think it's mandatory you take the exemptions.
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Old 04-05-2016, 01:42 AM   #4
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If the change doesn't change his tax liability, you don't need to file an amended return.
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Old 04-05-2016, 01:51 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SecondCor521 View Post
Hi all,

My 21 year old son filed taxes for the first time this year.

After he filed, I realized that he/we made a mistake: I thought I could claim him as a dependent on my return but it turns out I cannot because he did not meet the 5 month full time student criterion.

....

(I haven't filed my return yet, but when I do so I will correctly not claim him as a dependent.)
Did son have gross income $<4000?

If so, you might be able to claim him as a qualifying relative instead of a qualifying child?

There are no age or student restrictions to claim a deduction for a "qualifying relative" if the other conditions are met.

From Pub 17: https://www.irs.gov/publications/p17/ch03.html#en_US_2015_publink1000170933

Quote:
Qualifying Relative

Four tests must be met for a person to be your qualifying relative. The four tests are:
  1. Not a qualifying child test,
  2. Member of household or relationship test,
  3. Gross income test, and
  4. Support test.
Age. Unlike a qualifying child, a qualifying relative can be any age. There is no age test for a qualifying relative.
From your description, he already meets the first two tests. Did son have gross income < $4000 and did you provide more than half of sons support throughout the calendar year?

-gauss
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Old 04-05-2016, 10:58 AM   #6
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Thanks, everyone.

@NO2L84ER, he contributed to a Roth IRA for 2015.

@Sunset, he did pay some state tax via withholding and did also file a state tax return to get that refunded to him as his state tax liability for 2015 was also zero. In our state, his standard deduction amount is figured identically to his federal standard deduction amount.

@Onward, thanks.

@gauss, I understand where you are going with this. Unfortunately he made more than $4000 last year so he does not meet all the tests for a qualifying relative.
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