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If someone else claims me as a dependent, what does that mean for me?

Fresno, CA |

I am recently divorced and have been staying with a friend since Dec. 6, 2012. I did not work until April and now it is only part time. I am soon to receive a $7500.00 payment from my ex-husband. My friend has not charged me for rent or bills, but I do give her money for food and also buy most of my own food. She informed me today she and her husband are claiming me as a dependent next tax season. What does that mean for me? I make less than $1000.00 a month but with the $7500.00 I am now afraid I will owe the IRS more than I can afford. I live in California.

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Attorney answers 2


I don't believe they have the legal right to claim you for many different reasons. Send them a certified letter indicating that you do not want to be claimed as their dependent, and that will be filing and claiming yourself.

Hope this helps!
Phillip M. Smith Jr.
Los Angeles Tax & Business Attorney
Licensed in the United States Tax Court
Main: 323-292-4116 ❘ Cell: 562-505-1004

THESE COMMENTS ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE. They are provided for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be provided after consultation by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. The answer to question does not create an attorney-client relationship or otherwise require further consultation. Mr. Smith is licensed to practice law throughout the state of California with offices in Los Angeles County. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States, and is also licensed to practice before the United States Tax Court. His phone number is 323-292-4116 or his email address is



Thank you. They allowed me to stay with them until I get my feet back on the ground. Now that it has been 7 months, they feel they should be entitled to claim me as a dependent since I haven't given them much money over the past 7 months. I just feel this would really hurt me financially at tax time.

Phillip Monroe Smith

Phillip Monroe Smith


If you earn enough money, they would not be able to claim you in any event. See your tax adviser for a detailed explanation of the dependency tax rules.

Andrew Zachary Arnett

Andrew Zachary Arnett


Phillip is correct. The fact that they "feel entitled" does NOT mean that "they are" entitled to claim you. It's not up to you either. When the law is applied to the facts you described, they can't claim you (your gross income is too high). You will claim an exemption for yourself. I wish you the best in moving forward with an arrangement that is acceptable to both you and your friends.


Mr. Smith is correct - here are the specific requirements for dependent qualification. Not sure you meet any of them as to your friend.

Good luck.

Evan A. Nielsen is licensed to practice law in California and handles federal tax matters throughout the U.S. The information provided here is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice for a particular matter. This response does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult an attorney.

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