Internal Revenue Service United States Department of the Treasury
Level Basic Advanced Military International

Dependency Exemptions

Qualifying Relative Tests

Member of Household or Relationship Test

Probe/Action: Ask the Taxpayer:

Was the person your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, or a descendant of any of them (i.e., your grandchild)? OR

Was the person your brother, sister, half brother, half sister, or a son or daughter of any of them (i.e., your niece or nephew)? OR

Was the person your father, mother, or an ancestor or sibling of either of them (i.e., your grandmother, grandfather, aunt, or uncle)? OR

Was the person your stepbrother, stepsister, stepfather, stepmother, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law?

If NO, go to Step 3.

If YES, go to Step 4.

Note: The relatives listed in Step 2 are considered "Relatives who do not have to live with you."

To meet this test, the person must either:

  • Live as a member of the taxpayer's household all year, or
  • Be related to the taxpayer in one of the following ways:
    • Child, stepchild, foster child or a descendant of any of them
    • Brother, sister, half brother, half sister, stepbrother or stepsister
    • Father, mother, grandparent or other direct ancestor, but not foster parent
    • Stepfather or stepmother
    • Son or daughter of the taxpayer's brother or sister (nephew or niece)
    • Son or daughter of the taxpayer’s half-brother or half-sister
    • Brother or sister of the taxpayer's father or mother (uncle or aunt)
    • Son-in-law, daughter-in-law, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law

Any of these relationships that were established by marriage are not ended by death or divorce.

Example

Susan and Ted are married and file a joint return. They supported Ted's parents throughout the tax year. Even though Ted's parents do not live with Ted and Susan, Ted's parents meet the member of household or relationship test.