A single person can claim two dependents on a tax return if the dependents meet the necessary Internal Revenue Service guidelines. Qualifying children, elderly parents and disabled adults are considered dependents when filing a tax return, even if the single filer is unmarried or divorced. If another person is claiming the dependents on her tax return, then you cannot claim those same dependents on your tax return.
A single person can claim two dependents on an annual tax return if he is unmarried on the last day of the tax year. As long you are single or legally divorced on the last day of the tax year, you can still claim two dependents on your tax return. In most cases, the best filing status is head of household, because you receive a lower tax rate on your income.
According to IRS tax year 2010 guidelines, in order to file as a single taxpayer and still claim two dependents on your tax return, you must maintain a household that is the principal living quarters for the eligible dependents. In a divorce situation, if you have legal custody of one or more dependents for more than 1/2 of the year and you pay the housing expenses for those individuals, you can claim them on your 1040 federal tax return.
Qualifying Student or Parent
In order to claim two dependents on your single tax return, they must meet the qualifying person criteria established by the IRS. If a dependent is a college student who lives away from home most of the year due to her academic studies, she can still be claimed as a dependent on your tax return, provided she meets a certain income threshold. If the qualifying person is a dependent parent, he does not have to live with you in your home, but you you must pay more than 1/2 of his household living expenses for the year.
Legally Considered Unmarried
If you are still married, but are legally considered unmarried, you can file single status and claim two dependents on your tax return as long as you meet IRS guidelines. You and your spouse must file separately in order to file as head of household and claim two dependents. In addition, your spouse must have lived outside the home during the last six months of the year. Your spouse cannot claim the two dependents on his tax return.
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