As you know, we have lobbied extensively over the years for simplification of the Internal Revenue Code, Congress responded several years ago with the Working Families Tax Relief Act (orWFTRA to those of you with unique tongue structure).
The Act attempted to simplify the definition of a dependent child (to our knowledge, no occupants of hospital delivery rooms were consulted). This simplification effort resulted in two definitions – a qualifying child and a qualifying relative.
A qualifying child can be, among other things, either your son, daughter, adopted child, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, half-brother,half-sister, stepbrother, stepsister or a descendent of any of these (e .g., grandchild, nephew, niece).
If you do not see the “‘child” you like, perhaps you can find a qualifying relative. A qualifying relative can be, among other things, your father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, aunt, uncle, stepfather, stepmother, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, father-in-law, mother-in- law, brother-in-law or sister-in-law.
Not included in either category is a cousin. A cousin could still be a qualifying relative since that definition also includes any other person who lived with you all year as a member of your household. In other words, a qualifying relative does not have to be a relative.
If you have questions about any of your relatives, please feel free to call one of our professionals. We can prepare their tax returns also.