Pub 501 PDF Details

The Pub 501 form is a document used to report the financial information of a business. This form is used to report income, expenses, and profits for a business. The pub 501 form is also used to report any liabilities or assets that the business may have. This form is required for businesses who file taxes as a corporation. It is important to understand how this form works and what needs to be reported in order to avoid penalties from the IRS. For more information on the pub 501 form, please contact an accountant or tax specialist.

If you want to first understand how much time you will need to complete the pub 501 and how many pages it has, here's some general data that will be useful.

QuestionAnswer
Form NamePub 501
Form Length29 pages
Fillable?No
Fillable fields0
Avg. time to fill out7 min 15 sec
Other namesfiling, 501, federal publication 501, irs pub 501

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Department of the Treasury

Internal

Revenue

Service

Jan 10, 2022

Publication 501

Cat. No. 15000U

Dependents,

Standard

Deduction,

and Filing

Information

For use in preparing 2021 Returns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Contents

 

What's New

. . . . . 1

Reminders

. . . . . 1

Introduction

. . . . . 2

Who Must File

. . . . . 2

Who Should File

. . . . . 5

Filing Status

. . . . . 5

Dependents

. . . . 11

Social Security Numbers for

 

Dependents

. . . . 22

Standard Deduction

. . . . 23

2021 Standard Deduction Tables

. . . . 24

How To Get Tax Help

. . . . 26

Index

. . . . 29

What's New

Who must file. In some cases, the amount of income you can receive before you must file a tax return has increased. Table 1 shows the fil- ing requirements for most taxpayers.

Standard deduction increased. The stand- ard deduction for taxpayers who don't itemize their deductions on Schedule A of Form 1040 or 1040-SR is higher for 2021 than it was for 2020. The amount depends on your filing status. You can use the 2021 Standard Deduction Tables near the end of this publication to figure your standard deduction.

Charitable contribution deduction. In 2021, you are allowed a charitable contribution de- duction for cash contributions of up to $300 ($600 if your filing status is married filing jointly) if you don't itemize your deductions. For more information, see Line 12b in the Instructions for Form 1040.

Reminders

Future developments. Information about any future developments affecting Pub. 501 (such as legislation enacted after we release it) will be posted at IRS.gov/Pub501.

Taxpayer identification number for aliens. If you are a nonresident or resident alien and you don't have and aren't eligible to get a social security number (SSN), you must apply for an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). Your spouse may also need an ITIN if he or she doesn't have and isn't eligible to get an SSN. See Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. Also see So- cial Security Numbers for Dependents, later.

Photographs of missing children. The Inter- nal Revenue Service is a proud partner with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC). Photographs of missing

Table 1. 2021 Filing Requirements Chart for Most Taxpayers

 

 

THEN file a return

 

AND at the end of 2021 you

if your gross

IF your filing status is...

income was at

were...*

least...**

single

under 65

$12,550

 

65 or older

$14,250

head of household

under 65

$18,800

 

65 or older

$20,500

married, filing jointly***

under 65 (both spouses)

$25,100

 

65 or older (one spouse)

$26,450

 

65 or older (both spouses)

$27,800

married, filing separately

any age

$5

qualifying widow(er)

under 65

$25,100

 

65 or older

$26,450

*If you were born before January 2, 1957, you're considered to be 65 or older at the end of 2021. (If your spouse died in 2021, see Death of spouse, later. If you're preparing a return for someone who died in 2021, see Death of taxpayer, later.

**Gross income means all income you receive in the form of money, goods, property, and services that isn't exempt from tax, including any income from sources outside the United States or from the sale of your main home (even if you can exclude part or all of it). Don't include any social security benefits unless (a) you're married filing a separate return and you lived with your spouse at any time during 2021, or (b) one-half of your social security benefits plus your other gross income and any tax-exempt interest is more than $25,000 ($32,000 if married filing jointly). If (a) or (b) applies, see the Form 1040 and 1040-SR instructions to figure the taxable part of social security benefits you must include in gross income. Gross income includes gains, but not losses, reported on Form 8949 or Schedule D. Gross income from a business means, for example, the amount on Schedule C, line 7; or Schedule F, line 9. But in figuring gross income, don't reduce your income by any losses, including any loss on Schedule C, line 7; or Schedule F, line 9.

***If you didn't live with your spouse at the end of 2021 (or on the date your spouse died) and your gross income was at least $5, you must file a return regardless of your age.

Nonresident aliens. If you were a nonresident alien at any time during the year, the rules and tax forms that apply to you may be different from those that apply to U.S. citizens. See Pub. 519.

Comments and suggestions. We welcome your comments about this publication and sug- gestions for future editions.

You can send us comments through IRS.gov/FormComments. Or, you can write to the Internal Revenue Service, Tax Forms and Publications, 1111 Constitution Ave. NW, IR-6526, Washington, DC 20224.

Although we can’t respond individually to each comment received, we do appreciate your feedback and will consider your comments and suggestions as we revise our tax forms, instruc- tions, and publications. Don’t send tax ques- tions, tax returns, or payments to the above ad- dress.

Getting answers to your tax questions. If you have a tax question not answered by this publication or the How To Get Tax Help section at the end of this publication, go to the IRS In- teractive Tax Assistant page at IRS.gov/ Help/ITA where you can find topics by using the search feature or viewing the categories listed.

Getting tax forms, instructions, and pub- lications. Go to IRS.gov/Forms to download current and prior-year forms, instructions, and publications.

Ordering tax forms, instructions, and publications. Go to IRS.gov/OrderForms to order current forms, instructions, and publica- tions; call 800-829-3676 to order prior-year forms and instructions. The IRS will process your order for forms and publications as soon as possible. Don’t resubmit requests you’ve al- ready sent us. You can get forms and publica- tions faster online.

Useful Items

You may want to see:

children selected by the Center may appear in this publication on pages that would otherwise be blank. You can help bring these children home by looking at the photographs and calling 800-THE-LOST (800-843-5678) if you recog- nize a child.

Introduction

This publication discusses some tax rules that affect every person who may have to file a fed- eral income tax return. It answers some basic questions: who must file, who should file, what filing status to use, and the amount of the stand- ard deduction.

Who Must File explains who must file an in- come tax return. If you have little or no gross in- come, reading this section will help you decide if you have to file a return.

Who Should File helps you decide if you should file a return, even if you aren't required to do so.

Filing Status helps you determine which fil- ing status to use. Filing status is important in determining whether you must file a return and whether you may claim certain deductions and

credits. It also helps determine your standard deduction and tax rate.

Dependents explains the difference be- tween a qualifying child and a qualifying rela- tive. Other topics include the social security number requirement for dependents, the rules for multiple support agreements, and the rules for divorced or separated parents.

Standard Deduction gives the rules and dol- lar amounts for the standard deduction—a ben- efit for taxpayers who don't itemize their deduc- tions. This section also discusses the standard deduction for taxpayers who are blind or age 65 or older, as well as special rules that limit the standard deduction available to dependents. In addition, this section helps you decide whether you would be better off taking the standard de- duction or itemizing your deductions.

How To Get Tax Help explains how to get tax help from the IRS.

This publication is for U.S. citizens and resi- dent aliens only. If you are a resident alien for the entire year, you must follow the same tax rules that apply to U.S. citizens. The rules to de- termine if you are a resident or nonresident alien are discussed in chapter 1 of Pub. 519.

Publication

559 Survivors, Executors, and Administrators

929 Tax Rules for Children and Dependents

Form (and Instructions)

1040-X Amended U.S. Individual Income

Tax Return

2848 Power of Attorney and Declaration

of Representative

8332 Release/Revocation of Release of

Claim to Exemption for Child by

Custodial Parent

8814 Parents' Election To Report Child's

Interest and Dividends

Who Must File

If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien, whether you must file a federal income tax re- turn depends on your gross income, your filing

Page 2

Publication 501 (2021)

status, your age, and whether you are a de- pendent. For details, see Table 1 and Table 2. You must also file if one of the situations descri- bed in Table 3 applies. The filing requirements apply even if you owe no tax.

You may have to pay a penalty if you are re- quired to file a return but fail to do so. If you will- fully fail to file a return, you may be subject to criminal prosecution.

Gross income. Gross income is all income you receive in the form of money, goods, prop- erty, and services that isn't exempt from tax. If you are married and live with your spouse in a community property state, half of any income defined by state law as community income may be considered yours. For a list of community property states, see Community property states under Married Filing Separately, later.

Self-employed persons. If you are self-employed in a business that provides serv- ices (where products aren't a factor), your gross income from that business is the gross receipts. If you are self-employed in a business involving manufacturing, merchandising, or mining, your gross income from that business is the total sales minus the cost of goods sold. In either case, you must add any income from invest- ments and from incidental or outside operations or sources.

Filing status. Your filing status generally de- pends on whether you are single or married. Whether you are single or married is deter- mined at the end of your tax year, which is De- cember 31 for most taxpayers. Filing status is discussed in detail later in this publication.

Age. Age is a factor in determining if you must file a return only if you are 65 or older at the end of your tax year. For 2021, you are 65 or older if you were born before January 2, 1957.

Filing Requirements for Most Taxpayers

You must file a return if your gross income for the year was at least the amount shown on the appropriate line in Table 1. Dependents should see Table 2 instead.

Deceased Persons

You must file an income tax return for a dece- dent (a person who died) if both of the following are true.

1.You are the surviving spouse, executor, administrator, or legal representative.

2.The decedent met the filing requirements described in this publication at the time of his or her death.

For more information, see Final Income Tax Return for Decedent—Form 1040 or 1040-SR in Pub. 559.

Death of spouse. If your spouse died in 2021, read this before using Table 1 or Table 2 to find whether you must file a 2021 return. Consider your spouse to be 65 or older at the end of 2021 only if he or she was 65 or older at the time of

Publication 501 (2021)

death. Even if your spouse was born before January 2, 1957, he or she isn't considered 65 or older at the end of 2021 unless he or she was 65 or older at the time of death.

A person is considered to reach age 65 on the day before his or her 65th birthday.

Example. Your spouse was born on Febru- ary 14, 1956, and died on February 13, 2021. Your spouse is considered age 65 at the time of death. However, if your spouse died on Febru- ary 12, 2021, your spouse isn't considered age 65 at the time of death and is not 65 or older at the end of 2021.

Death of taxpayer. If you are preparing a re- turn for someone who died in 2021, read this before using Table 1 or Table 2. Consider the taxpayer to be 65 or older at the end of 2021 only if he or she was 65 or older at the time of death. Even if the taxpayer was born before January 2, 1957, he or she isn't considered 65 or older at the end of 2021 unless he or she was 65 or older at the time of death.

A person is considered to reach age 65 on the day before his or her 65th birthday.

U.S. Citizens or Resident Aliens Living Abroad

To determine whether you must file a return, in- clude in your gross income any income you earned or received abroad, including any in- come you can exclude under the foreign earned income exclusion. For more information on spe- cial tax rules that may apply to you, see Pub. 54.

Residents of Puerto Rico

If you are a U.S. citizen and also a bona fide resident of Puerto Rico, you must generally file a U.S. income tax return for any year in which you meet the income requirements. This is in addition to any legal requirement you may have to file an income tax return with Puerto Rico.

If you are a bona fide resident of Puerto Rico for the whole year, your U.S. gross income doesn't include income from sources within Pu- erto Rico. It does, however, include any income you received for your services as an employee of the United States or any U.S. agency. If you receive income from Puerto Rican sources that isn't subject to U.S. tax, you must reduce your standard deduction, which reduces the amount of income you can have before you must file a U.S. income tax return.

For more information, see Pub. 570, Tax Guide for Individuals With Income From U.S. Possessions.

Individuals With Income From U.S. Possessions

If you had income from Guam, the Common- wealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Ameri- can Samoa, or the U.S. Virgin Islands, special rules may apply when determining whether you

must file a U.S. federal income tax return. In ad- dition, you may have to file a return with the in- dividual possession government. See Pub. 570 for more information.

Dependents

A person who is a dependent may still have to file a return. It depends on his or her earned in- come, unearned income, and gross income. For details, see Table 2. A dependent must also file if one of the situations described in Table 3 applies.

Responsibility of parent. If a dependent child must file an income tax return but can't file due to age or any other reason, a parent, guardian, or other legally responsible person must file it for the child. If the child can't sign the return, the parent or guardian must sign the child's name followed by the words “By (your signature), pa- rent for minor child.”

Earned income. Earned income includes sal- aries, wages, professional fees, and other amounts received as pay for work you actually perform. Earned income (only for purposes of filing requirements and the standard deduction) also includes any part of a taxable scholarship. See chapter 1 of Pub. 970 for more information on taxable and nontaxable scholarships.

Child's earnings. Amounts a child earns by performing services are included in his or her gross income and not the gross income of the parent. This is true even if under local law the child's parent has the right to the earnings and may actually have received them. But if the child doesn't pay the tax due on this income, the parent is liable for the tax.

Unearned income. Unearned income in- cludes income such as interest, dividends, and capital gains. Trust distributions of interest, divi- dends, capital gains, and survivor annuities are also considered unearned income.

Election to report child's unearned income on parent's return. You may be able to in- clude your child's interest and dividend income on your tax return. If you do this, your child won't have to file a return. To make this elec- tion, all of the following conditions must be met.

Your child was under age 19 (or under age 24 if a student) at the end of 2021. (A child born on January 1, 2003, is considered to be age 19 at the end of 2021; you can't make the election for this child unless the child was a student. Similarly, a child born on January 1, 1998, is considered to be age 24 at the end of 2021; you can't make the election for this child.)

Your child had gross income only from in- terest and dividends (including capital gain distributions and Alaska Permanent Fund dividends).

The interest and dividend income was less than $11,000.

Your child is required to file a return for 2021 unless you make this election.

Your child doesn't file a joint return for 2021.

Page 3

Table 2. 2021 Filing Requirements for Dependents

See Dependents to find out if you are a dependent.

If your parent (or someone else) can claim you as a dependent, use this table to see if you must file a return.

In this table, unearned income includes taxable interest, ordinary dividends, and capital gain distributions. It also includes unemployment compensation, taxable social security benefits, pensions, annuities, and distributions of unearned income from a trust. Earned income includes salaries, wages, tips, professional fees, and taxable scholarship and fellowship grants. Gross income is the total of your unearned and earned income.

!If your gross income was $4,300 or more, you usually can't be claimed as a dependent unless you are a qualifying child. For details, see Dependents.

CAUTION

Single dependents—Were you either age 65 or older or blind?

No. You must file a return if any of the following apply.

1.Your unearned income was more than $1,100.

2.Your earned income was more than $12,550.

3.Your gross income was more than the larger of—

a.$1,100, or

b.Your earned income (up to $12,200) plus $350.

Yes. You must file a return if any of the following apply.

1.Your unearned income was more than $2,800 ($4,500 if 65 or older and blind).

2.Your earned income was more than $14,250 ($15,950 if 65 or older and blind).

3.Your gross income was more than the larger of—

a.$2,800 ($4,500 if 65 or older and blind), or

b.Your earned income (up to $12,200) plus $2,050 ($3,750 if 65 or older and blind).

Married dependents—Were you either age 65 or older or blind?

No. You must file a return if any of the following apply.

1.Your gross income was at least $5 and your spouse files a separate return and itemizes deductions.

2.Your unearned income was more than $1,100.

3.Your earned income was more than $12,550.

4.Your gross income was more than the larger of—

a.$1,100, or

b.Your earned income (up to $12,200) plus $350.

Yes. You must file a return if any of the following apply.

1.Your gross income was at least $5 and your spouse files a separate return and itemizes deductions.

2.Your unearned income was more than $2,450 ($3,800 if 65 or older and blind).

3.Your earned income was more than $13,900 ($15,250 if 65 or older and blind).

4.Your gross income was more than the larger of—

a.$2,450 ($3,800 if 65 or older and blind), or

b.Your earned income (up to $12,200) plus $1,700 ($3,050 if 65 or older and blind).

Page 4

Publication 501 (2021)

Table 3. Other Situations When You Must File a 2021 Return

You must file a return if any of the conditions below apply.

1.You owe any special taxes reported on Schedule 2 (Form 1040), including any of the following (see the instructions for Schedule 2 (Form 1040)).

a.Alternative minimum tax.

b.Additional tax on a qualified plan, including an individual retirement arrangement (IRA), or other tax-favored account.

c.Social security or Medicare tax on tips you didn't report to your employer or on wages you received from an employer who didn't withhold these taxes.

d.Uncollected social security, Medicare, or railroad retirement tax on tips you reported to your employer or on group-term life insurance and additional taxes on health savings accounts.

e.Household employment taxes.

f.Recapture taxes.

2.You (or your spouse if filing jointly) received Archer MSA, Medicare Advantage MSA, or health savings account distributions.

3.You had net earnings from self-employment of at least $400.

4.You had wages of $108.28 or more from a church or qualified church-controlled organization that is exempt from employer social security and Medicare taxes.

5.Advance payments of the premium tax credit were made for you, your spouse, or a dependent who enrolled in coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. You or whoever enrolled you should have received Form(s) 1095-A showing the amount of the advance payments.

6.Advance payments of the health coverage tax credit were made for you, your spouse, or a dependent. You or whoever enrolled you should have received Form(s) 1099-H showing the amount of the advance payments.

7.You are required to include amounts in income under section 965 or you have a net tax liability under section 965 that you are paying in installments under section 965(h) or deferred by making an election under section 965(i).

No estimated tax payment was made for 2021 and no 2020 overpayment was ap- plied to 2021 under your child's name and social security number.

No federal income tax was withheld from your child's income under the backup with- holding rules.

You are the parent whose return must be used when making the election to report your child's unearned income.

For more information, see Form 8814 and Parent's Election To Report Child's Interest and Dividends in Pub. 929.

Other Situations

You may have to file a tax return even if your gross income is less than the amount shown in Table 1 or Table 2 for your filing status. See Ta- ble 3 for those other situations when you must file.

Who Should File

Even if you don't have to file, you should file a tax return if you can get money back. For exam- ple, you should file if one of the following ap- plies.

Publication 501 (2021)

1.You had income tax withheld from your pay.

2.You made estimated tax payments for the year or had any of your overpayment for last year applied to this year's estimated tax.

3.You qualify for the earned income credit. See Pub. 596 for more information.

4.You qualify for the refundable child tax credit or additional child tax credit. See the Instructions for Form 1040 for more infor- mation.

5.You qualify for the refundable American opportunity credit. See Form 8863.

6.You qualify for the health coverage tax credit. For information on this credit, see Form 8885.

7.You qualify for the credit for federal tax on fuels. See Form 4136.

8.You qualify for the premium tax credit. See Form 8962.

9.You qualify for the recovery rebate credit. See the instructions for Form 1040,

line 30.

10.You qualify for the credits for sick and fam- ily leave. See Form 7202.

11.You qualify for the credit for child and de- pendent care expenses. See Form 2441.

Form 1099-B received. Even if you aren't re- quired to file a return, you should consider filing if all of the following apply.

You received a Form 1099-B, Proceeds From Broker and Barter Exchange Trans- actions (or substitute statement).

The amount in box 1d of Form 1099-B (or substitute statement), when added to your other gross income, means you have to file a tax return because of the filing require- ment in Table 1 or Table 2 that applies to you.

Box 1e of Form 1099-B (or substitute statement) is blank.

In this case, filing a return may keep you from getting a notice from the IRS.

Filing Status

You must determine your filing status before you can determine whether you must file a tax return, your standard deduction (discussed later), and your tax. You also use your filing sta- tus to determine whether you are eligible to claim certain other deductions and credits.

Page 5

There are five filing statuses.

Single.

Married filing jointly.

Married filing separately.

Head of household.

Qualifying widow(er).

If more than one filing status applies to you, choose the one that will give you the lowest tax.

Marital Status

In general, your filing status depends on whether you are considered unmarried or mar- ried.

Unmarried persons. You are considered un- married for the whole year if, on the last day of your tax year, you are either:

Unmarried, or

Legally separated from your spouse under a divorce or separate maintenance decree.

State law governs whether you are married or legally separated under a divorce or separate maintenance decree.

Divorced persons. If you are divorced un- der a final decree by the last day of the year, you are considered unmarried for the whole year.

Divorce and remarriage. If you obtain a divorce for the sole purpose of filing tax returns as unmarried individuals, and at the time of di- vorce you intend to and do, in fact, remarry each other in the next tax year, you and your spouse must file as married individuals in both years.

Annulled marriages. If you obtain a court decree of annulment, which holds that no valid marriage ever existed, you are considered un- married even if you filed joint returns for earlier years. File amended returns (Form 1040-X) claiming single or head of household status for all tax years that are affected by the annulment and not closed by the statute of limitations for filing a tax return. Generally, for a credit or re- fund, you must file Form 1040-X within 3 years (including extensions) after the date you filed your original return or within 2 years after the date you paid the tax, whichever is later. If you filed your original tax return early (for example, March 1), your return is considered filed on the due date (generally April 15). However, if you had an extension to file (for example, until Octo- ber 15) but you filed earlier and we received it on July 1, your return is considered filed on July 1.

Head of household or qualifying widow(er). If you are considered unmarried, you may be able to file as head of household or as qualifying widow(er). See Head of House- hold and Qualifying Widow(er) to see if you qualify.

Married persons. If you are considered mar- ried, you and your spouse can file a joint return or separate returns.

Considered married. You are considered married for the whole year if, on the last day of your tax year, you and your spouse meet any one of the following tests.

Page 6

1.You are married and living together.

2.You are living together in a common law marriage recognized in the state where you now live or in the state where the com- mon law marriage began.

3.You are married and living apart but not le- gally separated under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance.

4.You are separated under an interlocutory (not final) decree of divorce.

Spouse died during the year. If your spouse died during the year, you are consid- ered married for the whole year for filing status purposes.

If you didn't remarry before the end of the tax year, you can file a joint return for yourself and your deceased spouse. For the next 2 years, you may be entitled to the special bene- fits described, later, under Qualifying Widow(er).

If you remarried before the end of the tax year, you can file a joint return with your new spouse. Your deceased spouse's filing status is married filing separately for that year.

Married persons living apart. If you live apart from your spouse and meet certain tests, you may be able to file as head of household even if you aren't divorced or legally separated. If you qualify to file as head of household in- stead of as married filing separately, your standard deduction will be higher and your tax may be lower. See Head of Household, later.

Single

Your filing status is single if you are considered unmarried and you don't qualify for another fil- ing status. To determine your marital status, see Marital Status, earlier.

Widow(er). Your filing status may be single if you were widowed before January 1, 2021, and didn't remarry before the end of 2021. You may, however, be able to use another filing status that will give you a lower tax. See Head of Household and Qualifying Widow(er), later, to see if you qualify.

On Form 1040 or 1040-SR, show your filing status as single by checking the “Single” box on the Filing Status line at the top of the form. Use the Single column of the Tax Table, or Sec- tion A of the Tax Computation Worksheet, to figure your tax.

Married Filing Jointly

You can choose married filing jointly as your fil- ing status if you are considered married and both you and your spouse agree to file a joint return. On a joint return, you and your spouse report your combined income and deduct your combined allowable expenses. You can file a joint return even if one of you had no income or deductions.

If you and your spouse decide to file a joint return, your tax may be lower than your com- bined tax for the other filing statuses. Also, your standard deduction (if you don't itemize deduc- tions) may be higher, and you may qualify for

tax benefits that don't apply to other filing sta- tuses.

On Form 1040 or 1040-SR, show your filing status as married filing jointly by checking the “Married filing jointly” box on the Filing Status line at top of the form. Use the Married filing jointly column of the Tax Table, or Section B of the Tax Computation Worksheet, to figure your tax.

If you and your spouse each have in- TIP come, you may want to figure your tax both on a joint return and on separate returns (using the filing status of married filing

separately). You can choose the method that gives the two of you the lower combined tax un- less you are required to file separately.

Spouse died. If your spouse died during the year, you are considered married for the whole year and can choose married filing jointly as your filing status. See Spouse died during the year, under Married persons, earlier.

If your spouse died in 2022 before filing a 2021 return, you can choose married filing jointly as your filing status on your 2021 return.

Divorced persons. If you are divorced under a final decree by the last day of the year, you are considered unmarried for the whole year and you can't choose married filing jointly as your fil- ing status.

Filing a Joint Return

Both you and your spouse must include all of your income and deductions on your joint re- turn.

Accounting period. Both of you must use the same accounting period, but you can use differ- ent accounting methods.

Joint responsibility. Both of you may be held responsible, jointly and individually, for the tax and any interest or penalty due on your joint re- turn. This means that if one spouse doesn't pay the tax due, the other may have to. Or, if one spouse doesn't report the correct tax, both spouses may be responsible for any additional taxes assessed by the IRS. One spouse may be held responsible for all the tax due even if all the income was earned by the other spouse.

You may want to file separately if:

You believe your spouse isn't reporting all of his or her income, or

You don't want to be responsible for any taxes due if your spouse doesn't have enough tax withheld or doesn't pay enough estimated tax.

Divorced taxpayer. You may be held jointly and individually responsible for any tax, interest, and penalties due on a joint return filed before your divorce. This responsibility may ap- ply even if your divorce decree states that your former spouse will be responsible for any amounts due on previously filed joint returns.

Relief from joint responsibility. In some cases, one spouse may be relieved of joint re- sponsibility for tax, interest, and penalties on a joint return for items of the other spouse that were incorrectly reported on the joint return.

Publication 501 (2021)

You can ask for relief no matter how small the liability.

There are three types of relief available.

1.Innocent spouse relief.

2.Separation of liability (available only to joint filers who are divorced, widowed, le- gally separated, or who haven't lived to- gether for the 12 months ending on the date the election for this relief is filed).

3.Equitable relief.

You must file Form 8857, Request for Inno- cent Spouse Relief, to request relief from joint responsibility. Pub. 971 explains the kinds of re- lief and who may qualify for them.

Signing a joint return. For a return to be con- sidered a joint return, both spouses must gener- ally sign the return.

Spouse died before signing. If your spouse died before signing the return, the exec- utor or administrator must sign the return for your spouse. If neither you nor anyone else has been appointed as executor or administrator, you can sign the return for your spouse and en- ter “Filing as surviving spouse” in the area where you sign the return.

Spouse away from home. If your spouse is away from home, you should prepare the re- turn, sign it, and send it to your spouse to sign so it can be filed on time.

Injury or disease prevents signing. If your spouse can't sign because of injury or dis- ease and tells you to sign for him or her, you can sign your spouse's name in the proper space on the return followed by the words “By (your name), Husband (or Wife).” Be sure to sign in the space provided for your signature. Attach a dated statement, signed by you, to the return. The statement should include the form number of the return you are filing, the tax year, and the reason your spouse can't sign, and it should state that your spouse has agreed to your signing for him or her.

Signing as guardian of spouse. If you are the guardian of your spouse who is mentally in- competent, you can sign the return for your spouse as guardian.

Spouse in combat zone. You can sign a joint return for your spouse if your spouse can't sign because he or she is serving in a combat zone (such as the Persian Gulf area, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, or Afghanistan), even if you don't have a power of attorney or other statement. Attach a signed statement to your return explaining that your spouse is serving in a combat zone. For more information on special tax rules for persons who are serving in a com- bat zone, or who are in missing status as a re- sult of serving in a combat zone, see Pub. 3, Armed Forces' Tax Guide.

Power of attorney. In order for you to sign a return for your spouse in any of these cases, you must attach to the return a power of attor- ney (POA) that authorizes you to sign for your spouse. You can use a POA that states that you have been granted authority to sign the return, or you can use Form 2848. Part I of Form 2848

Publication 501 (2021)

must state that you are granted authority to sign the return.

Nonresident alien or dual-status alien. Gen- erally, a married couple can't file a joint return if either one is a nonresident alien at any time during the tax year. However, if one spouse was a nonresident alien or dual-status alien who was married to a U.S. citizen or resident alien at the end of the year, the spouses can choose to file a joint return. If you do file a joint return, you and your spouse are both treated as U.S. residents for the entire tax year. See chap- ter 1 of Pub. 519.

Married Filing Separately

You can choose married filing separately as your filing status if you are married. This filing status may benefit you if you want to be respon- sible only for your own tax or if it results in less tax than filing a joint return.

If you and your spouse don't agree to file a joint return, you must use this filing status un- less you qualify for head of household status, discussed later.

You may be able to choose head of house- hold filing status if you are considered unmar- ried because you live apart from your spouse and meet certain tests (explained later, under Head of Household). This can apply to you even if you aren't divorced or legally separated. If you qualify to file as head of household, in- stead of as married filing separately, your tax may be lower, you may be able to claim certain tax benefits, and your standard deduction will be higher. The head of household filing status allows you to choose the standard deduction even if your spouse chooses to itemize deduc- tions. See Head of Household, later, for more information.

You will generally pay more combined TIP tax on separate returns than you would on a joint return for the reasons listed under Special Rules, later. However, unless

you are required to file separately, you should figure your tax both ways (on a joint return and on separate returns). This way you can make sure you are using the filing status that results in the lowest combined tax. When figuring the combined tax of a married couple, you may want to consider state taxes as well as federal taxes.

How to file. If you file a separate return, you generally report only your own income, credits, and deductions.

Select this filing status by checking the “Married filing separately” box on the Filing Sta- tus line at the top of Form 1040 or 1040-SR. En- ter your spouse's full name in the entry space at the bottom of the Filing Status section and enter your spouse's SSN or ITIN in the space for spouse's SSN on Form 1040 or 1040-SR. If your spouse doesn't have and isn't required to have an SSN or ITIN, enter “NRA” in the entry space below the filing status checkboxes. For electronic filing, enter the spouse's name or “NRA” if the spouse doesn't have an SSN or ITIN in the entry space below the filing status checkboxes. Use the Married filing separately

column of the Tax Table or Section C of the Tax Computation Worksheet to figure your tax.

Special Rules

If you choose married filing separately as your filing status, the following special rules apply. Because of these special rules, you usually pay more tax on a separate return than if you use another filing status you qualify for.

1.Your tax rate is generally higher than on a joint return.

2.Your exemption amount for figuring the al- ternative minimum tax is half that allowed on a joint return.

3.You can't take the credit for child and de- pendent care expenses in most cases, and the amount you can exclude from in- come under an employer's dependent care assistance program is limited to $5,250 (instead of $10,500 on a joint re- turn). However, if you are legally separa- ted or living apart from your spouse, you may be able to file a separate return and still take the credit. See What’s Your Filing Status? in Pub. 503, Child and Dependent Care Expenses, for more information.

4.You can't take the earned income credit unless you meet certain other require- ments.

5.You can't take the exclusion or credit for adoption expenses in most cases.

6.You can't take the education credits (the American opportunity credit and lifetime learning credit), or the deduction for stu- dent loan interest.

7.You can't exclude any interest income from qualified U.S. savings bonds you used for higher education expenses.

8.If you lived with your spouse at any time during the tax year:

a.You can't claim the credit for the eld- erly or the disabled, and

b.You must include in income a greater percentage (up to 85%) of any social security or equivalent railroad retire- ment benefits you received.

9.The following credits and deductions are reduced at income levels half those for a joint return:

a.The nonrefundable child tax credit, the credit for other dependents, and the refundable child tax credit; and

b.The retirement savings contributions credit.

10.Your capital loss deduction limit is $1,500 (instead of $3,000 on a joint return).

11.If your spouse itemizes deductions, you can't claim the standard deduction. If you can claim the standard deduction, your basic standard deduction is half the amount allowed on a joint return.

Page 7

There are special rules that allow a TIP separated spouse to claim the earned income credit under certain circum- stances. See the line 27a instructions in the In- structions for Form 1040 and Schedule EIC (Form 1040) to see if you meet the qualifica- tions to claim the earned income credit even though you are married filing a separate return.

Adjusted gross income (AGI) limits. If your AGI on a separate return is lower than it would have been on a joint return, you may be able to deduct a larger amount for certain deductions that are limited by AGI, such as medical expen- ses.

Individual retirement arrangements (IRAs). You may not be able to deduct all or part of your contributions to a traditional IRA if you or your spouse were covered by an employee retire- ment plan at work during the year. Your deduc- tion is reduced or eliminated if your income is more than a certain amount. This amount is much lower for married individuals who file sep- arately and lived together at any time during the year. For more information, see How Much Can You Deduct? in chapter 1 of Pub. 590-A.

Worksheet 1. Cost of Keeping Up a Home

Keep for Your Records

 

 

 

 

Amount You

 

 

 

Total

 

 

 

 

Paid

 

 

 

Cost

 

 

 

Property taxes

$

$

 

 

 

Mortgage interest expense

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Utility charges

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Repairs/maintenance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Property insurance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food eaten in the home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other household expenses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Totals

$

$

 

 

 

Minus total amount you paid

 

(

 

 

 

 

)

Amount others paid

 

 

$

 

 

 

If the total amount you paid is more than the amount others paid, you meet the requirement of paying more than half the cost of keeping up the home.

Rental activity losses. If you actively partici- pated in a passive rental real estate activity that produced a loss, you can generally deduct the loss from your nonpassive income up to $25,000. This is called a special allowance. However, married persons filing separate re- turns who lived together at any time during the year can't claim this special allowance. Married persons filing separate returns who lived apart at all times during the year are each allowed a $12,500 maximum special allowance for losses from passive real estate activities. See Rental Activities in Pub. 925, Passive Activity and At-Risk Rules.

Community property states. Community property states include Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. If you live in a community property state and file separately, your income may be considered separate in- come or community income for income tax pur- poses. See Pub. 555.

Joint Return After

Separate Returns

You can change your filing status from a sepa- rate return to a joint return by filing an amended return using Form 1040-X.

You can generally change to a joint return any time within 3 years from the due date of the separate return or returns. This doesn't include any extensions. A separate return includes a re- turn filed by you or your spouse claiming mar- ried filing separately, single, or head of house- hold filing status.

Separate Returns

After Joint Return

Once you file a joint return, you can't choose to file separate returns for that year after the due date of the return.

Page 8

Exception. A personal representative for a de- cedent can change from a joint return elected by the surviving spouse to a separate return for the decedent. The personal representative has 1 year from the due date (including extensions) of the return to make the change. See Pub. 559 for more information on filing income tax returns for a decedent.

Head of Household

You may be able to file as head of household if you meet all the following requirements.

1.You are unmarried or considered unmar- ried on the last day of the year. See Mari- tal Status, earlier, and Considered Unmar- ried, later.

2.You paid more than half the cost of keep- ing up a home for the year.

3.A qualifying person lived with you in the home for more than half the year (except for temporary absences, such as school). However, if the qualifying person is your dependent parent, he or she doesn't have to live with you. See Special rule for pa- rent, later, under Qualifying Person.

If you qualify to file as head of house- TIP hold, your tax rate will usually be lower than the rates for single or married fil- ing separately. You will also receive a higher

standard deduction than if you file as single or married filing separately.

How to file. Indicate your choice of this filing status by checking the “Head of household” box on the Filing Status line at the top of Form 1040 or 1040-SR. If the child who qualifies you for this filing status isn't claimed as your dependent in the Dependents section of Form 1040 or 1040-SR, enter the child's name in the entry space at the bottom of the Filing Status section. Use the Head of a household column of the Tax Table or Section D of the Tax Computation Worksheet to figure your tax.

Considered Unmarried

To qualify for head of household status, you must be either unmarried or considered unmar- ried on the last day of the year. You are consid- ered unmarried on the last day of the tax year if you meet all the following tests.

1.You file a separate return. A separate re- turn includes a return claiming married fil- ing separately, single, or head of house- hold filing status.

2.You paid more than half the cost of keep- ing up your home for the tax year.

3.Your spouse didn't live in your home dur- ing the last 6 months of the tax year. Your spouse is considered to live in your home even if he or she is temporarily absent due to special circumstances. See Temporary absences, later.

4.Your home was the main home of your child, stepchild, or foster child for more than half the year. (See Home of qualifying person, later, for rules applying to a child's birth, death, or temporary absence during the year.)

5.You must be able to claim the child as a dependent. However, you meet this test if you can't claim the child as a dependent only because the noncustodial parent can claim the child using the rules described, later, in Children of divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart) under Qualifying Child or in Support Test for Children of Divorced or Separated Parents (or Parents Who Live Apart) under Qualify- ing Relative. The general rules for claiming a child as a dependent are explained, later, under Dependents.

Publication 501 (2021)

If you were considered married for part

!of the year and lived in a community CAUTION property state (listed, earlier, under Married Filing Separately), special rules may apply in determining your income and expen- ses. See Pub. 555 for more information.

Nonresident alien spouse. You are consid- ered unmarried for head of household purposes if your spouse was a nonresident alien at any time during the year and you don't choose to treat your nonresident spouse as a resident alien. However, your spouse isn't a qualifying person for head of household purposes. You must have another qualifying person and meet the other tests to be eligible to file as head of household.

Choice to treat spouse as resident. You are considered married if you choose to treat your spouse as a resident alien. See chapter 1 of Pub. 519.

Keeping Up a Home

To qualify for head of household status, you must pay more than half of the cost of keeping up a home for the year. You can determine whether you paid more than half of the cost of keeping up a home by using Worksheet 1.

Costs you include. Include in the cost of keeping up a home expenses such as rent, mortgage interest, real estate taxes, insurance on the home, repairs, utilities, and food eaten in the home.

Costs you don't include. Don't include the cost of clothing, education, medical treatment, vacations, life insurance, or transportation. Also don't include the value of your services or those of a member of your household.

Qualifying Person

See Table 4 to see who is a qualifying person. Any person not described in Table 4 isn't a qualifying person.

Example 1—child. Your unmarried son lived with you all year and was 18 years old at the end of the year. He didn't provide more than half of his own support and doesn't meet the tests to be a qualifying child of anyone else. As a result, he is your qualifying child (see Qualify- ing Child, later) and, because he is single, your qualifying person for head of household purpo- ses.

Example 2—child who isn't qualifying person. The facts are the same as in Exam- ple 1 except your son was 25 years old at the end of the year and his gross income was $5,000. Because he doesn't meet the age test (explained, later, under Qualifying Child), your son isn't your qualifying child. Because he doesn't meet the gross income test (explained, later, under Qualifying Relative), he isn't your qualifying relative. As a result, he isn't your qualifying person for head of household purpo- ses.

Publication 501 (2021)

Example 3—girlfriend. Your girlfriend lived with you all year. Even though she may be your qualifying relative if the gross income and support tests (explained later) are met, she isn't your qualifying person for head of household purposes because she isn't related to you in one of the ways listed under Relatives who don't have to live with you. See Table 4.

Example 4—girlfriend's child. The facts are the same as in Example 3 except your girl- friend's 10-year-old son also lived with you all year. He isn't your qualifying child and, because he is your girlfriend's qualifying child, he isn't your qualifying relative (see Not a Qualifying Child Test, later). As a result, he isn't your quali- fying person for head of household purposes.

Home of qualifying person. Generally, the qualifying person must live with you for more than half of the year.

Special rule for parent. If your qualifying person is your father or mother, you may be eli- gible to file as head of household even if your father or mother doesn't live with you. However, you must be able to claim your father or mother as a dependent. Also, you must pay more than half the cost of keeping up a home that was the main home for the entire year for your father or mother.

If you pay more than half the cost of keeping your parent in a rest home or home for the eld- erly, that counts as paying more than half the cost of keeping up your parent's main home.

Death or birth. You may be eligible to file as head of household even if the qualifying per- son who qualifies you for this filing status is born or dies during the year. To qualify you for head of household filing status, the qualifying person (as defined in Table 4) must be one of the following.

Your qualifying child or qualifying relative who lived with you for more than half the part of the year he or she was alive.

Your parent for whom you paid, for the en- tire part of the year he or she was alive, more than half the cost of keeping up the home he or she lived in.

Example. You are unmarried. Your mother, who you claim as a dependent, lived in an apartment by herself. She died on September

2.The cost of the upkeep of her apartment for the year until her death was $6,000. You paid $4,000 and your brother paid $2,000. Your brother made no other payments toward your mother's support. Your mother had no income. Because you paid more than half of the cost of keeping up your mother's apartment from Janu- ary 1 until her death, and you can claim her as a dependent, you can file as head of household.

Temporary absences. You and your quali- fying person are considered to live together even if one or both of you are temporarily ab- sent from your home due to special circumstan- ces such as illness, education, business, vaca- tion, military service, or detention in a juvenile facility. It must be reasonable to assume the ab- sent person will return to the home after the temporary absence. You must continue to keep up the home during the absence.

Adopted child or foster child. You may be eligible to file as head of household if the person who qualifies you for this filing status was an adopted child or foster child and you kept up a home for this person in 2021, the per- son was lawfully placed with you for legal adop- tion by you in 2021, or the person was an eligi- ble foster child placed with you during 2021. The person is considered to have lived with you for more than half of 2021 if your main home was this person's main home for more than half the time since he or she was adopted or placed with you in 2021.

Kidnapped child. You may be eligible to file as head of household even if the child who is your qualifying person has been kidnapped. You can claim head of household filing status if all the following statements are true.

1.The child is presumed by law enforcement authorities to have been kidnapped by someone who isn't a member of your fam- ily or the child's family.

2.In the year of the kidnapping, the child lived with you for more than half the part of the year before the kidnapping.

3.In the year of the child’s return, the child lived with you for more than half the part of the year following the date of the child’s return.

4.You would have qualified for head of household filing status if the child hadn't been kidnapped.

This treatment applies for all years until the earlier of:

1.The year there is a determination that the child is dead, or

2.The year the child would have reached age 18.

Qualifying Widow(er)

If your spouse died in 2021, you can use mar- ried filing jointly as your filing status for 2021 if you otherwise qualify to use that status. The year of death is the last year for which you can file jointly with your deceased spouse. See Mar- ried Filing Jointly, earlier.

You may be eligible to use qualifying widow(er) as your filing status for 2 years fol- lowing the year your spouse died. For example, if your spouse died in 2020 and you haven't re- married, you may be able to use this filing sta- tus for 2021 and 2022. The rules for using this filing status are explained in detail here.

This filing status entitles you to use joint re- turn tax rates and the highest standard deduc- tion amount (if you don't itemize deductions). It doesn't entitle you to file a joint return.

How to file. Indicate your choice of this filing status by checking the “Qualifying widow(er)” box on the Filing Status line at the top of Form 1040 or 1040-SR. If the child who qualifies you for this filing status isn’t claimed as your de- pendent in the Dependents section of Form 1040 or 1040-SR, enter the child’s name in the entry space at the bottom of the Filing Status

Page 9

Table 4. Who Is a Qualifying Person Qualifying You To File as Head of Household?1

!See the text of this publication for the other requirements you must meet to claim head of household filing status.

CAUTION

IF the person is your . . .

 

AND . . .

 

THEN that person is . . .

qualifying child (such as a son, daughter,

 

he or she is single

 

a qualifying person, whether or not

or grandchild who lived with you more than

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the child meets the Citizen or

half the year and meets certain other tests)2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resident Test.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

he or she is married and you can claim him

 

a qualifying person.

 

 

or her as a dependent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

he or she is married and you can't claim him

 

not a qualifying person.3

 

 

or her as a dependent

 

 

 

 

 

qualifying relative4 who is your father or

 

you can claim him or her as a dependent5

 

a qualifying person.6

mother

 

you can't claim him or her as a dependent

 

not a qualifying person.

qualifying relative4 other than your father or

 

he or she lived with you more than half the

 

a qualifying person.

mother (such as a grandparent, brother, or

 

year, and he or she is related to you in one

 

 

 

 

 

sister who meets certain tests)

 

of the ways listed under Relatives who don't

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

have to live with you, later, and you can

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

claim him or her as a dependent5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

he or she didn't live with you more than half

 

not a qualifying person.

 

 

the year

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

he or she isn't related to you in one of the

 

not a qualifying person.

 

 

ways listed under Relatives who don't have

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

to live with you, later, and is your qualifying

 

 

 

 

 

 

relative only

because he or she lived with

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

you all year as a member of your household

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

you can't claim him or her as a dependent

 

not a qualifying person.

1A person can't qualify more than one taxpayer to use the head of household filing status for the year.

2The term qualifying child is defined under Dependents, later. Note: If you are a noncustodial parent, the term “qualifying child” for head of household filing status doesn't include a child who is your qualifying child only because of the rules described under Children of divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart) under Qualifying Child, later. If you are the custodial parent and those rules apply, the child is generally your qualifying child for head of household filing status even though the child isn't a qualifying child you can claim as a dependent.

3This person is a qualifying person if the only reason you can't claim the person as a dependent is that you, or your spouse if filing jointly, can be claimed as a dependent on another taxpayer's return.

4The term qualifying relative is defined under Dependents, later.

5If you can claim a person as a dependent only because of a multiple support agreement, that person isn't a qualifying person. See Multiple Support Agreement.

6See Special rule for parent.

section. Use the Married filing jointly column of

 

b. The child filed a joint return, or

 

Up a Home, earlier, under Head of House-

the Tax Table or Section B of the Tax Computa-

 

c. You could be claimed as a dependent

 

hold.

 

tion Worksheet to figure your tax.

 

 

 

 

 

on someone else’s return.

Example. John's wife died in 2019. John

Eligibility rules. You are eligible to file your

 

 

If the child isn’t claimed as your de-

hasn't remarried. He has continued during 2020

2021 return as a qualifying widow(er) if you

 

pendent in the Dependents section on

and 2021 to keep up a home for himself and his

meet all the following tests.

 

Form 1040 or 1040-SR, enter the child’s

child who lives with him and who he can claim

1. You were entitled to file a joint return with

 

name in the entry space at the bottom of

as a dependent. For 2019, he was entitled to

your spouse for the year your spouse died.

 

the Filing Status section. If you don’t enter

file a joint return for himself and his deceased

It doesn't matter whether you actually filed

 

the name, it will take us longer to process

wife. For 2020 and 2021, he can file as a quali-

a joint return.

 

your return.

fying widower. After 2021, he can file as head of

2. Your spouse died in 2019 or 2020 and you

4. This child lived in your home all year, ex-

household if he qualifies.

didn't remarry before the end of 2021.

 

cept for temporary absences. See

Tempo-

 

Death or birth. You may be eligible to file as a

 

 

3. You have a child or stepchild (not a foster

 

rary absences

, earlier, under Head of

qualifying widow(er) if the child who qualifies

 

Household. There are also exceptions, de-

you for this filing status is born or dies during

child) whom you can claim as a dependent

 

scribed later, for a child who was born or

the year. You must have provided more than

or could claim as a dependent except that,

 

died during the year and for a kidnapped

half of the cost of keeping up a home that was

for 2021:

 

child.

the child's main home during the entire part of

a. The child had gross income of $4,300

5. You paid more than half the cost of keep-

the year he or she was alive.

or more,

 

ing up a home for the year. See Keeping

 

 

 

Page 10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Publication 501 (2021)

Table 5. Overview of the Rules for Claiming a Dependent

!This table is only an overview of the rules. For details, see the rest of this publication.

CAUTION

You can't claim any dependents if you, or your spouse if filing jointly, could be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer.

You can't claim a married person who files a joint return as a dependent unless that joint return is filed only to claim a refund of withheld income tax or estimated tax paid.

You can't claim a person as a dependent unless that person is a U.S. citizen, U.S. resident alien, U.S. national, or a resident of Canada or Mexico.1

You can't claim a person as a dependent unless that person is your qualifying child or qualifying relative.

 

Tests To Be a Qualifying Child

 

Tests To Be a Qualifying Relative

1.

The child must be your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother,

1.

The person can't be your qualifying child or the qualifying

 

sister, half brother, half sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or a descendant of

 

child of any other taxpayer.

 

any of them.

 

 

 

 

2.

The child must be (a) under age 19 at the end of the year and younger

2.

The person either (a) must be related to you in one of the

 

ways listed under Relatives who don't have to live with you, or

 

than you (or your spouse if filing jointly), (b) under age 24 at the end of the

 

(b) must live with

you all year as a member of your

 

 

year, a student, and younger than you (or your spouse if filing jointly), or

 

household2 (and your relationship must not violate local law).

 

(c) any age if permanently and totally disabled.

 

 

 

 

3.

The child must have lived with you for more than half of the year.2

3.

The person's gross income for the year must be less than

 

$4,300.3

 

 

4.

The child must not have provided more than half of his or her own support

4.

You must provide more than half of the person's total support

 

for the year.

 

for the year.4

5.The child must not be filing a joint return for the year (unless that joint return is filed only to claim a refund of withheld income tax or estimated tax paid).

If the child meets the rules to be a qualifying child of more than one person, generally only one person can actually treat the child as a qualifying child. See Qualifying Child of More Than One Person, later, to find out which person is the person entitled to claim the child as a qualifying child.

1There is an exception for certain adopted children.

2There are exceptions for temporary absences, children who were born or died during the year, children of divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart), and kidnapped children.

3There is an exception if the person is disabled and has income from a sheltered workshop.

4There are exceptions for multiple support agreements, children of divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart), and kidnapped children.

Adopted child or foster child. You may be eligible to file as a qualifying widow(er) if the child who qualifies you for this filing status you adopted in 2021, was lawfully placed with you for legal adoption by you in 2021, or was an eli- gible foster child placed with you during 2021. The child is considered to have lived with you for all of 2021 if your main home was this child's main home for the entire time since he or she was adopted or placed with you in 2021.

Kidnapped child. You may be eligible to file as a qualifying widow(er) even if the child who qualifies you for this filing status has been kid- napped. You can claim qualifying widow(er) fil- ing status if all the following statements are true.

1.The child is presumed by law enforcement authorities to have been kidnapped by

Publication 501 (2021)

someone who isn't a member of your fam- ily or the child's family.

2.In the year of the kidnapping, the child lived with you for more than half the part of the year before the kidnapping.

3.In the year of the child’s return, the child lived with you for more than half the part of the year following the date of the child’s return.

4.You would have qualified for qualifying widow(er) filing status if the child had not been kidnapped.

As mentioned earlier, this filing status

!is available for only 2 years following CAUTION the year your spouse died.

Dependents

The term “dependent” means:

A qualifying child, or

A qualifying relative.

The terms qualifying child and qualifying rela- tive are defined later.

All the requirements for claiming a depend- ent are summarized in Table 5.

Housekeepers, maids, or servants. If these people work for you, you can't claim them as dependents.

Refundable or nonrefundable child tax credit. You may be entitled to a refundable or

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nonrefundable child tax credit for each qualify- ing child who was under age 18 at the end of the year if you claimed that child as a depend- ent. For more information, see the Instructions for Form 1040.

Credit for other dependents. You may be en- titled to a credit for other dependents for each qualifying child who does not qualify you for the refundable or nonrefundable child tax credit and for each qualifying relative. For more informa- tion, see the Instructions for Form 1040.

Exceptions

Even if you have a qualifying child or qualifying relative, you can claim that person as a depend- ent only if these three tests are met.

1.Dependent taxpayer test.

2.Joint return test.

3.Citizen or resident test.

These three tests are explained in detail here.

Dependent Taxpayer Test

If you can be claimed as a dependent by an- other taxpayer, you can't claim anyone else as a dependent. Even if you have a qualifying child or qualifying relative, you can't claim that per- son as a dependent.

If you are filing a joint return and your spouse can be claimed as a dependent by an- other taxpayer, you and your spouse can't claim any dependents on your joint return.

Joint Return Test

You generally can't claim a married person as a dependent if he or she files a joint return.

Exception. You can claim a person as a de- pendent who files a joint return if that person and his or her spouse file the joint return only to claim a refund of income tax withheld or estima- ted tax paid.

Example 1—child files joint return. You supported your 18-year-old daughter, and she lived with you all year while her husband was in the Armed Forces. He earned $35,000 for the year. The couple files a joint return. You can't claim your daughter as a dependent.

Example 2—child files joint return only as claim for refund of withheld tax. Your 18-year-old son and his 17-year-old wife had $800 of wages from part-time jobs and no other income. They lived with you all year. Neither is required to file a tax return. They don't have a child. Taxes were taken out of their pay so they file a joint return only to get a refund of the with- held taxes. The exception to the joint return test applies, so you aren't disqualified from claiming each of them as a dependent just because they file a joint return. You can claim each of them as dependents if all the other tests to do so are met.

Example 3—child files joint return to claim American opportunity credit. The

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facts are the same as in Example 2 except no taxes were taken out of your son's pay or his wife's pay. However, they file a joint return to claim an American opportunity credit of $124 and get a refund of that amount. Because claiming the American opportunity credit is their reason for filing the return, they aren't filing it only to get a refund of income tax withheld or estimated tax paid. The exception to the joint return test doesn't apply, so you can't claim ei- ther of them as a dependent.

Citizen or Resident Test

You generally can't claim a person as a de- pendent unless that person is a U.S. citizen, U.S. resident alien, U.S. national, or a resident of Canada or Mexico. However, there is an ex- ception for certain adopted children, as ex- plained next.

Exception for adopted child. If you are a U.S. citizen or U.S. national who has legally adopted a child who isn't a U.S. citizen, U.S. resident alien, or U.S. national, this test is met if the child lived with you as a member of your household all year. This exception also applies if the child was lawfully placed with you for legal adoption and the child lived with you for the rest of the year after placement.

Child's place of residence. Children usually are citizens or residents of the country of their parents.

If you were a U.S. citizen when your child was born, the child may be a U.S. citizen and meet this test even if the other parent was a nonresident alien and the child was born in a foreign country.

Foreign students' place of residence. For- eign students brought to this country under a qualified international education exchange pro- gram and placed in American homes for a tem- porary period generally aren't U.S. residents and don't meet this test. You can't claim them as dependents. However, if you provided a home for a foreign student, you may be able to take a charitable contribution deduction. See Expenses Paid for Student Living With You in Pub. 526.

U.S. national. A U.S. national is an individual who, although not a U.S. citizen, owes his or her allegiance to the United States. U.S. nation- als include American Samoans and Northern Mariana Islanders who chose to become U.S. nationals instead of U.S. citizens.

Qualifying Child

Five tests must be met for a child to be your qualifying child. The five tests are:

1.Relationship,

2.Age,

3.Residency,

4.Support, and

5.Joint return.

These tests are explained next.

If a child meets the five tests to be the

!qualifying child of more than one per- CAUTION son, there are rules you must use to determine which person can actually treat the child as a qualifying child. See Qualifying Child of More Than One Person, later.

Relationship Test

To meet this test, a child must be:

Your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, or a descendant (for example, your grand- child) of any of them; or

Your brother, sister, half brother, half sis- ter, stepbrother, stepsister, or a descend- ant (for example, your niece or nephew) of any of them.

Adopted child. An adopted child is always treated as your own child. The term “adopted child” includes a child who was lawfully placed with you for legal adoption.

Foster child. A foster child is an individual who is placed with you by an authorized placement agency or by judgment, decree, or other order of any court of competent jurisdiction.

Age Test

To meet this test, a child must be:

Under age 19 at the end of the year and younger than you (or your spouse if filing jointly),

A student under age 24 at the end of the year and younger than you (or your spouse if filing jointly), or

Permanently and totally disabled at any time during the year, regardless of age.

Example. Your son turned 19 on Decem- ber 10. Unless he was permanently and totally disabled or a student, he doesn't meet the age test because, at the end of the year, he wasn't under age 19.

Child must be younger than you or your spouse. To be your qualifying child, a child who isn't permanently and totally disabled must be younger than you. However, if you are mar- ried filing jointly, the child must be younger than you or your spouse but doesn't have to be younger than both of you.

Example 1—child not younger than you or your spouse. Your 23-year-old brother, who is a student and unmarried, lives with you and your spouse, who provide more than half of his support. He isn't disabled. Both you and your spouse are 21 years old, and you file a joint return. Your brother isn't your qualifying child because he isn't younger than you or your spouse.

Example 2—child younger than your spouse but not younger than you. The facts are the same as in Example 1 except your spouse is 25 years old. Because your brother is younger than your spouse and you and your spouse are filing a joint return, your brother is your qualifying child, even though he isn't younger than you.

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Student defined. To qualify as a student, your child must be, during some part of each of any 5 calendar months of the year:

1.A full-time student at a school that has a regular teaching staff, course of study, and a regularly enrolled student body at the school; or

2.A student taking a full-time, on-farm train- ing course given by a school described in (1), or by a state, county, or local govern- ment agency.

The 5 calendar months don't have to be con- secutive.

Full-time student. A full-time student is a student who is enrolled for the number of hours or courses the school considers to be full-time attendance.

School defined. A school can be an ele- mentary school, junior or senior high school, college, university, or technical, trade, or me- chanical school. However, an on-the-job train- ing course, correspondence school, or school offering courses only through the Internet doesn't count as a school.

Vocational high school students. Stu- dents who work on “co-op” jobs in private indus- try as a part of a school's regular course of classroom and practical training are considered full-time students.

Permanently and totally disabled. Your child is permanently and totally disabled if both of the following apply.

He or she can't engage in any substantial gainful activity because of a physical or mental condition.

A doctor determines the condition has las- ted or can be expected to last continuously for at least a year or can lead to death.

Residency Test

To meet this test, your child must have lived with you for more than half the year. There are exceptions for temporary absences, children who were born or died during the year, adopted or foster children, kidnapped children, and chil- dren of divorced or separated parents.

Temporary absences. Your child is consid- ered to have lived with you during periods of time when one of you, or both, are temporarily absent due to special circumstances, such as:

Illness,

Education,

Business,

Vacation,

Military service, or

Detention in a juvenile facility.

Death or birth of child. A child who was born or died during the year is treated as having lived with you more than half the year if your home was the child's home more than half the time he or she was alive during the year. The same is true if the child lived with you more than half the year except for any required hospital stay fol- lowing birth.

Child born alive. You may be able to claim as a dependent a child born alive during the

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year, even if the child lived only for a moment. State or local law must treat the child as having been born alive. There must be proof of a live birth shown by an official document, such as a birth certificate. The child must be your qualify- ing child or qualifying relative, and all the other tests to claim the child as a dependent must be met.

Stillborn child. You can't claim a stillborn child as a dependent.

Adopted child or foster child. You can treat your adopted child or foster child as meeting the residency test as follows if you adopted the child in 2021, the child was lawfully placed with you for legal adoption by you in 2021, or the child was an eligible foster child placed with you during 2021. This child is considered to have lived with you for more than half of 2021 if your main home was this child's main home for more than half the time since he or she was adopted or placed with you in 2021.

Kidnapped child. You can treat your child as meeting the residency test even if the child has been kidnapped, but the following statements must be true.

1.The child is presumed by law enforcement authorities to have been kidnapped by someone who isn't a member of your fam- ily or the child's family.

2.In the year the kidnapping occurred, the child lived with you for more than half of the part of the year before the date of the kidnapping.

3.In the year of the child’s return, the child lived with you for more than half the part of the year following the date of the child’s return.

This treatment applies for all years until the earlier of:

1.The year there is a determination that the child is dead, or

2.The year the child would have reached age 18.

Children of divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart). In most cases, because of the residency test, a child of di- vorced or separated parents is the qualifying child of the custodial parent. However, the child will be treated as the qualifying child of the non- custodial parent if all four of the following state- ments are true.

1.The parents:

a.Are divorced or legally separated un- der a decree of divorce or separate maintenance,

b.Are separated under a written separa- tion agreement, or

c.Lived apart at all times during the last 6 months of the year, whether or not they are or were married.

2.The child received over half of his or her support for the year from the parents.

3.The child is in the custody of one or both parents for more than half of the year.

4.Either of the following statements is true.

a.The custodial parent signs a written declaration, discussed later, that he or she won't claim the child as a depend- ent for the year, and the noncustodial parent attaches this written declara- tion to his or her return. (If the decree or agreement went into effect after 1984 and before 2009, see Post-1984 and pre-2009 divorce decree or sepa- ration agreement, later. If the decree or agreement went into effect after 2008, see Post-2008 divorce decree or separation agreement, later.)

b.A pre-1985 decree of divorce or sepa- rate maintenance or written separa- tion agreement that applies to 2021 states that the noncustodial parent can claim the child as a dependent, the decree or agreement wasn't changed after 1984 to say the non- custodial parent can't claim the child as a dependent, and the noncustodial parent provides at least $600 for the child's support during the year.

If statements (1) through (4) are all true, only the noncustodial parent can:

Claim the child as a dependent, and

Claim the child as a qualifying child for the nonrefundable child tax credit, the credit for other dependents, the refundable child tax credit, or the additional child tax credit.

However, this doesn’t allow the noncustodial parent to claim head of household filing status, the credit for child and dependent care expen- ses, the exclusion for dependent care benefits, the earned income credit, or the health cover- age tax credit. See Applying the tiebreaker rules to divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart), later.

Example—earned income credit. Even if statements (1) through (4) are all true and the custodial parent signs Form 8332 or a substan- tially similar statement that he or she won’t claim the child as a dependent for 2021, this doesn’t allow the noncustodial parent to claim the child as a qualifying child for the earned in- come credit. The custodial parent or another taxpayer, if eligible, can claim the child for the earned income credit.

Custodial parent and noncustodial pa- rent. The custodial parent is the parent with whom the child lived for the greater number of nights during the year. The other parent is the noncustodial parent.

If the parents divorced or separated during the year and the child lived with both parents before the separation, the custodial parent is the one with whom the child lived for the greater number of nights during the rest of the year.

A child is treated as living with a parent for a night if the child sleeps:

At that parent's home, whether or not the parent is present; or

In the company of the parent, when the child doesn't sleep at a parent's home (for example, the parent and child are on vaca- tion together).

Equal number of nights. If the child lived with each parent for an equal number of nights

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during the year, the custodial parent is the pa- rent with the higher adjusted gross income (AGI).

December 31. The night of December 31 is treated as part of the year in which it begins. For example, the night of December 31, 2021, is treated as part of 2021.

Emancipated child. If a child is emancipa- ted under state law, the child is treated as not living with either parent. See Examples 5 and 6.

Absences. If a child wasn't with either pa- rent on a particular night (because, for example, the child was staying at a friend's house), the child is treated as living with the parent with whom the child normally would have lived for that night, except for the absence. But if it can't be determined with which parent the child nor- mally would have lived or if the child would not have lived with either parent that night, the child is treated as not living with either parent that night.

Parent works at night. If, due to a parent's nighttime work schedule, a child lives for a greater number of days, but not nights, with the parent who works at night, that parent is treated as the custodial parent. On a school day, the child is treated as living at the primary resi- dence registered with the school.

Example 1—child lived with one parent for a greater number of nights. You and your child’s other parent are divorced. In 2021, your child lived with you 210 nights and with the other parent 155 nights. You are the custodial parent.

Example 2—child is away at camp. In 2021, your daughter lives with each parent for alternate weeks. In the summer, she spends 6 weeks at summer camp. During the time she is at camp, she is treated as living with you for 3 weeks and with her other parent, your ex-spouse, for 3 weeks because this is how long she would have lived with each parent if she had not attended summer camp.

Example 3—child lived same number of nights with each parent. Your son lived with you 180 nights during the year and lived the same number of nights with his other parent, your ex-spouse. Your AGI is $40,000. Your ex-spouse's AGI is $25,000. You are treated as your son's custodial parent because you have the higher AGI.

Example 4—child is at parent’s home but with other parent. Your son normally lives with you during the week and with his other pa- rent, your ex-spouse, every other weekend. You become ill and are hospitalized. The other parent lives in your home with your son for 10 consecutive days while you are in the hospital. Your son is treated as living with you during this 10-day period because he was living in your home.

Example 5—child emancipated in May. When your son turned age 18 in May 2021, he became emancipated under the law of the state where he lives. As a result, he isn't considered in the custody of his parents for more than half

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of the year. The special rule for children of di- vorced or separated parents doesn't apply.

Example 6—child emancipated in Au- gust. Your daughter lives with you from Janu- ary 1, 2021, until May 31, 2021, and lives with her other parent, your ex-spouse, from June 1, 2021, through the end of the year. She turns 18 and is emancipated under state law on August 1, 2021. Because she is treated as not living with either parent beginning on August 1, she is treated as living with you the greater number of nights in 2021. You are the custodial parent.

Written declaration. The custodial parent must use either Form 8332 or a similar state- ment (containing the same information required by the form) to make the written declaration to release a claim to an exemption for a child to the noncustodial parent. Although the exemp- tion amount is zero for tax year 2021, this re- lease allows the noncustodial parent to claim the nonrefundable child tax credit, credit for other dependents, refundable child tax credit, or additional child tax credit, if applicable, for the child. The noncustodial parent must attach a copy of the form or statement to his or her tax return.

The release can be for 1 year, for a number of specified years (for example, alternate years), or for all future years, as specified in the declaration.

Post-1984 and pre-2009 divorce decree or separation agreement. If the divorce de- cree or separation agreement went into effect after 1984 and before 2009, the noncustodial parent may be able to attach certain pages from the decree or agreement instead of Form 8332. The decree or agreement must state all three of the following.

1.The noncustodial parent can claim the child as a dependent without regard to any condition, such as payment of support.

2.The custodial parent won't claim the child as a dependent for the year.

3.The years for which the noncustodial pa- rent, rather than the custodial parent, can claim the child as a dependent.

The noncustodial parent must attach all of the following pages of the decree or agreement to his or her tax return.

The cover page (write the other parent's social security number on this page).

The pages that include all of the informa- tion identified in items (1) through (3) above.

The signature page with the other parent's signature and the date of the agreement.

Post-2008 divorce decree or separation agreement. The noncustodial parent can't at- tach pages from the decree or agreement in- stead of Form 8332 if the decree or agreement went into effect after 2008. The custodial parent must sign either Form 8332 or a similar state- ment whose only purpose is to release the cus- todial parent's claim to an exemption, and the noncustodial parent must attach a copy to his or her return. The form or statement must release the custodial parent's claim to the child without any conditions. For example, the release must

not depend on the noncustodial parent paying support.

The noncustodial parent must attach

!the required information even if it was CAUTION filed with a return in an earlier year.

Revocation of release of claim to an ex- emption. The custodial parent can revoke a release of claim to an exemption. For the revo- cation to be effective for 2021, the custodial pa- rent must have given (or made reasonable ef- forts to give) written notice of the revocation to the noncustodial parent in 2020 or earlier. The custodial parent can use Part III of Form 8332 for this purpose and must attach a copy of the revocation to his or her return for each tax year he or she claims the child as a dependent as a result of the revocation.

Remarried parent. If you remarry, the sup- port provided by your new spouse is treated as provided by you.

Parents who never married. This rule for divorced or separated parents also applies to parents who never married and lived apart at all times during the last 6 months of the year.

Support Test (To Be a

Qualifying Child)

To meet this test, the child can't have provided more than half of his or her own support for the year.

This test is different from the support test to be a qualifying relative, which is described later. However, to see what is or isn't support, see Support Test (To Be a Qualifying Relative), later. If you aren't sure whether a child provided more than half of his or her own support, you may find Worksheet 2 helpful.

Example. You provided $4,000 toward your 16-year-old son's support for the year. He has a part-time job and provided $6,000 to his own support. He provided more than half of his own support for the year. He isn't your qualify- ing child.

Foster care payments and expenses. Pay- ments you receive for the support of a foster child from a child placement agency are consid- ered support provided by the agency. Similarly, payments you receive for the support of a foster child from a state or county are considered sup- port provided by the state or county.

If you aren't in the trade or business of pro- viding foster care and your unreimbursed out-of-pocket expenses in caring for a foster child were mainly to benefit an organization qualified to receive deductible charitable contri- butions, the expenses are deductible as chari- table contributions but aren't considered sup- port you provided. For more information about the deduction for charitable contributions, see Pub. 526. If your unreimbursed expenses aren't deductible as charitable contributions, they may qualify as support you provided.

If you are in the trade or business of provid- ing foster care, your unreimbursed expenses aren't considered support provided by you.

Publication 501 (2021)

Example 1. Lauren, a foster child, lived with Mr. and Mrs. Smith for the last 3 months of the year. The Smiths cared for Lauren because they wanted to adopt her (although she had not been placed with them for adoption). They didn't care for her as a trade or business or to benefit the agency that placed her in their home. The Smiths' unreimbursed expenses aren't deductible as charitable contributions but are considered support they provided for Lau- ren.

Example 2. You provided $3,000 toward your 10-year-old foster child's support for the year. The state government provided $4,000, which is considered support provided by the state, not by the child. See Support provided by the state (welfare, food benefits, housing, etc.), later. Your foster child didn't provide more than half of her own support for the year.

Scholarships. A scholarship received by a child who is a student isn't taken into account in determining whether the child provided more than half of his or her own support.

TANF and other governmental payments. Under proposed Treasury regulations, if you re- ceived Temporary Assistance to Needy Fami- lies (TANF) payments or other similar payments and used the payment to support another per- son, those payments are considered support you provided for that person, rather than sup- port provided by the government or other third party.

Joint Return Test (To Be a

Qualifying Child)

To meet this test, the child can't file a joint re- turn for the year.

Exception. An exception to the joint return test applies if your child and his or her spouse file a joint return only to claim a refund of income tax withheld or estimated tax paid.

Example 1—child files joint return. You supported your 18-year-old daughter, and she lived with you all year while her husband was in the Armed Forces. He earned $35,000 for the year. The couple files a joint return. Because your daughter and her husband file a joint re- turn, she isn't your qualifying child.

Example 2—child files joint return only as claim for refund of withheld tax. Your 18-year-old son and his 17-year-old wife had $800 of wages from part-time jobs and no other income. They lived with you all year. Neither is required to file a tax return. They don't have a child. Taxes were taken out of their pay, so they file a joint return only to get a refund of the with- held taxes. The exception to the joint return test applies, so your son may be your qualifying child if all the other tests are met.

Example 3—child files joint return to claim American opportunity credit. The facts are the same as in Example 2 except no taxes were taken out of your son's pay or his wife's pay. However, they file a joint return to claim an American opportunity credit of $124 and get a refund of that amount. Because

Publication 501 (2021)

claiming the American opportunity credit is their reason for filing the return, they aren't filing it only to get a refund of income tax withheld or estimated tax paid. The exception to the joint return test doesn't apply, so your son isn't your qualifying child.

Qualifying Child of More Than One Person

If your qualifying child isn't a qualifying TIP child of anyone else, this topic doesn't apply to you and you don't need to read about it. This is also true if your qualifying

child isn't a qualifying child of anyone else ex- cept your spouse with whom you plan to file a joint return.

If a child is treated as the qualifying

!child of the noncustodial parent under CAUTION the rules for children of divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart), described earlier, see Applying the tiebreaker rules to divorced or separated parents (or pa- rents who live apart), later.

Sometimes, a child meets the relationship, age, residency, support, and joint return tests to be a qualifying child of more than one person. Al- though the child is a qualifying child of each of these persons, generally only one person can actually treat the child as a qualifying child to take all of the following tax benefits (provided the person is eligible for each benefit).

1.The nonrefundable child tax credit, credit for other dependents, refundable child tax credit, or additional child tax credit .

2.Head of household filing status.

3.The credit for child and dependent care expenses.

4.The exclusion from income for dependent care benefits.

5.The earned income credit.

The other person can’t take any of these benefits based on this qualifying child. In other words, you and the other person can’t agree to divide these tax benefits between you.

Tiebreaker rules. To determine which person can treat the child as a qualifying child to claim these five tax benefits, the following tiebreaker rules apply.

If only one of the persons is the child's pa- rent, the child is treated as the qualifying child of the parent.

If the parents file a joint return together and can claim the child as a qualifying child, the child is treated as the qualifying child of the parents.

If the parents don't file a joint return to- gether but both parents claim the child as a qualifying child, the IRS will treat the child as the qualifying child of the parent with whom the child lived for the longer period of time during the year. If the child lived with each parent for the same amount of time, the IRS will treat the child as the qual- ifying child of the parent who had the higher adjusted gross income (AGI) for the year.

If no parent can claim the child as a quali- fying child, the child is treated as the quali- fying child of the person who had the high- est AGI for the year.

If a parent can claim the child as a qualify- ing child but no parent does so claim the child, the child is treated as the qualifying child of the person who had the highest AGI for the year, but only if that person's AGI is higher than the highest AGI of any of the child's parents who can claim the child.

Subject to these tiebreaker rules, you and the other person may be able to choose which of you claims the child as a qualifying child.

You may be able to qualify for the TIP earned income credit under the rules for taxpayers without a qualifying child if you have a qualifying child for the earned in-

come credit who is claimed as a qualifying child by another taxpayer. For more information, see Pub. 596.

Example 1—child lived with parent and grandparent. You and your 3-year-old daugh- ter Jane lived with your mother all year. You are 25 years old, unmarried, and your AGI is $9,000. Your mother's AGI is $15,000. Jane's father didn't live with you or your daughter. You haven't signed Form 8832 (or a similar state- ment).

Jane is a qualifying child of both you and your mother because she meets the relation- ship, age, residency, support, and joint return tests for both you and your mother. However, only one of you can claim her. Jane isn't a quali- fying child of anyone else, including her father. You agree to let your mother claim Jane. This means your mother can claim Jane as a qualify- ing child for all of the five tax benefits listed ear- lier, if she qualifies for each of those benefits (and if you don't claim Jane as a qualifying child for any of those tax benefits).

Example 2—parent has higher AGI than grandparent. The facts are the same as in Ex- ample 1 except your AGI is $18,000. Because your mother's AGI isn't higher than yours, she can't claim Jane. Only you can claim Jane.

Example 3—two persons claim same child. The facts are the same as in Example 1 except you and your mother both claim Jane as a qualifying child. In this case, you, as the child's parent, will be the only one allowed to claim Jane as a qualifying child. The IRS will disallow your mother's claim to the five tax ben- efits listed earlier based on Jane. However, your mother may qualify for the earned income credit as a taxpayer without a qualifying child.

Example 4—qualifying children split be- tween two persons. The facts are the same as in Example 1 except you also have two other young children who are qualifying children of both you and your mother. Only one of you can claim each child. However, if your mother's AGI is higher than yours, you can allow your mother to claim one or more of the children. For exam- ple, if you claim one child, your mother can claim the other two.

Example 5—taxpayer who is a qualifying child. The facts are the same as in Example 1

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Worksheet 2. Worksheet for Determining Support

Keep for Your Records

1.

 

 

Funds Belonging to the Person You Supported

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enter the total funds belonging to the person you supported, including income received (taxable

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and nontaxable) and amounts borrowed during the year, plus the amount in savings and other

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

accounts at the beginning of the year. Don't include funds provided by the state; include those

. . 1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

amounts on line 23 instead

 

 

 

 

 

2.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Enter the amount on line 1 that was used for the person's support

. . 2.

 

 

 

 

 

3.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Enter the amount on line 1 that was used for other purposes

. . 3.

 

 

 

 

 

4.

. . . . . .Enter the total amount in the person's savings and other accounts at the end of the year

. . 4.

 

 

 

 

 

5.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Add lines 2 through 4. (This amount should equal line 1.)

. . 5.

 

 

 

 

 

6.

 

 

Expenses for Entire Household (where the person you supported lived)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lodging (complete line 6a or 6b):

. . 6a.

 

 

 

 

 

 

a. Enter the total rent paid

 

 

 

 

 

 

b. Enter the fair rental value of the home. If the person you supported owned the home,

. . 6b.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

also include this amount in line 21

 

 

 

 

 

7.

Enter the total food expenses

7.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8.

. . . . . . . .Enter the total amount of utilities (heat, light, water, etc., not included in line 6a or 6b)

. . 8.

 

 

 

 

 

9.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Enter the total amount of repairs (not included in line 6a or 6b)

. . 9.

 

 

 

 

 

10.

Enter the total of other expenses. Don't include expenses of maintaining the home, such as

. . 10.

 

 

 

 

 

 

mortgage interest, real estate taxes, and insurance

 

 

 

 

 

11.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Add lines 6a through 10. These are the total household expenses

. . 11.

 

 

 

 

 

12.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Enter total number of persons who lived in the household

. . 12.

 

 

 

 

 

13.

 

 

Expenses for the Person You Supported

. . 13.

 

 

 

 

 

Divide line 11 by line 12. This is the person's share of the household expenses

 

 

 

 

 

14.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Enter the person's total clothing expenses

 

 

 

 

 

15.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Enter the person's total education expenses

 

 

 

 

 

16.

Enter the person's total medical and dental expenses not paid for or reimbursed by

. . 16.

 

 

 

 

 

 

insurance

 

 

 

 

 

17.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Enter the person's total travel and recreation expenses

. . 17.

 

 

 

 

 

18.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Enter the total of the person's other expenses

 

 

 

 

 

19.

. . . . . . . . . . .Add lines 13 through 18. This is the total cost of the person's support for the year

. . 19.

 

 

 

 

 

20.

 

 

Did the Person Provide More Than Half of His or Her Own Support?

. . 20.

 

 

 

 

 

Multiply line 19 by 50% (0.50)

 

 

 

 

 

21.

Enter the amount from line 2, plus the amount from line 6b, if the person you supported owned

. . 21.

 

 

 

 

 

 

the home. This is the amount the person provided for his or her own support

 

 

 

 

 

22.

Is line 21 more than line 20?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No. You meet the support test for this person to be your qualifying child. If this person also meets the other tests to be a

 

 

qualifying child, stop here; don't complete lines 23–26. Otherwise, go to line 23 and fill out the rest of the worksheet to

 

 

determine if this person is your qualifying relative.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes. You don't meet the support test for this person to be either your qualifying child or your qualifying relative. Stop

 

 

 

 

 

 

here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did You Provide More Than Half?

 

 

 

 

 

 

23.

Enter the amount others provided for the person's support. Include amounts provided by state,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

local, and other welfare societies or agencies. Don't include any amounts included on

. . 23.

 

 

 

 

 

 

line 1

 

 

 

 

 

24.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Add lines 21 and 23

 

 

 

 

 

25.

. . . . . . .Subtract line 24 from line 19. This is the amount you provided for the person's support

. . 25.

 

 

 

 

 

26.

Is line 25 more than line 20?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes. You meet the support test for this person to be your qualifying relative.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No. You don't meet the support test for this person to be your qualifying relative. You can't claim this person as a

 

 

 

 

 

 

dependent unless you can do so under a multiple support agreement, the support test for children of divorced or separated

 

 

parents, or the special rule for kidnapped children. See Multiple Support Agreement, Support Test for Children of Divorced

 

 

or Separated Parents (or Parents Who Live Apart), or

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kidnapped child under Qualifying Relative.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page 16

Publication 501 (2021)

except you are only 18 years old and didn't pro- vide more than half of your own support for the year. This means you are your mother's qualify- ing child. If she can claim you as a dependent, then you can't claim your daughter as a de- pendent because of the Dependent Taxpayer Test, explained earlier.

Example 6—separated parents. You, your husband, and your 10-year-old son all lived in the United States for all of 2021. On Au- gust 1, 2021, your husband moved out of the household. In August and September, your son lived with you. For the rest of the year, your son lived with your husband, the boy's father. Your son is a qualifying child of both you and your husband because your son lived with each of you for more than half the year and because he met the relationship, age, support, and joint re- turn tests for both of you. At the end of the year, you and your husband still weren't divorced, le- gally separated, or separated under a written separation agreement, so the rule for children of divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart) doesn't apply.

You and your husband will file separate re- turns. Your husband agrees to let you treat your son as a qualifying child. This means, if your husband doesn't claim your son as a qualifying child, you can claim your son as a qualifying child for the refundable child tax credit and the exclusion for dependent care benefits (assum- ing you otherwise qualify for both tax benefits). However, you can't claim head of household fil- ing status because you and your husband didn't live apart for the last 6 months of the year. As a result, your filing status is married filing sepa- rately. You can't claim the earned income credit because you don't meet the requirements to claim the earned income credit as a married person filing a separate return. You and your husband didn't live apart for the last 6 months of 2021 and while you did live apart at the end of 2021, you aren't legally separated under a writ- ten separation agreement or decree of separate maintenance. Therefore, you don't meet the re- quirements to take the earned income credit as a married taxpayer filing a separate return. You also can't take the credit for child and depend- ent care expenses because your fling status is married filing separately and you and your hus- band didn't live apart for the last 6 months of 2021.

Example 7—separated parents claim same child. The facts are the same as in Ex- ample 6 except you and your husband both claim your son as a qualifying child. In this case, only your husband will be allowed to treat your son as a qualifying child. This is because, dur- ing 2021, the boy lived with him longer than with you. If you claimed the refundable child tax credit for your son, the IRS will disallow your claim to the refundable child tax credit. If you don't have another qualifying child or depend- ent, the IRS will also disallow your claim to the exclusion for dependent care benefits. In addi- tion, because you and your husband didn't live apart for the last 6 months of the year, your hus- band can't claim head of household filing sta- tus. As a result, his filing status is married filing separately. Your husband can't claim the earned income credit because he doesn't meet the requirements to claim the earned income

Publication 501 (2021)

credit as a married person filing a separate re- turn. You and your husband didn't live apart for the last 6 months of 2021 and, while you did live apart at the end of 2021, you aren't legally sep- arated under a written separation agreement or decree of separate maintenance. Therefore, he doesn’t meet the requirements to take the earned income credit as a married taxpayer fil- ing a separate return. He also can't take the credit for child and dependent care expenses because his filing status is married filing sepa- rately and you and your husband didn't live apart for the last 6 months of 2021.

Example 8—unmarried parents. You, your 5-year-old son, and your son's father lived together in the United States all year. You and your son's father aren't married. Your son is a qualifying child of both you and his father be- cause he meets the relationship, age, resi- dency, support, and joint return tests for both you and his father. Your AGI is $12,000 and your son's father's AGI is $14,000. Your son's father agrees to let you claim the child as a qualifying child. This means you can claim him as a qualifying child for the refundable child tax credit, head of household filing status, credit for child and dependent care expenses, exclusion for dependent care benefits, and the earned in- come credit, if you qualify for each of those tax benefits (and if your son's father doesn't claim your son as a qualifying child for any of those tax benefits).

Example 9—unmarried parents claim same child. The facts are the same as in Ex- ample 8 except you and your son's father both claim your son as a qualifying child. In this case, only your son's father will be allowed to treat your son as a qualifying child. This is because his AGI, $14,000, is more than your AGI, $12,000. If you claimed the refundable child tax credit for your son, the IRS will disallow your claim to this credit. If you don't have another qualifying child or dependent, the IRS will also disallow your claim to head of household filing status, the credit for child and dependent care expenses, and the exclusion for dependent care benefits. However, you may be able to claim the earned income credit as a taxpayer without a qualifying child.

Example 10—child didn't live with a pa- rent. You and your 7-year-old niece, your si- ster's child, lived with your mother all year. You are 25 years old, and your AGI is $9,300. Your mother's AGI is $15,000. Your niece's parents file jointly, have an AGI of less than $9,000, and don't live with you or their child. Your niece is a qualifying child of both you and your mother be- cause she meets the relationship, age, resi- dency, support, and joint return tests for both you and your mother. However, only your mother can treat her as a qualifying child. This is because your mother's AGI, $15,000, is more than your AGI, $9,300.

Applying the tiebreaker rules to divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart). If a child is treated as the qualifying child of the noncustodial parent under the rules described earlier for children of divorced or sep- arated parents (or parents who live apart), only the noncustodial parent can claim the child as a

dependent and claim the refundable child tax credit, nonrefundable child tax credit, additional child tax credit, or credit for other dependents for the child. However, only the custodial parent can claim the credit for child and dependent care expenses or the exclusion for dependent care benefits for the child, and only the custo- dial parent can treat the child as a dependent for the health coverage tax credit. Also, gener- ally the noncustodial parent can't claim the child as a qualifying child for head of household filing status or the earned income credit. Instead, generally the custodial parent, if eligible, or other eligible person can claim the child as a qualifying child for those two benefits. If the child is the qualifying child of more than one person for these benefits, then the tiebreaker rules determine whether the custodial parent or another eligible person can treat the child as a qualifying child.

The noncustodial parent may be able TIP to claim the self-only earned income credit if they meet other requirements.

See Pub. 596 and Schedule EIC and its instruc- tions for more information.

Example 1. You and your 5-year-old son lived all year with your mother in the United States. Your mother paid the entire cost of keeping up the home. Your AGI is $10,000. Your mother's AGI is $25,000. Your son's father lived in the United States all year, but didn't live with you or your son.

Under the rules explained earlier for children of divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart), your son is treated as the quali- fying child of his father, who can claim the re- fundable child tax credit for him. Because of this, you can't claim the refundable child tax credit for your son. However, those rules don't allow your son's father to claim your son as a qualifying child for head of household filing sta- tus, the credit for child and dependent care ex- penses, the exclusion for dependent care bene- fits, the earned income credit, or the health coverage tax credit.

You and your mother didn't have any child care expenses or dependent care benefits, so neither of you can claim the credit for child and dependent care expenses or the exclusion for dependent care benefits. Also, neither of you qualifies for the health coverage tax credit. But the boy is a qualifying child of both you and your mother for head of household filing status and the earned income credit because he meets the relationship, age, residency, support, and joint return tests for both you and your mother. (The support test doesn't apply for the earned in- come credit.) However, you agree to let your mother claim your son. This means she can claim him for head of household filing status and the earned income credit if she qualifies for each and if you don't claim him as a qualifying child for the earned income credit. (You can't claim head of household filing status because your mother paid the entire cost of keeping up the home.) You may be able to claim the earned income credit as a taxpayer without a qualifying child.

Example 2. The facts are the same as in Example 1 except your AGI is $25,000 and your mother's AGI is $21,000. Your mother can't

Page 17

claim your son as a qualifying child for any pur- pose because her AGI isn't higher than yours.

Example 3. The facts are the same as in Example 1 except you and your mother both claim your son as a qualifying child for the earned income credit. Your mother also claims him as a qualifying child for head of household filing status. You, as the child's parent, will be the only one allowed to claim your son as a qualifying child for the earned income credit. The IRS will disallow your mother's claim to head of household filing status unless she has another qualifying child or dependent. Your mother can’t claim the earned income credit as a taxpayer without a qualifying child because her AGI is more than $21,430.

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 rela- tive can be any age. There is no age test for a qualifying relative.

Kidnapped child. You can treat a child as your qualifying relative even if the child has been kidnapped, but the following statements must be true.

1.The child is presumed by law enforcement authorities to have been kidnapped by someone who isn't a member of your fam- ily or the child's family.

2.In the year the kidnapping occurred, the child met the tests to be your qualifying relative for the part of the year before the date of the kidnapping.

3.In the year of the child’s return, the child met the tests to be your qualifying relative for the part of the year following the date of the child’s return.

This treatment applies for all years until the earlier of:

1.The year there is a determination that the child is dead, or

2.The year the child would have reached age 18.

Not a Qualifying Child Test

A child isn't your qualifying relative if the child is your qualifying child or the qualifying child of any other taxpayer.

Example 1. Your 22-year-old daughter, who is a student, lives with you and meets all the tests to be your qualifying child. She isn't your qualifying relative.

Example 2. Your 2-year-old son lives with your parents and meets all the tests to be their qualifying child. He isn't your qualifying relative.

Page 18

Example 3. Your son lives with you but isn't your qualifying child because he is 30 years old and doesn't meet the age test. He may be your qualifying relative if the gross income test and the support test are met.

Example 4. Your 13-year-old grandson lived with his mother for 3 months, with his un- cle for 4 months, and with you for 5 months dur- ing the year. He isn't your qualifying child be- cause he doesn't meet the residency test. He may be your qualifying relative if the gross in- come test and the support test are met.

Child of person not required to file a return. A child isn't the qualifying child of any other tax- payer and so may qualify as your qualifying rel- ative if the child's parent (or other person for whom the child is defined as a qualifying child) isn't required to file an income tax return and ei- ther:

Doesn't file an income tax return, or

Files a return only to get a refund of in- come tax withheld or estimated tax paid.

Example 1—return not required. You support an unrelated friend and her 3-year-old child, who lived with you all year in your home. Your friend has no gross income, isn't required to file a 2021 tax return, and doesn't file a 2021 tax return. Both your friend and her child are your qualifying relatives if the support test is met.

Example 2—return filed to claim refund. The facts are the same as in Example 1 except your friend had wages of $1,500 during the year and had income tax withheld from her wages. She files a return only to get a refund of the in- come tax withheld and doesn't claim the earned income credit or any other tax credits or deduc- tions. Both your friend and her child are your qualifying relatives if the support test is met.

Example 3—earned income credit claimed. The facts are the same as in Exam- ple 2 except your friend had wages of $8,000 during the year and claimed the earned income credit on her return. Your friend's child is the qualifying child of another taxpayer (your friend), so you can't claim your friend's child as your qualifying relative. Also, you can't claim your friend as your qualifying relative because of the gross income test explained later.

Child in Canada or Mexico. You may be able to claim your child as a dependent even if the child lives in Canada or Mexico. If the child doesn't live with you, the child doesn't meet the residency test to be your qualifying child. How- ever, the child may still be your qualifying rela- tive. If the persons the child does live with aren't U.S. citizens and have no U.S. gross income, those persons aren't “taxpayers,” so the child isn't the qualifying child of any other taxpayer. If the child isn't the qualifying child of any other taxpayer, the child is your qualifying relative as long as the gross income test and the support test are met.

You can't claim as a dependent a child who lives in a foreign country other than Canada or Mexico, unless the child is a U.S. citizen, U.S. resident alien, or U.S. national. There is an ex- ception for certain adopted children who lived

with you all year. See Citizen or Resident Test, earlier.

Example. You provide all the support of your children, ages 6, 8, and 12, who live in Mexico with your mother and have no income. You are single and live in the United States. Your mother isn't a U.S. citizen and has no U.S. income, so she isn't a “taxpayer.” Your children aren't your qualifying children because they don't meet the residency test. But because they aren't the qualifying children of any other tax- payer, they may be your qualifying relatives and you may be permitted to claim them as depend- ents. You may also be able to claim your mother as a dependent if the gross income and support tests are met.

Member of Household or

Relationship Test

To meet this test, a person must either:

1.Live with you all year as a member of your household, or

2.Be related to you in one of the ways listed under Relatives who don't have to live with you.

If at any time during the year the person was your spouse, that person can't be your qualify- ing relative.

Relatives who don't have to live with you. A person related to you in any of the following ways doesn't have to live with you all year as a member of your household to meet this test.

Your child, stepchild, foster child, or a de- scendant of any of them (for example, your grandchild). (A legally adopted child is considered your child.)

Your brother, sister, half brother, half sis- ter, stepbrother, or stepsister.

Your father, mother, grandparent, or other direct ancestor, but not foster parent.

Your stepfather or stepmother.

A son or daughter of your brother or sister.

A son or daughter of your half brother or half sister.

A brother or sister of your father or mother.

Your son-in-law, daughter-in-law, fa- ther-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law.

Any of these relationships that were established by marriage aren't ended by death or divorce.

Example. You and your wife began sup- porting your wife's father, a widower, in 2015. Your wife died in 2020. Despite your wife's death, your father-in-law continues to meet this test, even if he doesn't live with you. You can claim him as a dependent if all other tests are met, including the gross income test and sup- port test.

Foster child. A foster child is an individual who is placed with you by an authorized place- ment agency or by judgment, decree, or other order of any court of competent jurisdiction.

Joint return. If you file a joint return, the per- son can be related to either you or your spouse. Also, the person doesn't need to be related to the spouse who provides support.

Publication 501 (2021)

For example, your spouse's uncle who re- ceives more than half of his support from you may be your qualifying relative, even though he doesn't live with you. However, if you and your spouse file separate returns, your spouse's un- cle can be your qualifying relative only if he lives with you all year as a member of your house- hold.

Temporary absences. A person is considered to live with you as a member of your household during periods of time when one of you, or both, are temporarily absent due to special circum- stances, such as:

Illness,

Education,

Business,

Vacation,

Military service, or

Detention in a juvenile facility.

If the person is placed in a nursing home for an indefinite period of time to receive constant medical care, the absence may be considered temporary.

Death or birth. A person who died during the year, but lived with you as a member of your household until death, will meet this test. The same is true for a child who was born during the year and lived with you as a member of your household for the rest of the year. The test is also met if a child lived with you as a member of your household except for any required hospital stay following birth. The test is also met for an adopted or foster child if you adopted the per- son in 2021, the person was lawfully placed with you for legal adoption by you in 2021, or the person was an eligible foster child placed with you during 2021 and your main home was the person’s main home for the entire time since he or she was adopted or placed with you in 2021.

If your dependent died during the year and you otherwise qualify to claim that person as a dependent, you can still claim that person as a dependent.

Example. Your mother died on January 15. She met the tests to be your qualifying relative. You can claim her as a dependent on your re- turn.

Local law violated. A person doesn't meet this test if at any time during the year the rela- tionship between you and that person violates local law.

Example. Your girlfriend lived with you as a member of your household all year. However, your relationship with her violated the laws of the state where you live because she was mar- ried to someone else. Therefore, she doesn't meet this test and you can't claim her as a de- pendent.

Adopted child. An adopted child is always treated as your own child. The term “adopted child” includes a child who was lawfully placed with you for legal adoption.

Cousin. Your cousin meets this test only if he or she lives with you all year as a member of

Publication 501 (2021)

your household. A cousin is a descendant of a brother or sister of your father or mother.

Gross Income Test

To meet this test, a person's gross income for the year must be less than $4,300.

Gross income defined. Gross income is all income in the form of money, property, and services that isn't exempt from tax.

In a manufacturing, merchandising, or min- ing business, gross income is the total net sales minus the cost of goods sold, plus any miscella- neous income from the business.

Gross receipts from rental property are gross income. Don't deduct taxes, repairs, or other expenses to determine the gross income from rental property.

Gross income includes a partner's share of the gross (not net) partnership income.

Gross income also includes all taxable un- employment compensation, taxable social se- curity benefits, and certain amounts received as scholarship and fellowship grants. Scholarships received by degree candidates and used for tui- tion, fees, supplies, books, and equipment re- quired for particular courses aren’t generally in- cluded in gross income. For more information about scholarships, see chapter 1 of Pub. 970.

Disabled dependent working at sheltered workshop. For purposes of the gross income test, the gross income of an individual who is permanently and totally disabled at any time during the year doesn't include income for serv- ices the individual performs at a sheltered work- shop. The availability of medical care at the workshop must be the main reason for the indi- vidual's presence there. Also, the income must come solely from activities at the workshop that are incident to this medical care.

A “sheltered workshop” is a school that:

Provides special instruction or training de- signed to alleviate the disability of the indi- vidual; and

Is operated by certain tax-exempt organi- zations or by a state, a U.S. possession, a political subdivision of a state or posses- sion, the United States, or the District of Columbia.

Permanently and totally disabled has the same meaning here as under Qualifying Child, earlier.

Support Test (To Be a

Qualifying Relative)

To meet this test, you must generally provide more than half of a person's total support during the calendar year.

However, if two or more persons provide support, but no one person provides more than half of a person's total support, see Multiple Support Agreement, later.

How to determine if support test is met. You figure whether you have provided more than half of a person's total support by compar- ing the amount you contributed to that person's support with the entire amount of support that person received from all sources. This includes

support the person provided from his or her own funds.

You may find Worksheet 2 helpful in figuring whether you provided more than half of a per- son's support.

Person's own funds not used for support. A person's own funds aren't support unless they are actually spent for support.

Example. Your mother received $2,400 in social security benefits and $300 in interest. She paid $2,000 for lodging and $400 for recre- ation. She put $300 in a savings account.

Even though your mother received a total of $2,700 ($2,400 + $300), she spent only $2,400 ($2,000 + $400) for her own support. If you spent more than $2,400 for her support and no other support was received, you have provided more than half of her support.

Child's wages used for own support. You can't include in your contribution to your child's support any support paid for by the child with the child's own wages, even if you paid the wa- ges.

Year support is provided. The year you pro- vide the support is the year you pay for it, even if you do so with borrowed money that you re- pay in a later year.

If you use a fiscal year to report your in- come, you must provide more than half of the dependent's support for the calendar year in which your fiscal year begins.

Armed Forces dependency allotments. The part of the allotment contributed by the govern- ment and the part taken out of your military pay are both considered provided by you in figuring whether you provide more than half of the sup- port. If your allotment is used to support per- sons other than those you name, you can claim them as dependents if they otherwise qualify.

Example. You are in the Armed Forces. You authorize an allotment for your widowed mother that she uses to support herself and her sister. If the allotment provides more than half of each person's support, you can claim each of them as a dependent, if they otherwise qualify, even though you authorize the allotment only for your mother.

Tax-exempt military quarters allowan- ces. These allowances are treated the same way as dependency allotments in figuring sup- port. The allotment of pay and the tax-exempt basic allowance for quarters are both consid- ered as provided by you for support.

Tax-exempt income. In figuring a person's to- tal support, include tax-exempt income, sav- ings, and borrowed amounts used to support that person. Tax-exempt income includes cer- tain social security benefits, welfare benefits, nontaxable life insurance proceeds, Armed Forces family allotments, nontaxable pensions, and tax-exempt interest.

Example 1. You provide $4,000 toward your mother's support during the year. She has earned income of $600, nontaxable social se- curity benefits of $4,800, and tax-exempt inter- est of $200. She uses all these for her support.

Page 19

You can't claim your mother as a dependent be- cause the $4,000 you provide isn't more than half of her total support of $9,600 ($4,000 + $600 + $4,800 + $200).

Example 2. Your niece takes out a student loan of $2,500 and uses it to pay her college tui- tion. She is personally responsible for the loan. You provide $2,000 toward her total support. You can't claim her as a dependent because you provide less than half of her support.

Social security benefits. If spouses each receive benefits that are paid by one check made out to both of them, half of the total paid is considered to be for the support of each spouse, unless they can show otherwise.

If a child receives social security benefits and uses them toward his or her own support, the benefits are considered as provided by the child.

Support provided by the state (welfare, food benefits, housing, etc.). Benefits provi- ded by the state to a needy person are gener- ally considered support provided by the state. However, payments based on the needs of the recipient won't be considered as used entirely for that person's support if it is shown that part of the payments weren't used for that purpose.

TANF and other governmental pay- ments. Under proposed Treasury regulations, if you received Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) payments or other similar pay- ments and used the payment to support an- other person, those payments are considered support you provided for that person, rather than support provided by the government or other third party.

Foster care. Payments you receive for the support of a foster child from a child placement agency are considered support provided by the agency. See Foster care payments and expen- ses, earlier.

Home for the aged. If you make a lump-sum advance payment to a home for the aged to take care of your relative for life and the pay- ment is based on that person's life expectancy, the amount of support you provide each year is the lump-sum payment divided by the relative's life expectancy. The amount of support you pro- vide also includes any other amounts you provi- ded during the year.

Total Support

To figure if you provided more than half of a person's support, you must first determine the total support provided for that person. Total support includes amounts spent to provide food, lodging, clothing, education, medical and dental care, recreation, transportation, and sim- ilar necessities.

Generally, the amount of an item of support is the amount of the expense incurred in provid- ing that item. For lodging, the amount of support is the fair rental value of the lodging.

Expenses not directly related to any one member of a household, such as the cost of

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food for the household, must be divided among the members of the household.

Example 1. Grace Brown, mother of Mary Miller, lives with Frank and Mary Miller and their two children. Grace gets social security benefits of $2,400, which she spends for clothing, trans- portation, and recreation. Grace has no other income. Frank and Mary's total food expense for the household is $5,200. They pay Grace's medical and drug expenses of $1,200. The fair rental value of the lodging provided for Grace is $1,800 a year, based on the cost of similar rooming facilities. Figure Grace's total support as follows.

Fair rental value of lodging

$ 1,800

Clothing, transportation, and

2,400

recreation

Medical expenses

1,200

Share of food (1/5 of $5,200)

1,040

Total support

$6,440

 

 

The support Frank and Mary provide ($1,800 lodging + $1,200 medical expenses + $1,040 food = $4,040) is more than half of Grace's $6,440 total support.

Example 2. Your parents live with you, your spouse, and your two children in a house you own. The fair rental value of your parents' share of the lodging is $2,000 a year ($1,000 each), which includes furnishings and utilities. Your fa- ther receives a nontaxable pension of $4,200, which he spends equally between your mother and himself for items of support such as cloth- ing, transportation, and recreation. Your total food expense for the household is $6,000. Your heat and utility bills amount to $1,200. Your mother has hospital and medical expenses of $600, which you pay during the year. Figure your parents' total support as follows.

Support provided

Father

 

Mother

Fair rental value of lodging . . . .

$1,000

$1,000

Pension spent for their

2,100

2,100

support

Share of food (1/6 of

1,000

1,000

$6,000)

Medical expenses for

 

 

600

mother

 

Parents' total support . . . .

$4,100

$4,700

 

 

 

 

You must apply the support test separately to each parent. You provide $2,000 ($1,000 lodging + $1,000 food) of your father's total sup- port of $4,100—less than half. You provide $2,600 to your mother ($1,000 lodging + $1,000 food + $600 medical)—more than half of her to- tal support of $4,700. You meet the support test for your mother, but not your father. Heat and utility costs are included in the fair rental value of the lodging, so these aren't considered sepa- rately.

Lodging. If you provide a person with lodging, you are considered to provide support equal to the fair rental value of the room, apartment, house, or other shelter in which the person lives. Fair rental value includes a reasonable al-

lowance for the use of furniture and appliances, and for heat and other utilities that are provided.

Fair rental value defined. Fair rental value is the amount you could reasonably expect to receive from a stranger for the same kind of lodging. It is used instead of actual expenses such as taxes, interest, depreciation, paint, in- surance, utilities, and the cost of furniture and appliances. In some cases, fair rental value may be equal to the rent paid.

If you provide the total lodging, the amount of support you provide is the fair rental value of the room the person uses, or a share of the fair rental value of the entire dwelling if the person has use of your entire home. If you don't provide the total lodging, the total fair rental value must be divided depending on how much of the total lodging you provide. If you provide only a part and the person supplies the rest, the fair rental value must be divided between both of you ac- cording to the amount each provides.

Example. Your parents live rent free in a house you own. It has a fair rental value of $5,400 a year furnished, which includes a fair rental value of $3,600 for the house and $1,800 for the furniture. This doesn't include heat and utilities. The house is completely furnished with furniture belonging to your parents. You pay $600 for their utility bills. Utilities aren't usually included in rent for houses in the area where your parents live. Therefore, you consider the total fair rental value of the lodging to be $6,000 ($3,600 fair rental value of the unfurnished house + $1,800 allowance for the furnishings provided by your parents + $600 cost of utilities) of which you are considered to provide $4,200 ($3,600 + $600).

Person living in his or her own home. The total fair rental value of a person's home that he or she owns is considered support con- tributed by that person.

Living with someone rent free. If you live with a person rent free in his or her home, you must reduce the amount you provide for sup- port of that person by the fair rental value of lodging he or she provides you.

Property. Property provided as support is measured by its fair market value. Fair market value is the price that property would sell for on the open market. It is the price that would be agreed upon between a willing buyer and a will- ing seller, with neither being required to act, and both having reasonable knowledge of the rele- vant facts.

Capital expenses. Capital items, such as furniture, appliances, and cars, bought for a person during the year can be included in total support under certain circumstances.

The following examples show when a capi- tal item is or isn't support.

Example 1. You buy a $200 power lawn mower for your 13-year-old child. The child is given the duty of keeping the lawn trimmed. Be- cause the lawn mower benefits all members of the household, don't include the cost of the lawn mower in the support of your child.

Example 2. You buy a $150 television set as a birthday present for your 12-year-old child.

Publication 501 (2021)

The television set is placed in your child's bed- room. You can include the cost of the television set in the support of your child.

Example 3. You pay $5,000 for a car and register it in your name. You and your 17-year-old daughter use the car equally. Be- cause you own the car and don't give it to your daughter but merely let her use it, don't include the cost of the car in your daughter's total sup- port. However, you can include in your daugh- ter's support your out-of-pocket expenses of operating the car for her benefit.

Example 4. Your 17-year-old son, using personal funds, buys a car for $4,500. You pro- vide the rest of your son's support—$4,000. Be- cause the car is bought and owned by your son, the car's fair market value ($4,500) must be in- cluded in his support. Your son has provided more than half of his own total support of $8,500 ($4,500 + $4,000), so he isn't your quali- fying child. You didn't provide more than half of his total support, so he isn't your qualifying rela- tive. You can't claim your son as a dependent.

Medical insurance premiums. Medical insur- ance premiums you pay, including premiums for supplementary Medicare coverage, are inclu- ded in the support you provide.

Medical insurance benefits. Medical in- surance benefits, including basic and supple- mentary Medicare benefits, aren't part of sup- port.

Tuition payments and allowances under the GI Bill. Amounts veterans receive under the GI Bill for tuition payments and allowances while they attend school are included in total support.

Example. During the year, your son re- ceives $2,200 from the government under the GI Bill. He uses this amount for his education. You provide the rest of his support—$2,000. Because GI benefits are included in total sup- port, your son's total support is $4,200 ($2,200

+$2,000). You haven't provided more than half of his support.

Child care expenses. If you pay someone to provide child or dependent care, you can in- clude these payments in the amount you provi- ded for the support of your child or disabled de- pendent, even if you claim a credit for the payments. For information on the credit, see Pub. 503.

Other support items. Other items may be considered as support depending on the facts in each case.

Don't Include in Total Support

The following items aren't included in total sup- port.

1.Federal, state, and local income taxes paid by persons from their own income.

2.Social security and Medicare taxes paid by persons from their own income.

3.Life insurance premiums.

4.Funeral expenses.

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5.Scholarships received by your child if your child is a student.

6.Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance payments used for the support of the child who receives them.

Multiple Support Agreement

Sometimes no one provides more than half of the support of a person. Instead, two or more persons, each of whom would be able to claim the person as a dependent but for the support test, together provide more than half of the per- son's support.

When this happens, you can agree that any one of you who individually provides more than 10% of the person's support, but only one, can claim that person as a dependent. Each of the others must sign a statement agreeing not to claim the person as a dependent for that year. The person who claims the person as a de- pendent must keep these signed statements for his or her records. A multiple support declara- tion identifying each of the others who agreed not to claim the person as a dependent must be attached to the return of the person claiming the person as a dependent. Form 2120, Multiple Support Declaration, can be used for this pur- pose.

You can claim someone as a dependent un- der a multiple support agreement for someone related to you or for someone who lived with you all year as a member of your household.

Example 1. You, your sister, and your two brothers provide the entire support of your mother for the year. You provide 45%, your sis- ter 35%, and your two brothers each provide 10%. Either you or your sister can claim your mother as a dependent. The other must sign a statement agreeing not to claim your mother as a dependent. The one who claims your mother as a dependent must attach Form 2120, or a similar declaration, to his or her return and must keep the statement signed by the other for his or her records. Because neither brother pro- vides more than 10% of the support, neither can claim your mother as a dependent and neither has to sign a statement.

Example 2. You and your brother each pro- vide 20% of your mother's support for the year. The remaining 60% of her support is provided equally by two persons who aren't related to her. She doesn't live with them. Because more than half of her support is provided by persons who can't claim her as a dependent, no one can claim her as a dependent.

Example 3. Your father lives with you and receives 25% of his support from social secur- ity, 40% from you, 24% from his brother (your uncle), and 11% from a friend. Either you or your uncle can claim your father as a depend- ent if the other signs a statement agreeing not to. The one who claims your father as a de- pendent must attach Form 2120, or a similar declaration, to his return and must keep for his records the signed statement from the one agreeing not to claim your father as a depend- ent.

Support Test for Children of Divorced or Separated Parents (or Parents Who Live Apart)

In most cases, a child of divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart) will be a qualifying child of one of the parents. See Chil- dren of divorced or separated parents (or pa- rents who live apart) under Qualifying Child, earlier. However, if the child doesn't meet the requirements to be a qualifying child of either parent, the child may be a qualifying relative of one of the parents. In that case, the following rules must be used in applying the support test.

A child who doesn’t meet the requirements to be a qualifying child of either parent will be treated as the qualifying relative of his or her noncustodial parent if all four of the following statements are true.

1.The parents:

a.Are divorced or legally separated un- der a decree of divorce or separate maintenance,

b.Are separated under a written separa- tion agreement, or

c.Lived apart at all times during the last 6 months of the year, whether or not they are or were married.

2.The child received over half of his or her support for the year from the parents (and the rules on multiple support agreements, explained earlier, don't apply).

3.The child is in the custody of one or both parents for more than half of the year.

4.Either of the following statements is true.

a.The custodial parent signs a written declaration, discussed later, that he or she won't claim the child as a depend- ent for the year, and the noncustodial parent attaches this written declara- tion to his or her return. (If the decree or agreement went into effect after 1984 and before 2009, see Post-1984 and pre-2009 divorce decree or sepa- ration agreement, later. If the decree or agreement went into effect after 2008, see Post-2008 divorce decree or separation agreement, later.)

b.A pre-1985 decree of divorce or sepa- rate maintenance or written separa- tion agreement that applies to 2021 states that the noncustodial parent can claim the child as a dependent, the decree or agreement wasn't changed after 1984 to say the non- custodial parent can't claim the child as a dependent, and the noncustodial parent provides at least $600 for the child's support during the year.

Custodial parent and noncustodial parent. The custodial parent is the parent with whom the child lived for the greater number of nights during the year. The other parent is the noncus- todial parent.

If the parents divorced or separated during the year and the child lived with both parents before the separation, the custodial parent is

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the one with whom the child lived for the greater number of nights during the rest of the year.

A child is treated as living with a parent for a night if the child sleeps:

At that parent's home, whether or not the parent is present; or

In the company of the parent, when the child doesn't sleep at a parent's home (for example, the parent and child are on vaca- tion together).

Equal number of nights. If the child lived with each parent for an equal number of nights during the year, the custodial parent is the pa- rent with the higher adjusted gross income.

December 31. The night of December 31 is treated as part of the year in which it begins. For example, the night of December 31, 2021, is treated as part of 2021.

Emancipated child. If a child is emancipa- ted under state law, the child is not under the custody of either parent and time lived with a parent after emancipation does not count for purposes of determining who is the custodial parent.

Absences. If a child wasn't with either pa- rent on a particular night (because, for example, the child was staying at a friend's house), the child is treated as living with the parent with whom the child normally would have lived for that night. But if it can't be determined with which parent the child normally would have lived or if the child wouldn't have lived with ei- ther parent that night, the child is treated as not living with either parent that night.

Parent works at night. If, due to a parent's nighttime work schedule, a child lives for a greater number of days, but not nights, with the parent who works at night, that parent is treated as the custodial parent. On a school day, the child is treated as living at the primary resi- dence registered with the school.

Written declaration. The custodial parent must use either Form 8332 or a similar state- ment (containing the same information required by the form) to make the written declaration to release a claim to an exemption for a child to the noncustodial parent. Although the exemp- tion amount is zero for tax year 2021, this re- lease allows the noncustodial parent to claim the nonrefundable child tax credit, credit for other dependents, refundable child tax credit, or additional child tax credit, if applicable, based on the child being a qualifying child. The non- custodial parent must attach a copy of the form or statement to his or her tax return.

The release can be for 1 year, for a number of specified years (for example, alternate years), or for all future years, as specified in the declaration.

Post-1984 and pre-2009 divorce decree or separation agreement. If the divorce de- cree or separation agreement went into effect after 1984 and before 2009, the noncustodial parent may be able to attach certain pages from the decree or agreement instead of Form 8332. The decree or agreement must state all three of the following.

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1.The noncustodial parent can claim the child as a dependent without regard to any condition, such as payment of support.

2.The custodial parent won't claim the child as a dependent for the year.

3.The years for which the noncustodial pa- rent, rather than the custodial parent, can claim the child as a dependent.

The noncustodial parent must attach all of the following pages of the decree or agreement to his or her tax return.

The cover page (write the other parent's social security number on this page).

The pages that include all of the informa- tion identified in items (1) through (3) above.

The signature page with the other parent's signature and the date of the agreement.

Post-2008 divorce decree or separation agreement. The noncustodial parent can't at- tach pages from the decree or agreement to the tax return instead of Form 8332 if the decree or agreement went into effect after 2008. The cus- todial parent must sign either Form 8332 or a similar statement whose only purpose is to re- lease the custodial parent's claim to an exemp- tion, and the noncustodial parent must attach a copy to his or her return. The form or statement must release the custodial parent's claim to the child without any conditions. For example, the release must not depend on the noncustodial parent paying support.

The noncustodial parent must attach

!the required information even if it was CAUTION filed with a return in an earlier year.

Revocation of release of claim to an ex- emption. The custodial parent can revoke a release of claim to an exemption that he or she previously released to the noncustodial parent. For the revocation to be effective for 2021, the custodial parent must have given (or made rea- sonable efforts to give) written notice of the rev- ocation to the noncustodial parent in 2020 or earlier. The custodial parent can use Part III of Form 8332 for this purpose and must attach a copy of the revocation to his or her return for each tax year he or she claims the child as a dependent as a result of the revocation.

Remarried parent. If you remarry, the support provided by your new spouse is treated as pro- vided by you.

Child support under pre-1985 agreement. All child support payments actually received from the noncustodial parent under a pre-1985 agreement are considered used for the support of the child.

Example. Under a pre-1985 agreement, the noncustodial parent provides $1,200 for the child's support. This amount is considered sup- port provided by the noncustodial parent even if the $1,200 was actually spent on things other than support.

Alimony. Payments to a spouse that are alimony or separate maintenance payments, or similar payments from an estate or trust, aren't treated as a payment for the support of a de- pendent.

Parents who never married. This special rule for divorced or separated parents also applies to parents who never married and lived apart at all times during the last 6 months of the year.

Multiple support agreement. If the support of the child is determined under a multiple support agreement, this special support test for di- vorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart) doesn't apply.

Social Security

Numbers for

Dependents

You must show the social security number (SSN) of any dependent you list in the Depend- ents section of your Form 1040 or 1040-SR.

If you don't show the dependent's SSN

!when required or if you show an incor- CAUTION rect SSN, certain tax benefits may be disallowed.

No SSN. If a person whom you expect to claim as a dependent on your return doesn't have an SSN, either you or that person should apply for an SSN as soon as possible by filing Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card, with the Social Security Administration (SSA). You can get Form SS-5 online at SSA.gov/ forms/ss-5.pdf or at your local SSA office.

It usually takes about 2 weeks to get an SSN once the SSA has all the information it needs. If you don't have a required SSN by the filing due date, you can file Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Indi- vidual Income Tax Return, for an extension of time to file.

Born and died in 2021. If your child was born and died in 2021, and you don't have an SSN for the child, you may attach a copy of the child's birth certificate, death certificate, or hos- pital records instead. The document must show the child was born alive. If you do this, enter “DIED” in column (2) of the Dependents section of your Form 1040 or 1040-SR.

Alien or adoptee with no SSN. If your de- pendent doesn't have and can't get an SSN, you must show the individual taxpayer identifi- cation number (ITIN) or adoption taxpayer iden- tification number (ATIN) instead of an SSN.

Taxpayer identification numbers for ali- ens. If your dependent is a resident or nonresi- dent alien who doesn't have and isn't eligible to get an SSN, your dependent must apply for an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). For details on how to apply, see Form W-7, Ap- plication for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identifica- tion Number.

Taxpayer identification numbers for adoptees. If you have a child who was placed with you by an authorized placement agency, you may be able to claim the child as a depend- ent. However, if you can't get an SSN or an ITIN for the child, you must get an adoption taxpayer identification number (ATIN) for the child from

Publication 501 (2021)

the IRS. See Form W-7A, Application for Tax- payer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions, for details.

Standard Deduction

In 2021, you are allowed a charitable TIP contribution deduction for cash contri- butions of up to $300 ($600 if married filing jointly) if you don't itemize your deduc-

tions. For more information, see Line 12b in the Instructions for Form 1040.

Most taxpayers have a choice of either tak- ing a standard deduction or itemizing their de- ductions. If you have a choice, you can use the method that gives you the lower tax.

The standard deduction is a dollar amount that reduces your taxable income. It is a benefit that eliminates the need for many taxpayers to itemize actual deductions, such as medical ex- penses, charitable contributions, and taxes, on Schedule A (Form 1040). The standard deduc- tion is higher for taxpayers who:

Are 65 or older, or

Are blind.

You benefit from the standard deduc- TIP tion if your standard deduction is more than the total of your allowable item-

ized deductions.

Persons not eligible for the standard de- duction. Your standard deduction is zero and you should itemize any deductions you have if:

1.Your filing status is married filing sepa- rately, and your spouse itemizes deduc- tions on his or her return;

2.You are filing a tax return for a short tax year because of a change in your annual accounting period; or

3.You are a nonresident or dual-status alien during the year. You are considered a dual-status alien if you were both a non- resident and resident alien during the year.

If you are a nonresident alien who is married to a U.S. citizen or resident alien at the end of the year, you can choose to be treated as a U.S. resident (see Pub. 519). If you make this choice, you can take the standard deduction.

If you can be claimed as a dependent

!on another person's return (such as CAUTION your parents' return), your standard de- duction may be limited. See Standard Deduc- tion for Dependents, later.

Standard Deduction Amount

The standard deduction amount depends on your filing status, whether you are 65 or older or blind, and whether another taxpayer can claim you as a dependent. Generally, the standard deduction amounts are adjusted each year for inflation. The standard deduction amounts for most people are shown in Table 6.

Decedent's final return. The standard deduc- tion for a decedent's final tax return is the same

Publication 501 (2021)

as it would have been had the decedent contin- ued to live. However, if the decedent wasn't 65 or older at the time of death, the higher stand- ard deduction for age can't be claimed.

Higher Standard Deduction for Age (65 or Older)

If you are age 65 or older on the last day of the year and don't itemize deductions, you are enti- tled to a higher standard deduction. You are considered 65 on the day before your 65th birthday. Therefore, you can take a higher standard deduction for 2021 if you were born before January 2, 1957.

Use Table 7 to figure the standard deduction amount.

Death of taxpayer. If you are preparing a re- turn for someone who died in 2021, consider the taxpayer to be 65 or older at the end of 2021 only if he or she was 65 or older at the time of death. Even if the taxpayer was born be- fore January 2, 1957, he or she isn't considered 65 or older at the end of 2021 unless he or she was 65 or older at the time of death.

A person is considered to reach age 65 on the day before his or her 65th birthday.

Higher Standard Deduction for Blindness

If you are blind on the last day of the year and you don't itemize deductions, you are entitled to a higher standard deduction.

Not totally blind. If you aren't totally blind, you must get a certified statement from an eye doc- tor (ophthalmologist or optometrist) stating that:

1.You can't see better than 20/200 in the better eye with glasses or contact lenses, or

2.Your field of vision is 20 degrees or less.

If your eye condition isn't likely to improve beyond these limits, the statement should in- clude this fact. Keep the statement in your re- cords.

If your vision can be corrected beyond these limits only by contact lenses that you can wear only briefly because of pain, infection, or ulcers, you can take the higher standard deduction for blindness if you otherwise qualify.

Spouse 65 or Older or Blind

You can take the higher standard deduction if your spouse is age 65 or older or blind and:

1.You file a joint return, or

2.You file a separate return and your spouse had no gross income and can't be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer.

Death of spouse. If your spouse died in 2021 before reaching age 65, you can't take a higher standard deduction because of your spouse. Even if your spouse was born before January 2, 1957, he or she isn't considered 65 or older at the end of 2021 unless he or she was 65 or older at the time of death.

A person is considered to reach age 65 on the day before his or her 65th birthday.

Example. Your spouse was born on Febru- ary 14, 1956, and died on February 13, 2021. Your spouse is considered age 65 at the time of death. However, if your spouse died on Febru- ary 12, 2021, your spouse isn't considered age 65 at the time of death and isn't 65 or older at the end of 2021.

You can't claim the higher standard de-

!duction for an individual other than CAUTION yourself and your spouse.

Examples

The following examples illustrate how to deter- mine your standard deduction using Table 6 and Table 7.

Example 1. Larry, 46, and Donna, 33, are filing a joint return for 2021. Neither is blind, and neither can be claimed as a dependent. They decide not to itemize their deductions. They use Table 6. Their standard deduction is $25,100.

Example 2. The facts are the same as in Example 1, except that Larry is blind at the end of 2021. Larry and Donna use Table 7. Their standard deduction is $26,450.

Example 3. Bill and Lisa are filing a joint re- turn for 2021. Both are over age 65. Neither is blind, and neither can be claimed as a depend- ent. If they don't itemize deductions, they use Table 7. Their standard deduction is $27,800.

Standard Deduction for Dependents

The standard deduction for an individual who can be claimed as a dependent on another per- son's tax return is generally limited to the greater of:

1.$1,100, or

2.The individual's earned income for the year plus $350 (but not more than the reg- ular standard deduction amount, generally $12,550).

However, if the individual is 65 or older or blind, the standard deduction may be higher.

If you (or your spouse if filing jointly) can be claimed as a dependent on someone else's re- turn, use Table 8 to determine your standard deduction.

Earned income defined. Earned income is salaries, wages, tips, professional fees, and other amounts received as pay for work you ac- tually perform.

For purposes of the standard deduction, earned income also includes any part of a taxa- ble scholarship or fellowship grant. See chap- ter 1 of Pub. 970 for more information on what qualifies as a scholarship or fellowship grant.

Example 1. Michael is 16 years old and single. His parents can claim him as a depend- ent on their 2021 tax return. He has interest in- come of $780 and wages of $150. He has no itemized deductions. Michael uses Table 8 to

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find his standard deduction. He enters $150 (his earned income) on line 1, $500 ($150 + $350) on line 3, $1,100 (the larger of $500 and $1,100) on line 5, and $12,550 on line 6. His standard deduction, on line 7a, is $1,100 (the smaller of $1,100 and $12,550).

Example 2. Joe, a 22-year-old college stu- dent, can be claimed as a dependent on his pa- rents' 2021 tax return. Joe is married and files a separate return. His wife doesn't itemize deduc- tions on her separate return. Joe has $1,500 in interest income and wages of $3,800. He has no itemized deductions. Joe finds his standard deduction by using Table 8. He enters his earned income, $3,800, on line 1. He adds lines 1 and 2 and enters $4,150 on line 3. On line 5, he enters $4,150, the larger of lines 3 and 4. Because Joe is married filing a separate return, he enters $12,550 on line 6. On line 7a, he en- ters $4,150 as his standard deduction because it is smaller than $12,550, the amount on line 6.

Example 3. Amy, who is single, can be claimed as a dependent on her parents' 2021 tax return. She is 18 years old and blind. She has interest income of $1,300 and wages of $2,900. She has no itemized deductions. Amy uses Table 8 to find her standard deduction. She enters her wages of $2,900 on line 1. She adds lines 1 and 2 and enters $3,250 on line 3. On line 5, she enters $3,250, the larger of lines 3 and 4. Because she is single, Amy enters $12,550 on line 6. She enters $3,250 on line 7a. This is the smaller of the amounts on lines 5 and 6. Because she checked one box in the top part of the worksheet, she enters $1,700 on line 7b. She then adds the amounts on lines 7a and 7b and enters her standard deduction of $4,950 on line 7c.

Example 4. Ed is 18 years old and single. His parents can claim him as a dependent on their 2021 tax return. He has wages of $7,000, interest income of $500, and a business loss of $3,000. He has no itemized deductions. Ed uses Table 8 to figure his standard deduction. He enters $4,000 ($7,000 − $3,000) on line 1.

He adds lines 1 and 2 and enters $4,350 on line 3. On line 5, he enters $4,350, the larger of lines 3 and 4. Because he is single, Ed enters $12,550 on line 6. On line 7a, he enters $4,350 as his standard deduction because it is smaller than $12,550, the amount on line 6.

Who Should Itemize

You should itemize deductions if your total de- ductions are more than the standard deduction amount. Also, you should itemize if you don't qualify for the standard deduction, as dis- cussed, earlier, under Persons not eligible for the standard deduction.

You should first figure your itemized deduc- tions and compare that amount to your stand- ard deduction to make sure you are using the method that gives you the greater benefit.

When to itemize. You may benefit from itemizing your deductions on Schedule A (Form

1040) if you:

1.Don't qualify for the standard deduction,

2.Had large uninsured medical and dental expenses during the year,

3.Paid interest and taxes on your home,

4.Had large uninsured casualty or theft los- ses,

5.Made large contributions to qualified chari- ties, or

6.Have total itemized deductions that are more than the standard deduction to which you otherwise are entitled.

If you decide to itemize your deductions, complete Schedule A and attach it to your Form 1040 or 1040-SR. Enter the amount from Schedule A, line 17, on Form 1040 or 1040-SR, line 12a.

In 2021, you are allowed a charitable TIP contribution deduction for cash contri- butions of up to $300 ($600 if married filing jointly) if you don't itemize your deduc-

tions.

Electing to itemize for state tax or other purposes. Even if your itemized deductions are less than your standard deduction, you can elect to itemize deductions on your federal re- turn rather than take the standard deduction. You may want to do this if, for example, the tax benefit of itemizing your deductions on your state tax return is greater than the tax benefit you lose on your federal return by not taking the standard deduction. To make this election, you must check the box on line 18 of Schedule A.

Changing your mind. If you don't itemize your deductions and later find that you should have itemized—or if you itemize your deductions and later find you shouldn't have—you can change your return by filing Form 1040-X.

Married persons who filed separate re- turns. You can change methods of taking de- ductions only if you and your spouse both make the same changes. Both of you must file a con- sent to assessment for any additional tax either one may owe as a result of the change.

You and your spouse can use the method that gives you the lower total tax, even though one of you may pay more tax than you would have paid by using the other method. You both must use the same method of claiming deduc- tions. If one itemizes deductions, the other should itemize because he or she won't qualify for the standard deduction. See Persons not eli- gible for the standard deduction, earlier.

2021 Standard Deduction Tables

If you are married filing a separate re-

!turn and your spouse itemizes deduc- CAUTION tions, or if you are a dual-status alien, you can't take the standard deduction even if you were born before January 2, 1957, or are blind.

Table 6. Standard Deduction Chart for Most People*

IF your filing status is...

YOUR standard deduction is...

Single or Married filing separately

$12,550

Married filing jointly or Qualifying widow(er)

  25,100

Head of household

 18,800

*Don't use this chart if you were born before January 2, 1957, or are blind, or if someone else can claim you (or your spouse if filing jointly) as a dependent. Use Table 7 or Table 8 instead.

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Publication 501 (2021)

Table 7. Standard Deduction Chart for People Born Before January 2, 1957, or Who Are Blind*

Check the correct number of boxes below. Then go to the chart.

 

 

 

You:

Born before January 2, 1957

Blind

Your spouse:

Born before January 2, 1957

Blind

 

 

 

 

 

Total number of boxes you checked

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IF your filing status is...

 

AND the number in the box above is...

THEN your standard deduction is...

Single

 

 1

$14,250

 

2

 15,950

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

$26,450

Married filing jointly

 

2

 27,800

 

3

 29,150

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

 30,500

Qualifying widow(er)

 

1

$26,450

 

2

 27,800

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

$13,900

Married filing separately**

 

2

 15,250

 

3

 16,600

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

 17,950

Head of household

 

1

$20,500

 

2

 22,200

 

 

 

 

*If someone else can claim you (or your spouse if filing jointly) as a dependent, use Table 8 instead.

**You can check the boxes for “Your spouse” if your filing status is married filing separately and your spouse had no income, isn't filing a return, and can't be claimed as a dependent on another person's return.

Publication 501 (2021)

Page 25

Table 8. Standard Deduction Worksheet for Dependents

 

 

Use this worksheet only if someone else can claim you (or your spouse if

 

 

 

 

 

filing jointly) as a dependent.

 

Keep for Your Records

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check the correct number of boxes below. Then go to the worksheet.

 

 

 

 

You:

 

 

 

 

Born before January 2, 1957

 

Blind

 

Your spouse:

Born before January 2, 1957

 

Blind

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total number of boxes you checked

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.

Enter your earned income (defined below). If none, enter -0-.

 

1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.

Additional amount.

 

2.

$350

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.

Add lines 1 and 2.

 

3.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.

Minimum standard deduction.

 

4.

$1,100

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.

Enter the larger of line 3 or line 4.

 

5.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6.

Enter the amount shown below for your filing status.

 

 

 

 

 

Single or Married filing separately—$12,550

 

6.

 

 

 

Married filing jointly—$25,100

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Head of household—$18,800

 

 

 

 

7.

Standard deduction.

 

 

 

 

 

a.

Enter the smaller of line 5 or line 6. If born after January 1, 1957, and not blind, stop here. This is your

7a.

 

 

 

 

standard deduction. Otherwise, go on to line 7b.

 

 

 

 

b. If born before January 2, 1957, or blind, multiply $1,700 ($1,350 if married) by the number in the box above.

7b.

 

 

 

c. Add lines 7a and 7b. This is your standard deduction for 2021.

 

7c.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earned income includes wages, salaries, tips, professional fees, and other compensation received for personal services you performed. It also includes any taxable scholarship or fellowship grant.

How To Get Tax Help

If you have questions about a tax issue; need help preparing your tax return; or want to down- load free publications, forms, or instructions, go to IRS.gov to find resources that can help you right away.

Preparing and filing your tax return. After receiving all your wage and earnings state- ments (Forms W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, 1099-MISC, 1099-NEC, etc.); unemployment compensation statements (by mail or in a digital format) or other government payment statements (Form 1099-G); and interest, dividend, and retirement statements from banks and investment firms (Forms 1099), you have several options to choose from to prepare and file your tax return. You can prepare the tax return yourself, see if you qualify for free tax preparation, or hire a tax professional to prepare your return.

For 2021, if you received an Economic

!Impact Payment (EIP), refer to your CAUTION Notice 1444-C, Your 2021 Economic Impact Payment. If you received Advance Child Tax Credit payments, refer to your Letter 6419.

Free options for tax preparation. Go to IRS.gov to see your options for preparing and

filing your return online or in your local commun- ity, if you qualify, which include the following.

Free File. This program lets you prepare and file your federal individual income tax return for free using brand-name tax-prep- aration-and-filing software or Free File filla- ble forms. However, state tax preparation may not be available through Free File. Go to IRS.gov/FreeFile to see if you qualify for free online federal tax preparation, e-filing, and direct deposit or payment options.

VITA. The Volunteer Income Tax Assis- tance (VITA) program offers free tax help to people with low-to-moderate incomes, persons with disabilities, and limited-Eng- lish-speaking taxpayers who need help preparing their own tax returns. Go to IRS.gov/VITA, download the free IRS2Go app, or call 800-906-9887 for information on free tax return preparation.

TCE. The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 years of age and older. TCE volunteers specialize in answering questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors. Go to IRS.gov/TCE, download the free IRS2Go app, or call 888-227-7669 for information on free tax return preparation.

MilTax. Members of the U.S. Armed Forces and qualified veterans may use Mil- Tax, a free tax service offered by the De- partment of Defense through Military One- Source. For more information go to MilitaryOneSource (MilitaryOneSource.mil/ Tax).

Also, the IRS offers Free Fillable Forms, which can be completed online and then filed electronically regardless of in- come.

Using online tools to help prepare your re- turn. Go to IRS.gov/Tools for the following.

The Earned Income Tax Credit Assistant (IRS.gov/EITCAssistant) determines if you’re eligible for the earned income credit (EIC).

The Online EIN Application (IRS.gov/EIN) helps you get an employer identification number (EIN) at no cost.

The Tax Withholding Estimator (IRS.gov/ W4app) makes it easier for everyone to pay the correct amount of tax during the year. The tool is a convenient, online way to check and tailor your withholding. It’s more user-friendly for taxpayers, including retirees and self-employed individuals. The features include the following.

Easy to understand language.

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Publication 501 (2021)

The ability to switch between screens, correct previous entries, and skip screens that don’t apply.

Tips and links to help you determine if you qualify for tax credits and deduc- tions.

A progress tracker.

A self-employment tax feature.

Automatic calculation of taxable so- cial security benefits.

The First-Time Homebuyer Credit Account Look-up (IRS.gov/HomeBuyer) tool pro- vides information on your repayments and account balance.

The Sales Tax Deduction Calculator

(IRS.gov/SalesTax) figures the amount you can claim if you itemize deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040).

Getting answers to your tax ques- tions. On IRS.gov, you can get up-to-date information on current

events and changes in tax law.

IRS.gov/Help: A variety of tools to help you get answers to some of the most common tax questions.

IRS.gov/ITA: The Interactive Tax Assistant, a tool that will ask you questions and, based on your input, provide answers on a number of tax law topics.

IRS.gov/Forms: Find forms, instructions, and publications. You will find details on 2021 tax changes and hundreds of interac- tive links to help you find answers to your questions.

You may also be able to access tax law in- formation in your electronic filing software.

Need someone to prepare your tax return? There are various types of tax return preparers, including tax preparers, enrolled agents, certi- fied public accountants (CPAs), attorneys, and many others who don’t have professional cre- dentials. If you choose to have someone pre- pare your tax return, choose that preparer wisely. A paid tax preparer is:

Primarily responsible for the overall sub- stantive accuracy of your return,

Required to sign the return, and

Required to include their preparer tax iden- tification number (PTIN).

Although the tax preparer always signs the return, you're ultimately responsible for provid- ing all the information required for the preparer to accurately prepare your return. Anyone paid to prepare tax returns for others should have a thorough understanding of tax matters. For more information on how to choose a tax pre- parer, go to Tips for Choosing a Tax Preparer on IRS.gov.

Advance child tax credit payments. From July through December 2021, advance pay- ments were sent automatically to taxpayers with qualifying children who met certain criteria. The advance child tax credit payments were early payments of up to 50% of the estimated child tax credit that taxpayers may properly claim on their 2021 returns. Go to IRS.gov/AdvCTC for more information about these payments and how they can affect your taxes.

Publication 501 (2021)

Coronavirus. Go to IRS.gov/Coronavirus for links to information on the impact of the corona- virus, as well as tax relief available for individu- als and families, small and large businesses, and tax-exempt organizations.

Employers can register to use Business Services Online. The Social Security Adminis- tration (SSA) offers online service at SSA.gov/ employer for fast, free, and secure online W-2 filing options to CPAs, accountants, enrolled agents, and individuals who process Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, and Form W-2c, Corrected Wage and Tax Statement.

IRS social media. Go to IRS.gov/SocialMedia to see the various social media tools the IRS uses to share the latest information on tax changes, scam alerts, initiatives, products, and services. At the IRS, privacy and security are our highest priority. We use these tools to share public information with you. Don’t post your so- cial security number (SSN) or other confidential information on social media sites. Always pro- tect your identity when using any social net- working site.

The following IRS YouTube channels pro- vide short, informative videos on various tax-re- lated topics in English, Spanish, and ASL.

Youtube.com/irsvideos.

Youtube.com/irsvideosmultilingua.

Youtube.com/irsvideosASL.

Watching IRS videos. The IRS Video portal (IRSVideos.gov) contains video and audio pre- sentations for individuals, small businesses, and tax professionals.

Online tax information in other languages. You can find information on IRS.gov/ MyLanguage if English isn’t your native lan- guage.

Free Over-the-Phone Interpreter (OPI) Serv- ice. The IRS is committed to serving our multi- lingual customers by offering OPI services. The OPI service is a federally funded program and is available at Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs), other IRS offices, and every VITA/TCE return site. OPI service is accessible in more than 350 languages.

Accessibility Helpline available for taxpay- ers with disabilities. Taxpayers who need in- formation about accessibility services can call 833-690-0598. The Accessibility Helpline can answer questions related to current and future accessibility products and services available in alternative media formats (for example, braille, large print, audio, etc.).

Getting tax forms and publications. Go to IRS.gov/Forms to view, download, or print all of the forms, instructions, and publications you may need. Or, you can go to IRS.gov/ OrderForms to place an order.

Getting tax publications and instructions in eBook format. You can also download and view popular tax publications and instructions (including the Instructions for Form 1040) on mobile devices as eBooks at IRS.gov/eBooks.

Note. IRS eBooks have been tested using Apple's iBooks for iPad. Our eBooks haven’t been tested on other dedicated eBook readers, and eBook functionality may not operate as in- tended.

Access your online account (individual tax- payers only). Go to IRS.gov/Account to se- curely access information about your federal tax account.

View the amount you owe and a break- down by tax year.

See payment plan details or apply for a new payment plan.

Make a payment or view 5 years of pay- ment history and any pending or sched- uled payments.

Access your tax records, including key data from your most recent tax return, your EIP amounts, and transcripts.

View digital copies of select notices from the IRS.

Approve or reject authorization requests from tax professionals.

View your address on file or manage your communication preferences.

Tax Pro Account. This tool lets your tax pro- fessional submit an authorization request to ac- cess your individual taxpayer IRS online account. For more information, go to IRS.gov/ TaxProAccount.

Using direct deposit. The fastest way to re- ceive a tax refund is to file electronically and choose direct deposit, which securely and elec- tronically transfers your refund directly into your financial account. Direct deposit also avoids the possibility that your check could be lost, stolen, or returned undeliverable to the IRS. Eight in 10 taxpayers use direct deposit to receive their re- funds. If you don’t have a bank account, go to IRS.gov/DirectDeposit for more information on where to find a bank or credit union that can open an account online.

Getting a transcript of your return. The quickest way to get a copy of your tax transcript is to go to IRS.gov/Transcripts. Click on either “Get Transcript Online” or “Get Transcript by Mail” to order a free copy of your transcript. If you prefer, you can order your transcript by call- ing 800-908-9946.

Reporting and resolving your tax-related identity theft issues.

Tax-related identity theft happens when someone steals your personal information to commit tax fraud. Your taxes can be af- fected if your SSN is used to file a fraudu- lent return or to claim a refund or credit.

The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with tax- payers by email, text messages, telephone calls, or social media channels to request personal or financial information. This in- cludes requests for personal identification numbers (PINs), passwords, or similar in- formation for credit cards, banks, or other financial accounts.

Go to IRS.gov/IdentityTheft, the IRS Iden- tity Theft Central webpage, for information on identity theft and data security protec- tion for taxpayers, tax professionals, and businesses. If your SSN has been lost or

Page 27

stolen or you suspect you’re a victim of tax-related identity theft, you can learn what steps you should take.

Get an Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN). IP PINs are six-digit numbers assigned to tax- payers to help prevent the misuse of their SSNs on fraudulent federal income tax re- turns. When you have an IP PIN, it pre- vents someone else from filing a tax return with your SSN. To learn more, go to IRS.gov/IPPIN.

Ways to check on the status of your refund.

Go to IRS.gov/Refunds.

Download the official IRS2Go app to your mobile device to check your refund status.

Call the automated refund hotline at 800-829-1954.

Note. The IRS can’t issue refunds before mid-February 2022 for returns that claimed the EIC or the additional child tax credit (ACTC). This applies to the entire refund, not just the portion associated with these credits.

Making a tax payment. Go to IRS.gov/ Payments for information on how to make a payment using any of the following options.

IRS Direct Pay: Pay your individual tax bill or estimated tax payment directly from your checking or savings account at no cost to you.

Debit or Credit Card: Choose an approved payment processor to pay online or by phone.

Electronic Funds Withdrawal: Schedule a payment when filing your federal taxes us- ing tax return preparation software or through a tax professional.

Electronic Federal Tax Payment System: Best option for businesses. Enrollment is required.

Check or Money Order: Mail your payment to the address listed on the notice or in- structions.

Cash: You may be able to pay your taxes with cash at a participating retail store.

Same-Day Wire: You may be able to do same-day wire from your financial institu- tion. Contact your financial institution for availability, cost, and time frames.

Note. The IRS uses the latest encryption technology to ensure that the electronic pay- ments you make online, by phone, or from a mobile device using the IRS2Go app are safe and secure. Paying electronically is quick, easy, and faster than mailing in a check or money or- der.

What if I can’t pay now? Go to IRS.gov/ Payments for more information about your op- tions.

Apply for an online payment agreement

(IRS.gov/OPA) to meet your tax obligation in monthly installments if you can’t pay your taxes in full today. Once you complete the online process, you will receive imme- diate notification of whether your agree- ment has been approved.

Use the Offer in Compromise Pre-Qualifier to see if you can settle your tax debt for less than the full amount you owe. For more information on the Offer in Compro- mise program, go to IRS.gov/OIC.

Filing an amended return. You can now file Form 1040-X electronically with tax filing soft- ware to amend 2019 or 2020 Forms 1040 and 1040-SR. To do so, you must have e-filed your original 2019 or 2020 return. Amended returns for all prior years must be mailed. Go to IRS.gov/Form1040X for information and up- dates.

Checking the status of your amended re- turn. Go to IRS.gov/WMAR to track the status of Form 1040-X amended returns.

Note. It can take up to 3 weeks from the date you filed your amended return for it to show up in our system, and processing it can take up to 16 weeks.

Understanding an IRS notice or letter you’ve received. Go to IRS.gov/Notices to find additional information about responding to an IRS notice or letter.

You can use Schedule LEP, Request for Change in Language Preference, to state a preference to receive notices, letters, or other written communications from the IRS in an al- ternative language, when these are available. Once your Schedule LEP is processed, the IRS will determine your translation needs and pro- vide you translations when available. If you have a disability requiring notices in an accessi- ble format, see Form 9000.

Contacting your local IRS office. Keep in mind, many questions can be answered on IRS.gov without visiting an IRS TAC. Go to IRS.gov/LetUsHelp for the topics people ask about most. If you still need help, IRS TACs provide tax help when a tax issue can’t be han- dled online or by phone. All TACs now provide service by appointment, so you’ll know in ad- vance that you can get the service you need without long wait times. Before you visit, go to IRS.gov/TACLocator to find the nearest TAC and to check hours, available services, and ap- pointment options. Or, on the IRS2Go app, un- der the Stay Connected tab, choose the Con- tact Us option and click on “Local Offices.”

The Taxpayer Advocate

Service (TAS) Is Here To

Help You

What Is TAS?

TAS is an independent organization within the IRS that helps taxpayers and protects taxpayer rights. Their job is to ensure that every taxpayer is treated fairly and that you know and under- stand your rights under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

How Can You Learn About Your Taxpayer Rights?

The Taxpayer Bill of Rights describes 10 basic rights that all taxpayers have when dealing with the IRS. Go to TaxpayerAdvocate.IRS.gov to help you understand what these rights mean to you and how they apply. These are your rights. Know them. Use them.

What Can TAS Do for You?

TAS can help you resolve problems that you can’t resolve with the IRS. And their service is free. If you qualify for their assistance, you will be assigned to one advocate who will work with you throughout the process and will do every- thing possible to resolve your issue. TAS can help you if:

Your problem is causing financial difficulty for you, your family, or your business;

You face (or your business is facing) an immediate threat of adverse action; or

You’ve tried repeatedly to contact the IRS but no one has responded, or the IRS hasn’t responded by the date promised.

How Can You Reach TAS?

TAS has offices in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Your local advo- cate’s number is in your local directory and at TaxpayerAdvocate.IRS.gov/Contact-Us. You can also call them at 877-777-4778.

How Else Does TAS Help

Taxpayers?

TAS works to resolve large-scale problems that affect many taxpayers. If you know of one of these broad issues, report it to them at IRS.gov/ SAMS.

TAS for Tax Professionals

TAS can provide a variety of information for tax professionals, including tax law updates and guidance, TAS programs, and ways to let TAS know about systemic problems you’ve seen in your practice.

Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs)

LITCs are independent from the IRS. LITCs represent individuals whose income is below a certain level and need to resolve tax problems with the IRS, such as audits, appeals, and tax collection disputes. In addition, LITCs can pro- vide information about taxpayer rights and re- sponsibilities in different languages for individu- als who speak English as a second language. Services are offered for free or a small fee for eligible taxpayers. To find an LITC near you, go to TaxpayerAdvocate.IRS.gov/about-us/Low- Income-Taxpayer-Clinics-LITC or see IRS Pub. 4134, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic List.

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Publication 501 (2021)

 

To help us develop a more useful index, please let us know if you have ideas for index entries.

 

Index

See “Comments and Suggestions” in the “Introduction” for the ways you can reach us.

A

Abroad, citizens living, filing requirements 3

Absence, temporary 9, 13, 19

Accounting periods, joint returns 6

Adopted child 12, 19 Taxpayer identification

number 22

Advance payment of premium tax credit 5

Age:

Filing status determination 3 Gross income and filing

requirements (Table 1) 2 Standard deduction for age 65 or

older 23 Test 12

Aliens:

Dual-status (See Dual-status

taxpayers)

Nonresident (See Nonresident

aliens)

Alimony 22

Alternative minimum tax (AMT), effect on filing requirements (Table 3) 5

Amended returns 8, 24 (See also Form 1040-X)

Change from itemized to standard deduction (or vice versa) 24

American citizens abroad 3

Annulled marriages, filing status 6

Armed forces:

Combat zone, signing return for spouse 7

Dependency allotments 19 GI Bill benefits 21

Military quarters allotments 19 Assistance (See Tax help)

ATINs (Adoption taxpayer identification numbers) 22

B

Birth of child 9

Blind persons, standard deduction 23

C

Canada, resident of 12, 18 Capital expenses 20 Child, qualifying 12 Child born alive 13 Child care expenses 21 Child custody 13

Children:

Adopted child (See Adoption) Adoption (See Adopted child) Birth of child 9, 10 Claiming parent, when child is

head of household 9 Custody of 13

Death of child 9, 10 Dividends of 3

Filing requirements as dependents (Table 2) 4

Investment income of child under age 18 3, 4

Kidnapped 13, 18

Social security number 22 Stillborn 13

Child support under pre-1985 agreement 22

Child tax credit 11

Church employees, filing requirements (Table 3) 5

Citizen or resident test 12

Citizens outside U.S., filing requirements 3

Common law marriage 6 Community property states 8 Cousin 19

Credit, premium tax 5 Custody of child 13

D

Death:

Of child 13

Of dependent 9, 19

Of spouse 3, 6, 19, 23

Of taxpayer 3, 23

Decedents 6, 23

(See also Death of spouse) Filing requirements 3

Deductions:

Standard deduction 23 Dependents 11

Birth of 19

Born and died within year 22 Child's earnings 3

Death of 19 Earned income 3 Filing requirements 3, 4 Married, filing joint return 12, 15 Not allowed to claim

dependents 12 Qualifying child 12 Qualifying relative 18 Social security number 22 Standard deduction for 23 Unearned income 3

Dependent taxpayer test 12

Disabled:

Child 13

Dependent 19

Divorced parents 13

Divorced taxpayers: Child custody 13 Filing status 6

Joint returns, responsibility for 6 Domestic help 11

Dual-status taxpayers:

Joint returns not available 7

E

Earned income:

Defined for purposes of standard deduction 23

Dependent filing requirements (Table 2) 4

Earned income credit:

Two persons with same

qualifying child 15

Elderly persons:

Home for the aged 20 Standard deduction for age 65 or

older 23

Equitable relief, Innocent spouse 7

F

Fair rental value 20

Figures (See Tables and figures) Filing requirements 25 Filing status 511

Annulled marriages 6 Change to:

Joint return after separate returns 8

Separate returns after joint return 8, 9

Determination of 3, 5 Head of household 6, 8 Marital status, determination

of 6

Married filing jointly (See Joint returns)

Married filing

separately (See Married filing separately)

Unmarried persons (See Single taxpayers)

Food benefits 20

Foreign employment, filing requirements 3

Foreign students 12

Form 1040 or 1040-SR: Social security numbers 22 Use of 7

Form 1040-X:

Change of filing status 8 Itemized deductions, change to

standard deduction 24 Standard deduction, change to itemized deductions 24

Form 1095-A 5

Form 1099-B 5

Form 8814, parents' election to report child's interest and dividends 3

Form 8857, innocent spouse relief 7

Form SS-5, social security number request 22

Form W-7, individual taxpayer identification number request 22

Form W-7A, adoption taxpayer identification number request 22

Foster care payments and expenses 14, 20

Foster child 12, 14, 18, 20 Funeral expenses 21

G

GI Bill benefits 21

Gross income:

Defined:

Filing requirements (Table 1) 2

Dependent filing requirements (Table 2) 4

Test 19

Group-term life insurance 5

H

Head of household 8, 9

Filing requirements (Table 1) 2 Health insurance premiums 21

Home:

Aged, home for 20

Cost of keeping up 9

Household workers 11

I

Income:

Gross 19

Tax exempt 19

Individual retirement arrangements (IRAs):

Filing requirements (Table 3) 5 Married filing separately 8

Individual taxpayer identification numbers (ITINs) 1, 22

Innocent spouse relief 7

Insurance premiums: Life 21

Medical 21

IRAs (See Individual retirement arrangements (IRAs))

Itemized deductions: Changing from standard to

itemized deduction (or vice versa) 24

Choosing to itemize 24 Married filing separately 24 When to itemize 24

ITINs (Individual taxpayer identification numbers) 22

J

Joint returns 6, 7

Dependents on 18

Joint return test 12, 15

K

Kidnapped children: Qualifying child 13 Qualifying relative 18 Qualifying widow(er) 10

L

Life insurance premiums 21

Local income taxes, itemized deductions 24

Local law violated 19 Lodging 20

Losses, rental real estate 8

Publication 501 (2021)

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M

Marital status, determination of 6

Married dependents, filing joint return 12, 15

Married filing jointly (See Joint returns)

Married filing separately 7 Changing method from or to

itemized deductions 24 Itemized deductions 24

Married taxpayers 6 (See also Joint returns)

Age 65 or older spouse, standard deduction 23

Blind spouse, standard deduction 23

Dual-status alien spouse 7 Filing status 6

Medical insurance premiums 21

Medical savings accounts (MSAs, effect on filing requirements (Table 3) 5

Medicare taxes, not support 21

Member of household or relationship test 18 Mexico, resident of 12, 18 Military (See Armed forces)

Missing children, photographs of in IRS publications 1

Multiple support agreement 21

N

National of the United States 12 Nonresident aliens 2

Dependents 22 Joint return 7 Spouse 9 Taxpayer identification

number 22

P

Parent, claiming head of household for 9

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Parents, divorced or separated 13

Parents who never married 14 Penalty, failure to file 3

Photographs of missing children in IRS publications 1

Premium tax credit 5 Publications (See Tax help) Puerto Rico, residents of 3

Q

Qualifying:

(See also Surviving spouse) Child 12

Relative 18 Surviving spouse 9 Widow/widower 9

R

Recapture taxes 5 Relationship test 12, 18 Relative, qualifying 18 Remarriage after divorce 6 Rental losses 8 Residency test 13

S

Scholarships 3, 15, 19, 21, 23

Self-employed persons:

Filing requirements (Table 3) 5 Gross income 3

Separated parents 13

Separated taxpayers:

Filing status 6

Living apart but not legally separated 6

Separate returns (See Married filing separately)

Signatures, joint returns 7

Single taxpayers: Filing status 6

Gross income filing requirements (Table 1) 2

Social security and Medicare taxes:

Reporting of (Table 3) 5 Support, not included in 21

Social security benefits 20

Social security numbers (SSNs) for dependents 22

Spouse: Deceased 6, 7

Dual-status alien spouse 7 Innocent spouse relief 7 Nonresident alien 9 Signing joint returns 7 Surviving (See Surviving

spouse)

SSNs (See Social security numbers (SSNs) for dependents)

Standard deduction 1, 23, 24 Married filing jointly 6

State or local income taxes 24 Stillborn child 13

Students:

Defined 13

Foreign 12

Support test:

Qualifying child 14

Qualifying relative 19

Surviving spouse 9

Death of spouse (See Death of spouse)

Gross income filing requirements (Table 1) 2

Qualifying widow(er) 9, 10 Single filing status 6

T

Tables and figures 9, 16 (See also Worksheets)

Filing requirements: Dependents (Table 2) 4 Gross income levels

(Table 1) 2

Other situations requiring filing (Table 3) 5

Standard deduction tables 26 Taxes, not support 21

Tax-exempt income 19

Tax help 26

Tax returns:

Amended (See Form 1040-X) Filing of (See Filing

requirements)

Joint returns (See Joint returns) Who must file 13, 5

Temporary absences 13, 19 Tiebreaker rules 15

Tips, reporting of (Table 3) 5 Total support 20

Tuition, benefits under GI Bill 21

U

U.S. citizen or resident 12

U.S. citizens filing abroad, filing requirements:

Filing requirements 3

U.S. national 12

U.S. possessions, income from 3

Unmarried persons (See Single taxpayers)

W

Welfare benefits 20 What's New 1 Widow/widower (See Surviving

spouse)

Worksheets:

Head of household status and cost of keeping up home 9

Support test 16

Publication 501 (2021)

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