23 Year Old student

Today TaxMama hears from Kristen in the TaxQuips Forum, who is a bit confused. “I am a 23 year old full time student. My income from 2010 is $12,247 and I live with my parents. My parent’s accountant told them last year that they would not be able to claim me once I turned 23, is this true? I began to attempt filing online through TurboTax® and one of the very first questions was about children under 24 who attend college if my parents support me 50% or more. I would say that yes they probably do. But now should my parents get these tuition statements on their taxes? I am really confused and could use any clarity available. Time is running out and from what I just learned, my parents DID claim me on their taxes.”

Dear Kristen,

The main area of your confusion is your parents’ accountant’s words and behavior. That would confuse me, too.

Mike Emeigh, the NC Tax Pro makes it all clear for you:

Turbo Tax did it correctly. If you were under age 24 (not 23) and a full-time student as of the end of 2010, lived with your parents for more than half the year, and did not provide more than half of your own support, you are still their dependent.

As a dependent, for the purposes of education credit, expenses paid by you are considered as having been paid by your parents, and you cannot claim them. See IRS Publication 970 .

So… you file as a dependent, do not claim your personal exemption, don’t take the education expenses, and (hopefully) you won’t owe any taxes. And you should have a conversation with your parents about this, if for no other reason than that *they* were entitled to the benefit from your education expenses.

 And remember, you can find answers to all kinds of questions about dependents, education and other tax issues, free. Where? Where else? At  www.TaxMama.com.

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