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Tests for Qualifying Child

For dependent tax exemption purposes, the tests for qualifying child are explained below. Either these tests for qualifying child dependents must be met for a taxpayer to claim tax exemption for a dependent or the tests for qualifying relatives must be met. A person is a qualifying child dependent of a taxpayer is all of the following tests are met. The tests outlined in the How to Claim Tax Exemption for a Dependent? section will also have to be met for a taxpayer to claim tax exemption for dependents.

What is the Relationship Test for qualifying child?

To meet the relationship test, the child must be:

  • your son, daughter, stepchild, eligible foster child, or a descendant of any of them such as your grandchild


  • your brother, sister, half brother, half sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or a descendant of any of them such as your niece or nephew

Does an adopted child meet the relationship test?

Yes. 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.

When can a foster child meet the qualifying child test?

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

What is the Age Test for qualifying child?

To meet the age test for qualifying child, the child must be:

  • under age 19 at the end of the tax year
  • a full time student under 24 at the end of the tax year, or
  • and totally disabled at any time during the year regardless of age.

How can a full time student be a qualifying child?

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. To qualify as a student, your child must be, during some part of each of any 5 calendar months (does not have to be consecutive) 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 training course given by a school described in (1) or by a state, country, or local government agency.

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