Companionship, love and life…you share so much with your significant other, and if your freelance business supports both of you, there’s another thing you may be able to share with your partner: a $3,950 federal tax exemption. If you have a sweetheart who, by design or by hard luck, has the majority of their living expenses paid by you, read on to see how you can recoup some of those expenses by claiming your boyfriend or girlfriend as a dependent on your 2015 tax return.
While you may think of dependents only in terms of children, the IRS definition is much broader, encompassing “qualifying relative” dependents including live-in boyfriends and girlfriends and members of your extended family. Therefore it’s worth checking to see if your significant other meets each of the following criteria, so you can claim them as a dependent and receive a tax break.
Like any other tax exemption, you need to be sure that you have legal proof to support your dependent claim. Keep records to show that you had the same address or addresses throughout the year as well as canceled checks or receipts for household expenses and for your dependent’s personal eligible expenses such as clothing, education, out-of-pocket medical costs, or recreational activities.
While the tax advantage for having a partner who is dependent on you does not translate into a large amount of money, for many freelancers it is still significant and beneficial to pursue as just one of the many benefits of having someone special to share your life with.
Jonathan Medows is a New York City-based CPA who specializes in taxes and business issues for freelance and self-employed individuals across the country.
Jonathan Medows is a certified public accountant licensed in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. He is also a recognized expert in taxation for freelancers and the self-employed—often tapped for his expert knowledge and perspective on self-employment taxation by national and regional publications such as The New York Post, BusinessWeek, Forbes taxation blog, WebCPA, CPA Practice Advisor, and others. You can read some of Jonathan’s press coverage here.
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