Typically, an individual’s minor child is thought of when the word dependent is used, but a dependent could be another relative, or in some cases, even an unrelated person. Generally, a dependent is someone who is reliant upon a taxpayer for support. Five specific qualifications must be met for an individual to be treated as a dependent for tax purposes: the relationship or member of the household test, gross income test, joint return test, citizenship or residence test and support test. For each dependent claimed in 2008, a taxpayer can deduct $3,500 from their income. For higher income taxpayers, 2% of this deduction is disallowed for each $2,500 of AGI in excess of a threshold amount. The 2008 threshold amounts are $159,950 for single taxpayers, $239,950 for married taxpayers filing jointly, $199,950 for taxpayers filing as Head of Household and one half the Joint amount for married taxpayers filing separately. The tax rules related to dependents can be complicated. Please call this office if you need assistance.