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Filing taxes; independently or with my parents?

ohlollipopohlollipop Registered User Posts: 60 Junior Member
I was just wondering whether it's better to file taxes with your parents, or file them independently. Or if there even IS a better. I heard from one of my dad's friend's at work that her son filed his taxes independently from his parents and that it made a difference. Then somebody told me that it does NOT make a difference, and that I should do whatever I want.

Also, I know that whether or not you file your taxes independently does not influence your "independent" status when it comes to filing your FAFSA (the whole thing with not being able to be independent unless you're married, in the army, etc.).

Does anybody know?
Post edited by ohlollipop on

Replies to: Filing taxes; independently or with my parents?

  • xiggixiggi Registered User Posts: 25,432 Senior Member
    You can be dependent for FAFSA and independent for the IRS. The criteria are different.

    It's impossible to say which one is better because it depends on the tax situation of the parents and the amount of taxes dues.
  • msmayormsmayor Registered User Posts: 319 Member
    There is no deciding whether to file with your parents or without...if you, as an individual, have enough earned income to require filing a return then you file a return yourself. You don't combine your income with your parents.

    The decision to be made comes down to who gets to take the personal exemption...you, or your parents...in other words who gets to 'claim' you as a dependant. Only one of you can take that claim and in more cases than not, it makes far more financial sense to let your parents take the deduction as they are generally in a higher tax bracket than you as a student would be.
  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Registered User Posts: 15,701 Senior Member
    You should file your own tax return. As a single filer you have a standard deduction of $5450 meaning your first $5450 of earned income is tax free. Your parents can still claim you as a dependent and get a $3500 exemption for you (if your are in college and provide <50% of your support). If they are not able to claim you as a dependent you get the $3500 in addition to the $5450.

    My kids have filed their own taxes since their first summer jobs when they were 16.
  • ohlollipopohlollipop Registered User Posts: 60 Junior Member
    Thank you!
  • JiggazWifeyJiggazWifey Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    so they didn't file exempt?? did you still claim them on your taxes?
  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Registered User Posts: 15,701 Senior Member
    We claimed them in the years they were our dependents according to IRS rules. We did not claim them in years when they were not.

    Parents can still claim a dependent exemption ($3700 for 2009) if their child qualifies as a dependent. If the student is a dependent on their parent's return the student cannot claim the personal exemption of $3700 themselves (the parent instead gets to claim a dependent exemption). The student files their own tax return and gets the standard deduction ($5700 for 2009 unless there is unearned income).
  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Registered User Posts: 15,701 Senior Member
    Just realized I got the exemptions $# wrong. Personal and dependent exemptions are $3650 for 2009.
  • gwatson93gwatson93 Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    Hi I just saw this, Im 20 years old I was told if you make a certain amount of money you can file independent? I need to, Im having alot of financial aid issues with school and at home I wont put them down but joining the army is closing to be my last option to put myself through school. I dont want to go I just want my education.

    My mom always told me I cant file independent but if I can I plan to I see your kids have been since 16? do you mean theyve been independent filing since 16? I made about 13k-14k total this year.
  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Registered User Posts: 15,701 Senior Member
    No, you can't file FAFSA independently unless you can answer yes to one of the indepency questions (aged 24, married, a veteran etc). Whether you are claimed as a dependent or not on taxes is completely irrelevant for FAFSA dependency status.
  • sybbie719sybbie719 Super Moderator Posts: 20,917 Super Moderator
    Please do not revive old threads. Feel free to start a new thread to ask your question. closing thread
This discussion has been closed.