Certain federal tax guidelines allows you claim children as dependents up to 23 years old. Generally you can claim children 19 years and younger, but there are a few different guidelines for full-time students. Any child that is 23 years old or younger and is a full-time student may be claimed as a dependent if you provided over half of their support.

Full-Time Student Status

In order for a student to be considered full-time they have to meet the following requirements. Over five separate calendar month students must meet the following:

  • Have enrollment in a school that has a regular staff, course of study and a student body that regularly attends school or
  • Be part of an agricultural related training program that is set on a farm and is guided by either state, county, or local government or qualified school.
  • Are enrolled for a specific number of full-time hours that are required by the school that they attend.

Five consecutive calendar months are not required. Students enrolled in elementary, junior and senior high school, college, university, trade, technical or vocational schools are all applicable as full-time students. Students enrolled in programs such as training courses, night school and correspondence schools are not covered for tax purposes.

Half Support Guidelines

The first step is to determine how much support the student totally received. This includes any expenses such as food, housing, education, medical and dental care, clothing, transportation and even some recreation activities. Then you can determine if you provided over half of the students support.

These expenses are not deductible come tax time they can qualify a student as your dependent. You may not be required to include any scholarships or grants as student has received when determining if you paid over of their support, but theses tax-free awards are considered your child’s income.