(ABC4) – From 2015 to 2020, the number of family caregivers in the United States increased by 9.5 million, meaning more than one in five Americans are caregivers, according to caregiving.org.

Caregivers may be able to claim those they care for as a dependent when filing taxes if that person is a qualifying relative.

(Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

So who exactly can you claim as a dependent when filing your taxes this year?

To simplify things, the IRS website allows filers to answer a series of questions to determine who they can legally claim as a dependent.

Filers will need to provide information about marital status, amount of support provided, basic income information, and information on multiple support agreements. Once all the questions have been answered, the site will inform them who counts as a qualifying dependent.

Still have questions? Tax law can get pretty complicated, but here are the basic rules broken down.

According to the IRS, here’s who can claim dependents and who qualifies as one on your tax return.

You can’t claim a dependent if:

  • you can be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer
  • the person you wish to claim as a dependent is not a U.S. citizen, U.S. resident alien, U.S. national, or a resident of Canada or Mexico

Generally, the person you wish to claim as a dependent must be your qualifying child or qualifying relative.

Who is a qualifying child?

  • Your biological child or stepchild, foster child, sibling, half sibling, or a descendent of any of them
  • A person under age 19 at the end of year and younger than you or your spouse if you are filing jointly
  • A person under age 24 at the end of the year, a student, and younger than you or your spouse if filing jointly
  • A person of any age who is permanently disabled
  • A person who lived with you for over half the year
  • You provided more than half of their support throughout the year
  • The person is not filing a joint return for the year

Generally, only one person, or jointly filing couple, can treat the child as a qualifying child when filing taxes.

Who is a qualifying relative?

  • The person is not a qualifying child for you or any other taxpayer
  • The person must either be related to you or must live with you all year as a member of the household
  • Their yearly income is under $4,300
  • You provide more than half of the person’s yearly support

You cannot claim people who work for you, like housekeepers and maids, as dependents.

Even if someone meets the requirements for a qualifying child or qualifying relative, they often can’t be claimed as a dependent if they are married and filing jointly with their spouse.

For more specific information on who you can claim as a dependent, visit irs.gov.

Now that you know who qualifies as a dependent, what are the benefits of adding dependents when filing your taxes?

Benefits of Claiming Dependents

Claiming dependents can make taxpayers eligible to receive certain tax benefits, such as Child Tax Credit or Credit for Other Dependents.

Filers who have claimed a qualifying child who is under 17 years old as their dependent can claim the Child Tax Credit. These taxpayers may receive up to $2,000 per qualifying child, according to the IRS.

Democratic lawmakers are currently proposing increasing the $2,000 benefit to $3,000 per qualifying child, along with a larger payment for those with children under six years old.

According to the IRS, taxpayers may be able to claim the Credit for Other Dependents for dependents who don’t qualify for the Child Tax Credit. The Credit for Other Dependents maximum credit amount is $500.

Dependents who qualify for the Credit for Other Dependents could be those who are 17 years old or older, dependent parents and qualifying relatives that the taxpayer supports, and dependents living with the taxpayer who aren’t related, the IRS says.

Dependents who have their own taxpayer ID number would also count.