April 10, 2014
Nanette Lee Miller, Leader of the LGBT Practice Group, Quoted in CNNMoney Article, "My Girlfriend is a Tax Break."
By Blake Ellis
If you're in a relationship with someone who is dependent on you financially, you might be able to claim them as a tax break.
Wes Fusco, a 35-year-old from Manitowoc, Wisc., hadbeen financially supporting his girlfriend, Danielle Wissbroeker, for more than 10 years. While she took care of their three children and earned no income, Fusco paid the bills and covered her expenses.
But Fusco had no idea that this situation would translate into a tax break until his tax preparertold him that claimingWissbroeker as a dependent could cut his tax bill by thousands of dollars.
First, your significant other must earn less than $3,900 per year and live with you throughout the year. You must also pay for more than half of their expenses and they can't be claimed as a dependent by someone else.
Same-sex couples have been employing this strategy for years. Before the Defense of Marriage Act was overturned last year, same-sex couples weren't able to file jointly at the federal level because they weren't recognized as married. So one person would claim the other as a dependent if he or she stayed home with the children and earned no income, said Nanette Lee Miller, head of the LGBT practice at accounting firm Marcum LLP.
Now that married same-sex couples are recognized by the federal government, however, they no longer qualify for the deduction. But if they're not married, the same exemption can be taken -- unless the relationship violates state law.