If a Man & Woman Live Together With Kids But Not Married Can the Man Claim the Woman on Taxes?

When a man and a woman live together, but aren't married, it's possible for him to claim her as a dependent on his tax return. He may even be able to claim dependency exemptions for the kids even if he's not their father. These determinations depend on if the man can satisfy each condition in the tax code about claiming dependents.

Plus One

You're permitted one exemption for each kid you can claim as a dependent, plus an additional one if you can claim the woman too. The total is deducted from the income you report, which ultimately reduces your taxable income. It's possible to lose some of the tax savings if you make so much that exemptions are phased out. That means you may not get the full exemption amount or, in the worst case, your exemption can even be zero.

Relative Rules for Her

The IRS has four ways to determine if an adult can be a dependent. First, she can't be claimed as one by anyone else, like her parents. Second, you must have lived together for 12 months of the tax year, and you have to prove you covered half of her financial expenses. Finally, her gross income has to be less than the exemption. Financial support covers the important things, such as rent, mortgage interest and property taxes. The total financial support for the household has to be divided by the number of people living there to determine her portion.

Relative Rules for Them

If you're the father, and the kids lived with you for most of the tax year, you can claim them as dependents if they're under 24, full-time students for at least five months, and you pay for half of their living expenses. If that doesn't work for you, "qualifying relative” rules might. Provided no other person -- including the woman you live with -- claims them, and you're the source of most of their support for the year, you can take the exemptions.

Household Deal

When you're able to claim at least one of the kids as a qualifying child, you can file as head of household instead of single to save even more tax money. That's because you'll have a larger standard deduction and lower rates of tax to figure out how much you owe the IRS for the year.


About the Author

Michael Marz has worked in the financial sector since 2002, specializing in wealth and estate planning. After spending six years working for a large investment bank and an accounting firm, Marz is now self-employed as a consultant, focusing on complex estate and gift tax compliance and planning.