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My girlfriend (age 20) is a full time student. She lives with her parents. I am doing her taxes this year.

She just informed me her parents have no claimed her as a dependent. I'm not entirely sure why, they told her "because Will [me] is doing your taxes I thought he would have you claim yourself."

Can she claim herself? If she did she would be able to take the personal exemption plus the student tuition deduction/credits.

I know that size-of-refund-wise it would be better for her parents to claim her, but my question is CAN she claim herself, as it looks like her parents could if they wanted.

Don't jump to conclusions yet. If your girlfriend is a full-time student living at home, age 20, then her parents can claim her as a dependent regardless of whether they supported her or not. If they do, then her personal exemption and all eductaion credits/deductions go on their return.

However, if their income is too high, they won't get the benefit of the education credits/deductions and if even higher, could lose her personal exemption through phase out rules.

In that case, they can elect to not claim her as a dependent. Unfortunately, she still cannot take her own exemption. But, she can take any education credit/deduction to which she is entitled.

If you are using TurboTax, TaxCut, etc., to prepare her tax return, pay close attention to the personal data questions that ask if you ("she") qualify as and are, in fact, claimed as a dependent on someone else's return.

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