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The $6100 figure is the standard deduction for single people. He gets that whether or not he is a dependent of his guardian. If he were under that amount, the question about being a dependent would be irrelevant to his tax calculation. He would have no tax either way. With his income over that amount, the question of dependency becomes important to figuring his tax.

The answer may be different for the state return. In the State of New York, someone who can be claimed as a dependent on another person's return starts paying taxes when the income is above $3000.

I infer that this is not in New York, since New York would not require him to provide the guardian's SSN as was mentioned earlier in the thread. I suspect there is a way to file on paper if he is supposed to supply her SSN but she won't give it to him; that is what happens for MFS where the spouse's SSN is not known. But that really comes down to what does his state require.

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