The IRS has issued proposed regulations clarifying the definition of a qualifying relative for various tax benefits for tax years 2018 through 2025 in which the dependent exemption amount is zero. During these years, the exemption amount will be inflation adjusted as provided in annual IRS guidance in determining whether an individual is a qualifying relative such as for head of household filing status and $500 child tax credit.

Qualifying Relative
A taxpayer may claim a qualifying relative as a dependent on his or her return provided certain requirements are met, including that the individual’s gross income is less than the exemption amount for the tax year. The exemption amount is zero (-$0-) for tax years beginning in 2018 through 2025 and no deduction may be claimed for a dependency exemption. However, the rules for determining who is a qualifying relative remain applicable for claiming other tax benefits in 2018 through 2025.

Inflation-Adjustment Exemption Amount
Consistent with Notice 2018-70, I.R.B. 2018-38, 441, the proposed regulations provide that in determining whether an individual is a qualifying relative for purposes of various tax provisions in 2018 through 2025 the exemption amount will be the inflation-adjusted. The IRS will publish the exemption amount annually in guidance. For example, the exemption amount is $4,200 for 2019 ( Rev. Proc. 2018-57, I.R.B. 2018-49, 827) and $4,300 for 2020 ( Rev. Proc. 2019-44, I.R.B. 2019-47, 1093).