A person automatically meets this test for dependent status if he or she is one of the following:
- your child, stepchild, grandchild, or great-grandchild (including legally adopted children); before legal adoption, a child is treated as your child if he or she was placed with you by an authorized agency and is a member of your household)
- your brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, half-brother, or half-sister
- your parent, grandparent, or other direct ancestor (but not a foster parent)
- your stepfather or stepmother (but not a step-grandparent)
- your aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew - that is, the brother or sister of your father or mother, or the child of your brother or sister; or
- your father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law.
The person must bear the listed relationship to you or, on a joint return, to your spouse. You don't need to show that the person is related to the particular spouse who actually provided the financial support unless you are married filing separately. Moreover, relationships created by marriage do not terminate by virtue of death or divorce.
Peter Lake is the primary support for the uncle of his wife, Vera, although the uncle lives in his own apartment. If the Lakes file a joint return, they may claim the uncle as a dependent. However, if they file separately, neither spouse can claim the exemption because Peter does not bear the required relationship to the uncle or live with him for the whole year, and Vera does not provide more than one-half of the uncle's support.