It’s Friday, so it’s time for this week’s reader-submitted Q & A. If you’d like to submit a question, click here for more information or simply email a question.

My husband and I have always claimed my daughter and granddaughter on our taxes.  She graduated college in 2008 and started a job in Sept of 2008.  Since she only worked 4 months of the year, I convinced her to let us claim she and her daughter one last time.

She will file a return, but she will claim 0, since we are claiming she and her daughter.

Will she be able to get a stimulus rebate or tax credit since she is not claiming herself or her daughter?

- Judy

Straightforward Answer: No, she won’t.

Detailed Explanation:

If you can’t claim your own exemption on your tax return, you’re not eligible to receive a stimulus payment or a recovery rebate credit.  However, your mere existence may increase the payment received for the person claiming your exemption.  (Read more about the most recent economic stimulus payment and recovery rebate credit.)

Some people could conceivably fall into either category (a dependent or able to claim their own exemption). A graduating college student is one example.  In such a case, it may make more sense to prepare the tax returns both ways (one where the person is claimed by another and one where she claims herself).  In the case where you the individual claims herself, she may qualify for the full $600 (depending on her income level).  But you’d have to compare that against the loss of her exemption on her parent’s return.

Yes, that’s something we do as part of Total Candor Tax Prep.

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