Residents of Illinois enjoy some of the most progressive and fair laws of any state when it comes to equal rights and privileges for those who choose to join together in a domestic partnership or civil union instead of a traditional marriage. However, these relatively progressive laws do still maintain specific requirements pertaining to if and when certain privileges can be invoked. For those who wish to claim a civil union partner and his or her children as tax dependents, three standards must first be met.
The Internal Revenue Service tax code first requires that the civil union and his or her children must live as part of the claiming member's physical household for the entire calendar year in which the claim is being made. This means that for claiming these dependents on a 2016 tax return, the individuals in question must have lived in the household of the claimant from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31.
Secondly, throughout that same calendar year, the claimant must provide at least half of the support for those being claimed. If, for instance, the claimed dependents satisfy the first standard, but are supported primarily through child support or alimony from a previous relationship, or by the claimed dependent's own income, this may invalidate the claim.
Finally, the dependents cannot be claimed by more than filing taxpayer. If another taxpayer lists the same dependents in his or her claim, both claims may be disqualified. An experienced financial advisor or accountant can provide more information.
While Illinois does feature some of the most inclusive legislation of any state in relation to civil unions and domestic partnerships, the specifics can get quite complicated. If you are wondering about any particular issue, the guidance of a lawyer with a great deal of experience in the relevant state-specific requirements can help you remain on the right side of the law while protecting your rights.
Source: illinois.gov, "Civil Union Partner & Domestic Partner FAQs," accessed Sep. 02, 2016