We Believe in Being Honest: Dependency Exemptions for LDS Missionaries
31 BYU J. Pub. L. 233 (2016)
36 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2016 Last revised: 22 Aug 2017
Date Written: December 1, 2015
This paper answers the following question: under what circumstances, if any, can American parents take the dependency exemption for their children on missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“the LDS Church”)? A recent survey indicates that 91% of American parents of LDS missionaries take the dependency exemption for their missionary child for at least one taxable year during which their child is a missionary. These parents are most likely automatically taking the exemption without thinking about it. This current norm calls into question whether these types of missionaries actually meet the legal definition of a dependent. Although many, if not most, missionaries may be eligible as dependents for their parents to take the exemption one or more of the two or three years that they are missionaries, it is not automatic and ought to be analyzed for each missionary’s situation for each of the years. This paper gives a roadmap for analysis.
Keywords: U.S. Tax Law, Dependency Exemption, Religion
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