Dependent Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Dependent, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Dependent?

1\) n. Someone who receives support from another and may qualify them to be claimed as an exemption on income taxes. 2) adj. The requirement of an event to occur.

History and Meaning of Dependent

The term "dependent" has its roots in Middle English from the Latin word "dependere," meaning "to hang down." In the legal world, a dependent is someone who relies on another for support and may qualify for various tax exemptions. The legal definition of dependent can include a variety of relationships, such as parents of minor children, disabled adults, or individuals who qualify as a family member.

When it comes to taxes, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) defines a dependent as anyone who relies on the taxpayer for support. This definition includes children, elderly parents, and disabled adults who have a certain level of income or resources. The term "dependent" also applies to the requirement of an event to occur, as in a clause that states "upon the dependent condition that the employer matches the employee's contributions to the plan."

Examples of Dependent

  1. Sarah is a single mother with two children. She claims her children as dependents on her tax return, which reduces her taxable income and results in a smaller tax bill.
  2. Tom is an adult with a disability who lives with his sister. She provides him with housing, food, and transportation, making him her dependent for tax purposes.
  3. The charitable organization's ability to receive a large grant is dependent on the passage of a new law by the local government.

Legal Terms Similar to Dependent

  • Beneficiary: A person who receives money or property as a result of a legal arrangement, such as a trust or will.
  • Ward: A person, often a minor or incapacitated adult, who is legally under the care of another person known as a guardian.
  • Principal: The primary party in a legal agreement who delegates authority or provides benefits to another party known as the agent.