DEFINITION of 'Gross-Income Test'

One of the five necessary tests that dependents must pass before they can be claimed as such in the U.S. The gross-income test mandates that dependents cannot earn more than a certain amount each year. This test only applies to potential dependents that are over the age of 18 (or 23 if he or she is a full-time student).

BREAKING DOWN 'Gross-Income Test'

The amount that a potential dependent can earn is indexed for inflation each year. For 2008, the limit was $3,500, equal to the dependency exemption amount. If this criterion is met, the other four tests for dependency are then applied.

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