Tax Exemptions

Tax exemptions are desirable because they help you reduce taxable income. Usually, you can claim exemptions for yourself, your dependents and your spouse. But keep in mind that exemptions may be lost if the adjusted gross income goes beyond a certain amount. And if you claim for a dependent, that person will not be able to claim any personal exemption on their own tax return.

How to Claim Exemptions

Claiming for an exemption would depend on which form you use to file your return.

Form 1040EZ

The amount of exemption is entered on line 5; this amount is added to the standard deduction.

Form 1040A

Lines 6a to 6d: line 6d contains the total number of exemptions you can claim.

After that, multiply the number on line 6d by $3,200. Enter the amount on Line 26, or your total exemption.

Form 1040

Same as in 1040A, fill up lines 6a to 6d. After that, multiply the number on line 6d by $3,200. Enter the amount on Line 42, or your total exemption.

Personal Exemptions

A person is allowed to claim personal exemption, which is an exemption for themselves and another for their spouse if the person is married.

Your Own Exemption

You can claim an exemption for yourself, provided that you cannot be claimed as another taxpayer’s dependent. Note that you still cannot claim for your own exemption even if the other taxpayer who is qualified to claim you as a dependent does not.

Your Spouse’s Exemption

Your spouse is not your dependent for tax purposes, but you can still claim an exemption for them on a joint return. If you file separate returns, you can still claim for your spouse provided that they do not have a gross income, or if they are not filing a return or they are not a dependent of another taxpayer. The same applies for a spouse who is a non-resident alien. Note that you can no longer claim an exemption for a former spouse even if you pay for alimony or the ex-spouse’s support.

Exemptions for Dependents

Your dependents would entitle you to claim for an exemption for each one of them, even if they file their own return.

According to the IRS, dependents are:

Qualifying child or

Qualifying relative

Here is a summary of the rules for claiming for an exemption for a dependent:

You cannot claim any dependents if you, or your spouse if filing jointly, could be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer.

You cannot claim a married person who files a joint return as a dependent, unless that joint return is only a claim for refund and there would be no tax liability for either spouse on separate returns.

You cannot claim a person as a dependent unless that person is a U.S. citizen, U.S. resident, U.S. national, or a resident of Canada or Mexico, for some part of the year.

You cannot claim a person as a dependent unless that person is your qualifying child or qualifying relative.

Get more information from the IRS for Exemptions for Dependents

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