What You Need To Know About Tax Exemptions And Dependents

by Khaleef Crumbley on February 23, 2011

in Taxes

Tax Exemptions and Dependents

Some tax laws and guidelines affect every person who may have to file a return – this includes rules governing tax exemptions and dependents. Ever since I became involved in preparing taxes, I have noticed a lot of confusion regarding exemptions and dependents.

Apparently, so has the IRS. Therefore, they have released a bulletin outlining six facts regarding tax exemptions and dependents that will help you when you file a tax return:

Tax Exemptions And Dependents:

  1. Exemptions reduce your taxable income. There are two types of exemptions: personal exemptions and exemptions for dependents. For each exemption you can deduct $3,650 on your 2010 return.

  2. Your spouse is never considered your dependent. On a joint return, you may claim one exemption for yourself and one for your spouse. If you’re filing a separate return, you may claim the exemption for your spouse only if they had no gross income, are not filing a joint return, and were not the dependent of another taxpayer.

  3. Exemptions for dependents. You generally can take an exemption for each of your dependents. A dependent is your qualifying child or qualifying relative. You must list the social security number of any dependent for whom you claim an exemption.

  4. If someone else claims you as a dependent, you may still be required to file your own return. Whether you must file a return depends on several factors including the amount of your unearned, earned or gross income, your marital status, any special taxes you owe and any advance Earned Income Tax Credit payments you received. [Find out if you need to file an income tax return]

  5. If you are a dependent, you may not claim an exemption. If someone else – such as your parent – claims you as a dependent, you may not claim your personal exemption on your own return.

  6. Some people cannot be claimed as your dependent. Generally, you may not claim a married person as a dependent if they file a joint return with their spouse. Also, to claim someone as a dependent, that person must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. resident alien, U.S. national or resident of Canada or Mexico for some part of the year. There is an exception to this rule for certain adopted children. See IRS Publication 501 (opens a PDF),  Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information for additional tests to determine who can be claimed as a dependent.

Hopefully, these guidelines have helped you to develop a better understanding of exemptions and dependents. If you need more assistance, visit out tax help page. There you will find guides, articles, and other reference material related to this and other subjects!

Once you are ready to prepare a return, be sure to contact us to set up an appointment for tax preparation. If you decide to file your own taxes, we recommend using TurboTax to do so.

Be sure you are aware of the tax filing delay, as well as the fact that the tax filing deadline has been extended this year. To get the most out of your financial situation in 2011, you should know the IRA Contribution Limits, 401k Contribution Limits, and the Income Tax Rates for 2011!

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