Nearly everyone who files a tax return is entitled to a freebie tax deduction called an exemption. If you are married or claim dependents on your return, you get additional exemptions and a bigger deduction from income. For 2013, you are allowed to deduct $3,900 for each exemption claimed on your federal return.
There are two types of exemptions: personal exemptions and dependent exemptions. We'll explain the two types of exemptions and also answer some questions you might have.
You can generally claim one exemption for yourself. If you are married and file a joint return, you can also claim one exemption for your spouse. In certain situations, you may be allowed to claim your spouse's exemption on a separate return.
Can I claim my spouse as a dependent?
You cannot claim your spouse as a dependent. Claiming your spouse's exemption is different than claiming your spouse as a dependent, but the effect on the return is the same. The exemption is $3,900 regardless of whether it's a personal exemption or a dependent exemption.
Can I claim my own exemption if someone else can claim me as a dependent?
If someone else can claim you as a dependent, then you cannot claim a personal exemption on your return. The rule applies even if the other person does not actually claim you.
You can claim one exemption for each person claimed as a dependent on your return but several tests must be met in order to claim someone as a dependent. If you are not sure whether you can claim someone as a dependent, use the interactive Dependent Quiz in TaxAct's Federal Q&A to guide you through the IRS rules.
Does my dependent have to file a return?
A separate return must be filed for a dependent if filing requirements are met. Generally, a dependent is required to file a return if he or she had more than $6,100 of wage or other earned income, or if total interest, dividend, and capital gain income was more than $1,000. Several other factors must also be taken into account, such as age, filing status and any special taxes that may apply.
Can I enter my dependent's income on my return?
You generally cannot include your dependent's income on your return. An exception to this rule allows you to include the dependent's investment income on your return in certain situations. Investment income for this exception includes interest, dividends and capital gain distributions.
Claiming Exemptions on Your Return
With TaxAct, your exemptions are calculated automatically as you complete your return. We'll also guide you through other tax benefits that might apply to make sure you claim everything you're entitled to and get the biggest refund possible.
March 1 — Farmers & fishermen
File your 2017 income tax return (Form 1040) and pay any tax due Details
March 10 — Employees who work for tips
If you received $20 or more in tips during February, report them to your employer Details
March 15 — S Corporations
File a 2017 calendar year income tax return (Form 1120S) and pay any tax due Details
March 15 — S Corporation election
File Form 2553, Election by a Small Business Corporation, to elect to be treated as an S corporation beginning with calendar year 2017. If Form 2553 is filed late, S corporation treatment will begin with calendar year 2018.
March 15 — Partnerships
File a 2017 calendar year return (Form 1065) Details
March 15 — Electing larger partnerships
Provide each partner with a copy of Schedule K1 (Form 1065B), Partner's Share of Income (Loss) From an Electing Large Partnership, or a substitute Schedule K1. This due date applies even if the partnership requests an extension of time to file the Form 1065B by filing Form 7004
March 15 — Partnerships
Electing large partnerships: File a 2017 calendar year return (Form 1065-B) Details
March 15 — Social security, Medicare, and withheld income tax
If the monthly deposit rule Page 6 Publication 509 applies, deposit the tax for payments in February.
March 31 — Electronic filing of Forms W2
File copies of all the Forms W2 you issued for 2017. This due date applies only if you electronically file.
March 31 — Electronic filing of Forms W2G
File copies of all the Forms W2G you issued for 2017. This due date applies only if you electronically file.
March 31 — Electronic filing of Forms 8027
File Forms 8027 for 2017. This due date applies only if you electronically file.