Important Facts about Dependents and Exemptions

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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.

Personal Exemptions

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.

Dependent Exemptions

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.

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Upcoming Tax Dates

February 10 — Social security, Medicare, and withheld income tax
File Form 941 for the fourth quarter of 2018. This due date applies only if you deposited the tax for the quarter timely, properly, and in full.

February 10 — Certain small employers
File Form 944 to report social security and Medicare taxes and withheld income tax for 2018. This due date applies only if you deposited the tax for the year timely, properly, and in full.

February 10 — Farm employers
File Form 943 to report social security and Medicare taxes and withheld income tax for 2018. This due date applies only if you deposited the tax for the year timely, properly, and in full.

February 10 — Federal unemployment tax
File Form 940 for 2018. This due date applies only if you deposited the tax for the year timely, properly, and in full.

February 10 — Employees who work for tips
If you received $20 or more in tips during January, report them to your employer Details

February 15 — All businesses
Give annual information statements to recipients of certain payments you made during 2018 Details

February 15 — Social security, Medicare, and withheld income tax
If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in January.

February 15 — All employers
Begin withholding income tax from the pay of any employee who claimed exemption from withholding in 2018, but did not give you Form W4 to continue the exemption this year.

February 15 — Individuals
If you claimed exemption from income tax withholding last year on the Form W-4, you must file a new Form W-04 by this date to continue your exemption for another year Details

February 18 — Everyone
Federal Holiday (Washington's Birthday) Details

February 28 — All businesses
File information returns (for example, Forms 1099) for certain payments you made during 2018.

February 28 — Payers of gambling winnings.
File Form 1096 along with Copy A of all the Forms W2G you issued for 2018. If you file Forms W2G electronically, your due date for filing them with the IRS will be extended to March 31. The due date for giving the recipient these forms remains January 31.

February 28 — All employers
File Form W3, Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements, along with Copy A of all the Forms W2 you issued for 2018. If you file Forms W2 electronically, your due date for filing them with the SSA will be extended to March 31. The due date for giving the recipient these forms remains January 31.

February 28 — Large food and beverage establishment employers
File Form 8027, Employer's Annual Information Return of Tip Income and Allocated Tips. Use Form 8027T, Transmittal of Employer's Annual Information Return of Tip Income and Allocated Tips, to summarize and transmit Forms 8027 if you have more than one establishment. If you file Forms 8027 electronically, your due date for filing them with the IRS will be extended to March 31.

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