Six Important Facts about Dependents and Exemptions

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Six Important Facts about Dependents and Exemptions

Even though each individual tax return is different, some tax rules apply to every person that files a federal income tax return. These rules include dependents and exemptions. The IRS has six important facts about dependents and exemptions that will help you file your tax return.

1. Exemptions reduce your taxable income. There are two types of exemptions: personal exemptions and exemptions for dependents. For each exemption you can deduct $3,700 on your tax 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 tax return. Whether you must file a return depends on several factors including the amount of your unearned, earned or gross income, your marital status and any special taxes you owe.

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 tax 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, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information for additional tests to determine who can be claimed as a dependent.

Should you need help deciphering the sometimes confusing landscape of tax preparation, simply feel free to contact us at our tax preparation site.

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As seen in Forbes Magazine, Karla Dennis is an expert tax and business strategist. As an enrolled agent, Karla is licensed to represent taxpayers in all 50 states. She holds a Masters in Taxation and Business Development and is the author of two books, Tax Storm and Against the Odds.


Karla, CEO of consultancy firm Karla Dennis And Associates, Inc.™, has saved her clients thousands of dollars and has been featured in various media outlets such as Forbes, MSNBC, KTLA, Yahoo! Finance, and SmartMoney, marking her as the ultimate tax expert.


As of 2014, Karla became the new host on the “Mind Your Business” radio show, KTLK AM 1150, sharing her financial and business knowledge with the greater Orange County and Los Angeles areas. As a supporter of women’s rights and issues, Karla is part of the Women Network, an organization built to educate and mentor women. In addition, Karla is the radio host for Women Network Radio, a show that aims to uplift and empower women of all walks of life.

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