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Personal Tax Exemptions

What is a personal tax exemption?

Each taxpayer is generally allowed one tax exemption for himself or herself. If the taxpayer is married then one tax exemption is allowed for his or her spouse. Income tax exemptions for self and spouse are called personal tax exemptions as opposed to dependent tax exemptions.

What are the rules for claiming personal tax exemptions?

Claiming your own tax exemption

You are allowed to take one tax exemption for yourself, unless you can be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer.

Personal Tax Exemptions

How to claim my spouse as a personal tax exemption?

The rules for claiming a spouse as a personal tax exemption is as follows:

If you are married and filing a joint return

The rule is that your spouse is never considered your dependent. You can take a personal tax exemption on your spouse if you are married and filing a joint tax return.

If you are married but filing separate returns

If you are married and filing separately from your spouse, you can still claim your spouse as a personal tax exemption if your spouse meets all of the following tests:

  • has no gross income
  • is not filing a tax return and
  • was not the dependent of another taxpayer.
I am divorced, can I claim spousal personal tax exemption?

If you are divorced or legally separated by the end of the tax year, you cannot take the personal exemption for your former spouse.

My spouse died, can I take personal exemption on my deceased spouse?

If your spouse died during the tax year, you generally can claim the exemption for the deceased spouse.


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