Exemptions reduce your taxable income. Generally, you can deduct $3,500 for each exemption you claim in 2008. If you are entitled to two exemptions for 2008, you would deduct $7,000 ($3,500 × 2). But you may lose part of the dollar amount of your exemptions if your adjusted gross income is above a certain amount. See Phaseout of Exemptions
You usually can claim exemptions for yourself, your spouse, and each person you can claim as a dependent. taxmap/pubs/p501-003.htm#en_us_publink100041811
There are two types of exemptions: personal exemptions and exemptions for dependents. While each is worth the same amount ($3,500 for 2008), different rules, discussed later, apply to each type. taxmap/pubs/p501-003.htm#en_us_publink100041812
If you are entitled to claim an exemption for a dependent (such as your child), that dependent cannot claim a personal exemption on his or her own tax return.taxmap/pubs/p501-003.htm#en_us_publink100083681taxmap/pubs/p501-003.htm#en_us_publink100041813
How you claim an exemption on your tax return depends on which form you file.taxmap/pubs/p501-003.htm#en_us_publink100041814
If you file Form 1040EZ, the exemption amount is combined with the standard deduction and entered on line 5. taxmap/pubs/p501-003.htm#en_us_publink100041815
If you file Form 1040A, complete lines 6a through 6d. The total number of exemptions you can claim is the total in the box on line 6d. Also complete line 26.taxmap/pubs/p501-003.htm#en_us_publink100041816
If you file Form 1040, complete lines 6a through 6d.The total number of exemptions you can claim is the total in the box on line 6d. Also complete line 42.taxmap/pubs/p501-003.htm#en_us_publink100041817
If you are a U.S. citizen, U.S. resident alien, U.S. national (defined later) or a resident of Canada or Mexico, you may qualify for any of the exemptions discussed here.taxmap/pubs/p501-003.htm#en_us_publink100041818
Generally, if you are a nonresident alien (other than a resident of Canada or Mexico, or certain residents of India or Korea), you can qualify for only one personal exemption for yourself. You cannot claim exemptions for a spouse or dependents.
These restrictions do not apply if you are a nonresident alien married to a U. S. citizen or resident alien and have chosen to be treated as a resident of the United States. taxmap/pubs/p501-003.htm#en_us_publink100041819
For more information on exemptions if you are a nonresident alien, see chapter 5 in Publication 519.taxmap/pubs/p501-003.htm#en_us_publink100041820
If you have been both a nonresident alien and a resident alien in the same tax year, you should see Publication 519 for information on determining your exemptions.taxmap/pubs/p501-003.htm#en_us_publink100041821
You are generally allowed one exemption for yourself and, if you are married, one exemption for your spouse. These are called personal exemptions. taxmap/pubs/p501-003.htm#en_us_publink100041822
You can take one exemption for yourself unless you can be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer. If another taxpayer is entitled to claim you as a dependent, you cannot take an exemption for yourself even if the other taxpayer does not actually claim you as a dependent.taxmap/pubs/p501-003.htm#en_us_publink100041823
Your spouse is never considered your dependent.taxmap/pubs/p501-003.htm#en_us_publink100041824
On a joint return, you can claim one exemption for yourself and one for your spouse.taxmap/pubs/p501-003.htm#en_us_publink100041825
If you file a separate return, you can claim the exemption for your spouse only if your spouse had no gross income, is not filing a return, and was not the dependent of another taxpayer. This is true even if the other taxpayer does not actually claim your spouse as a dependent. This is also true if your spouse is a nonresident alien.taxmap/pubs/p501-003.htm#en_us_publink100041826
If you qualify for head of household filing status because you are considered unmarried, you can claim an exemption for your spouse if the conditions described in the preceding paragraph are satisfied.
To claim the exemption for your spouse, check the box on line 6b of Form 1040 or Form 1040A and enter the name of your spouse in the space to the right of the box. Enter the SSN or ITIN of your spouse in the space provided at the top of Form 1040 or Form 1040A.taxmap/pubs/p501-003.htm#en_us_publink100041827
If your spouse died during the year, you generally can claim your spouse's exemption under the rules just explained in Joint return.
If you file a separate return for the year, you may be able to claim your spouse's exemption under the rules just described in Separate return
If you remarried during the year, you cannot take an exemption for your deceased spouse.
If you are a surviving spouse without gross income and you remarry in the year your spouse died, you can be claimed as an exemption on both the final separate return of your deceased spouse and the separate return of your new spouse for that year. If you file a joint return with your new spouse, you can be claimed as an exemption only on that return. taxmap/pubs/p501-003.htm#en_us_publink100041828
If you obtained a final decree of divorce or separate maintenance by the end of the year, you cannot take your former spouse's exemption. This rule applies even if you provided all of your former spouse's support. taxmap/pubs/p501-003.htm#en_us_publink100095637
You may be able to take an additional exemption amount of $500 for providing housing to a person displaced by the storms, tornadoes, or flooding in a Midwestern disaster area. You cannot claim this amount for housing your spouse or any of your dependents.
You can take this exemption for up to four individuals. Since the exemption is $500 per person, the maximum you can claim is $2,000. You may be able to take this exemption if all of the following are true.
- You provided housing in your main home for a period of at least 60 consecutive days to a person displaced by the storms, tornadoes, or flooding in a Midwestern disaster area.
- The person lived in a Midwestern disaster area when the disaster occurred.
- You did not receive rent or any other amount for providing the housing.
To claim the additional exemption amount, file Form 8914, Exemption Amount for Taxpayers Housing Midwestern Displaced Individuals. For more information, see Publication 4492-B, Information for Affected Taxpayers in the Midwestern Disaster Areas.