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previous page Previous Page: Publication 501 - Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information - Filing Status
next page Next Page: Publication 501 - Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information - Exemptions for Dependents
 Use previous pagenext page to find additional occurrences of topic items.Index for this Publication
taxmap/pubs/p501-003.htm#en_us_publink100041810

Exemptions(p10)


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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, later.
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

Types of exemptions.(p10)


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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

Who cannot claim a personal exemption.(p10)


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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_publink100083681

Exemption for individual displaced by a Midwestern disaster.(p10)


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You may be able to claim a $500 exemption if you provided housing to a person displaced by the storms, tornadoes, or flooding in a Midwestern disaster area. See Exemption for Individual Displaced by a Midwestern Disaster, later.
taxmap/pubs/p501-003.htm#en_us_publink100041813

How to claim exemptions.(p10)


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How you claim an exemption on your tax return depends on which form you file.
taxmap/pubs/p501-003.htm#en_us_publink100041814

Form 1040EZ filers.(p10)
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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

Form 1040A filers.(p10)
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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

Form 1040 filers.(p10)
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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

U.S. citizen or resident alien.(p10)


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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

Nonresident aliens.(p10)


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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

More information.(p10)
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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

Dual-status taxpayers.(p10)


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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

Personal Exemptions(p10)


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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

Your Own Exemption(p10)


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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's Exemption(p10)


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Your spouse is never considered your dependent.
taxmap/pubs/p501-003.htm#en_us_publink100041824

Joint return.(p10)


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On a joint return, you can claim one exemption for yourself and one for your spouse.
taxmap/pubs/p501-003.htm#en_us_publink100041825

Separate return.(p10)


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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

Head of household.(p10)
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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

Death of spouse.(p10)


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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

Divorced or separated spouse.(p10)


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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

Exemption for Individual Displaced by a Midwestern Disaster(p10)


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Exemption for Individual Displaced by a Midwestern Disaster

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.
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.
previous pagePrevious Page: Publication 501 - Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information - Filing Status
next pageNext Page: Publication 501 - Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information - Exemptions for Dependents
 Use previous pagenext page to find additional occurrences of topic items.Index for this Publication