The amount you can deduct for each exemption has increased from $3,500 in 2008 to $3,650 in 2009.taxmap/pub17/p17-016.htm#en_us_publink1000170842
You lose part of the benefit of your exemptions if your adjusted gross income (AGI) is above a certain amount. For 2009, this phaseout begins at $125,100 for married persons filing separately; $166,800 for single individuals; $208,500 for heads of household; and $250,200 for married persons filing jointly or qualifying widow(er)s. However, in 2009, you can lose no more than 1/3 of the amount of your exemptions. In other words, each exemption cannot be reduced to less than $2,433.taxmap/pub17/p17-016.htm#en_us_publink1000170843
Exemption for individual displaced by a Midwestern disaster.(p26)
You may be able to claim a $500 exemption if you provided housing to a person displaced by a Midwestern disaster. For more information, see Form 8914.taxmap/pub17/p17-016.htm#en_us_publink1000230126
Definition of qualifying child revised.(p26)
Beginning in 2009, the following changes have been made to the definition of a qualifying child.
- To be your qualifying child, the child must be younger than you unless the child is permanently and totally disabled.
- A child cannot be your qualifying child if he or she files a joint return, unless the return was filed only as a claim for refund.
- If the parents of a child can claim the child as a qualifying child but no parent so claims the child, no one else can claim the child as a qualifying child unless that person's AGI is higher than the highest AGI of any of the child's parents who can claim the child.
- Your child is a qualifying child for purposes of the child tax credit only if you can and do claim an exemption for him or her.
Definition of custodial parent.(p26)taxmap/pub17/p17-016.htm#en_us_publink1000230128
Revoking a release of claim to a dependent's exemption.(p26)taxmap/pub17/p17-016.htm#en_us_publink1000230129
Post-2008 divorce decree or separation agreement.(p26)
Beginning with 2009 tax returns, a noncustodial parent claiming an exemption for a child can no longer attach certain pages from a divorce decree or separation agreement instead of Form 8332 if the decree or agreement went into effect after 2008. The noncustodial parent must attach Form 8332 or a similar statement signed by the custodial parent and whose only purpose is to release a claim to exemption. See Children of divorced or separated parents or parents who live apart
under Exemptions for Dependents.
This chapter discusses exemptions. The following topics will be explained.
- Personal exemptions — You generally can take one for yourself and, if you are married, one for your spouse.
- Exemptions for dependents — You generally can take an exemption for each of your dependents. A dependent is your qualifying child or qualifying relative. If you are entitled to claim an exemption for a dependent, that dependent cannot claim a personal exemption on his or her own tax return.
- Phaseout of exemptions — You get less of a deduction when your adjusted gross income goes above a certain amount.
- Social security number (SSN) requirement for dependents — You must list the social security number of any dependent for whom you claim an exemption.
Exemptions reduce your taxable income. Generally, you can deduct $3,650 for each exemption you claim in 2009. 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
How you claim an exemption on your tax return depends on which form you file.
If you file Form 1040EZ, the exemption amount is combined with the standard deduction amount and entered on line 5.
If you file Form 1040A or Form 1040, follow the instructions for the form. The total number of exemptions you can claim is the total in the box on line 6d. Also complete line 26 (Form 1040A) or line 42 (Form 1040). taxmap/pub17/p17-016.htm#TXMP15e83a67
You may want to see:
Publication 501 Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information Form (and Instructions) 2120: Multiple Support Declaration 8332: Release/Revocation of Release of Claim to Exemption for Child by Custodial Parent 8914: Exemption Amount for Taxpayers Housing Midwestern Displaced Individualstaxmap/pub17/p17-016.htm#en_us_publink1000170847 taxmap/pub17/p17-016.htm#en_us_publink1000170848
There are two types of exemptions you may be able to take:
- Personal exemptions for yourself and your spouse, and
- Exemptions for dependents (dependency exemptions).
While each is worth the same amount ($3,650 for 2009), different rules apply to each type.
You are generally allowed one exemption for yourself. If you are married, you may be allowed one exemption for your spouse. These are called personal exemptions.taxmap/pub17/p17-016.htm#en_us_publink1000170849
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/pub17/p17-016.htm#en_us_publink1000170850
Your spouse is never considered your dependent. taxmap/pub17/p17-016.htm#en_us_publink1000170851
On a joint return you can claim one exemption for yourself and one for your spouse. taxmap/pub17/p17-016.htm#en_us_publink1000170852
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/pub17/p17-016.htm#en_us_publink1000170853
If your spouse died during the year and you file a joint return for yourself and your deceased spouse, you generally can claim your spouse's exemption under the rules just explained under 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/pub17/p17-016.htm#en_us_publink1000170856
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.