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taxmap/pub17/p17-016.htm#en_us_publink1000170839

Chapter 3
Personal Exemptions and Dependents(p26)

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Personal Exemptions and Dependents


What's New(p26)


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Exemption amount.(p26)

The amount you can deduct for each exemption has increased from $3,500 in 2008 to $3,650 in 2009.
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Exemption phaseout.(p26)

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.
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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.
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Definition of qualifying child revised.(p26)

Beginning in 2009, the following changes have been made to the definition of a qualifying child.
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Definition of custodial parent.(p26)

Beginning in 2009, new rules apply to determine who is the custodial parent for tax purposes. See Custodial parent and noncustodial parent.
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Revoking a release of claim to a dependent's exemption.(p26)

Beginning in 2009, new rules allow the custodial parent to revoke a release of claim to exemption that was previously released to the noncustodial parent. See Revocation of release of claim to an exemption.
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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.
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This chapter discusses exemptions. The following topics will be explained.
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Deduction.(p26)


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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, later.
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How to claim exemptions.(p26)


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How to Claim 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).

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Useful items

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 Individuals
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Exemptions(p27)


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There are two types of exemptions you may be able to take: While each is worth the same amount ($3,650 for 2009), different rules apply to each type.
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Personal Exemptions(p27)


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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.
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Your Own Exemption(p27)


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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.
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Your Spouse's Exemption(p27)


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Your spouse is never considered your dependent.
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Joint return.(p27)


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On a joint return you can claim one exemption for yourself and one for your spouse.
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Separate return.(p27)


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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.
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Death of spouse.(p28)


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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.
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Divorced or separated spouse.(p28)


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Divorced or Separated Spouse

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.