Question

Can I claim my spouse as a dependent?

Answer

You can’t claim spouses as dependents whether he or she maintains residency with you or not. However, you can claim an exemption for your spouse in certain circumstances:

  • If you and your spouse are married filing jointly, you can claim one exemption for your spouse and one exemption for yourself.
  • If you’re married filing separately, you can claim an exemption for your spouse only if your spouse:
    • Had no gross income
    • Isn’t filing a return
    • Wasn’t the dependent of another taxpayer, even if the other taxpayer doesn’t actually claim your spouse as a dependent

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