Internal Revenue Service United States Department of the Treasury
Level Basic Advanced Military International

Dependency Exemptions

Summary and Exercises

Summary

For a taxpayer to claim a dependency exemption, the following conditions must be met:

  • You cannot claim any dependents if you, or your spouse if filing jointly, could be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer.
  • You cannot claim a married person who files a joint return as a dependent unless that joint return is only a claim for refund and there would be no tax liability for either spouse on separate returns.
  • You cannot claim a person as a dependent unless that person is a U.S. citizen, U.S. resident alien, U.S. national, or a resident of Canada or Mexico, for some part of the year. (There is an exception for certain adopted children.)
  • You cannot claim a person as a dependent unless that person is your qualifying child or qualifying relative.