My spouse was unemployed for the entire year. Should we file a joint return? If we do, can I still claim him as a dependent?

My husband had no income in 2012. aI want to know the best route of these options: 1. File a joint return and NOT claim him as a dependent. 2. File a joint return and CLAIM him as a dependent. 3. DO NOT file a joint return and CLAIM him as a dependent. If the latter is the best option, would he even need to file a separate return? He does have student loan interest to claim, but no income.
  • we claimes two exemptions and are entitled to a credit of $7,600.00 but turbo tax is only giving us $3,800.00 why ?
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You don't claim your husband as a dependent.  When you enter your and his information in the Personal information under the (Personal Info) area TurboTax automatically takes your husband as being a deduction on your tax return.

A spouse can never be a dependent.  It doesn't matter if they've never worked or had income, you can still file a Married Filing Jointly tax return. That way your spouse will receive the same $3,800 exemption as a dependent would receive.


  • He received some money from unemployment
  • smoala1,
    The unemployment is considered Taxable income an must entered into your tax return.
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A spouse is not entered as a dependent. If you are married and living together you can only file as Married Filing Jointly or Married Filing Separately.  Filing jointly is almost always the best way to file for tax purposes even if one spouse has little or no income.
Filing jointly you both receive a personal exemption of $3800 each.  You also receive a standard deduction of $11,900.  The personal exemptions and standard deduction reduce your adjusted gross income (AGI) which determines your tax liability.
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