What is a personal exemption?
This article is valid for tax year 2017. Personal exemptions will be suspended in tax year 2018, along with several other deductions. See the complete list at Which federal tax deductions have been suspended by tax reform?
A personal exemption (not to be confused with the Health Care penalty exemption) is an amount you get to deduct from your income for every taxpayer and most dependents claimed on your return.
For 2017, the exemption is $4,050 per person, which means a jointly-filing couple with 2 dependents get an exemption of $16,200 (4 people x $4,050). This amount is subject to a phaseout, or reduction, once you go above a certain AGI level (for example, on joint returns the phaseout kicks in at $313,800).
Also, if you're being claimed as a dependent by another person, you don't get a personal exemption on your own return because the rule is one exemption per person. Same goes for your jointly-filing spouse.
If you're filing separately, you can claim an exemption for your spouse if they had no income, aren't filing their own return, and aren't a dependent on someone else's return (not common).
We'll calculate your exemption based on your filing status and income.
Did you know? Your personal exemption gets deducted in addition to your standard or itemized deduction.