Can I claim my spouse as dependent in my tax return?
We often get this question from our clients.
Many times, customers come and demand that their partner must be dependent arguing that:
“My wife doesn’t work so she is my dependent.” You have to put her as a dependent.
Well, that’s not possible! The answer is no…
It might seem fair to you that your partner qualify as a dependent if you are the only provider in your family.
But who said taxes are fair?
The reason why you can’t file your spouse as a dependent is very simple: when the wife or husband does not work, regardless of whether he has income or not.
He/she is your spouse, which is not the same as dependent!
But then, what is a dependent?
What is a Dependent?
The definition of dependent is very simple: Any other person except the wife.
The IRS is clear about it: “Your spouse is never considered your dependent.”
In Tax terms, a dependent meets the criteria of being a child or a qualified family member of the taxpayer. He has the right to claim it as a personal exemption on his tax return to reduce his taxable income.
Before, even though you can’t claim your wife as a dependent, before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act took effect, you could include your spouse as a personal exemption under some circumstances.
But not anymore. Now personal exemptions are gone.
And besides that…
File jointly may be a better option
The more favorable bracket is when you file together.
If you put your wife or husband as a dependent – which is not correct.
You should file him/she as head of household.
And then you have a lower standard deduction and this might not suit you.
Your best alternative would be as married filing jointly.
When you file a joint return, you add the combined income in the same return.
But, making a joint file requires the mutual consent and signature of both spouses, and there could be circumstances under neither wants to do it.
Plan your finances and taxes with Global Tax
If after reading this article you still don’t know how to file your spouse and have mor doubts, don’t hesitate to contact us.
You can call us at (703) 533-3636 or visit our offices located at 8133 Leesburg Pike, Suite 920 Vienna, Virginia 22182.
Our personal and business tax planning experience makes us your best ally for tax advice in Virginia and the entire DMV Area.