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Family with DependentsWhether you’re a new parent or you’ve been claiming dependents for years, tax law is complicated and always changing — and at Beaton Accounting, we want to you stay on top of your taxes for an audit-free, wealth-maximized year.

Here are the 6 most important things to keep in mind this year as you claim more than just yourself on your 2011 federal income tax return.

1. Claiming an exemption reduces the amount your income can be taxed. There are two types of exemptions: personal exemptions and exemptions for dependents. Each of these exemptions allows you to deduct $3,700 on your 2011 tax return.

2. You CANNOT claim your spouse as your dependent. When filing a joint return with your spouse, you may claim one exemption for yourself and one for your spouse. If filing separate returns, you may claim a dependent exemption for your spouse ONLY IF the following applies:

– Made $0 gross income that year

– Are not filing a joint return

– Are not already being claimed as a dependent to another taxpayer

3. All of your immediate children qualify for a dependent exemption. Generally, each of your dependents qualifies you for an exemption. A dependent is your qualifying child or qualifying relative in your care. You must list the Social Security Number of any dependent you claim for an exemption.

4. If YOU are claimed as a dependent, you may still have to file your own federal tax return. Depending on the amount of your unearned, earned or gross income, your marital status and whatever special taxes you owe, it may be a requirement that you file your own tax return separately.

5. If you are claimed as a dependent, you no longer qualify for an exemption. Once someone else claims you on their federal income tax return (such as a parent or a spouse), you can no longer claim your own personal exemption on your own tax return.

6. Some people do not qualify as dependents. Spouses filing a joint claim with you do not qualify as dependents. In addition, any dependent you claim must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. resident alien, U.S. national or resident of Canada or Mexico for some part of the year. However, there are some rare exceptions to this.

If you have any lingering questions on claiming dependents, or if you prefer to have your tax return prepared by a professional this year, Beaton Accounting can help. All of our tax preparers are experienced tax professionals to ensure the accuracy of your filing and the maximization of your return.

Call us today for a FREE consultation!


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