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How to Identify Your Personal Exemptions

Personal Exemption

 

According to the IRS, you are generally allowed one exemption for yourself and, if you are married, one exemption for your spouse. These are called personal exemptions. You can take one exemption for yourself unless you can be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer. If another taxpayer is entitled to claim you as a dependent, you cannot take an exemption for yourself even if the other taxpayer does not actually claim you as a dependent. The table below details the 2009 through 2017 personal exemptions.1

 

Year

Personal Exemption

2017

$4,050

2016

$4,050

2015

$4,000

2014

$3,950

2013

$3,900

2012

$3,800

2011

$3,700

2010

$3,650

2009

$3,650

 

Phaseout of Personal Exemptions

 

As your gross income increases, your personal exemption decreases, i.e. phases out. According to the IRS, the personal exemption amount begins to phase out at, and reaches the maximum phaseout amount after, the following gross income amounts:

 

 

TAX YEAR 2017

Filing Status

Beginning of Phaseout

Maximum Phaseout

Married Filing Joint Returns & Surviving Spouses

$313,800

$436,300

Heads of Households

$287,650

$410,150

Unmarried Individuals

$261,500

$384,000

Married Individuals Filing Separate Returns

$156,900

$218,150

 

 

TAX YEAR 2016

Filing Status

Beginning of Phaseout

Maximum Phaseout

Married Filing Joint Returns & Surviving Spouses

$311,300

$433,800

Heads of Households

$285,350

$407,850

Unmarried Individuals

$259,400

$381,900

Married Individuals Filing Separate Returns

$155,650

$216,900

 

 

TAX YEAR 2015

Filing Status

Beginning of Phaseout

Maximum Phaseout

Married Filing Joint Returns & Surviving Spouses

$309,900

$432,400

Heads of Households

$284,050

$406,550

Unmarried Individuals

$258,250

$380,750

Married Individuals Filing Separate Returns

$154,950

$216,200

 

 

TAX YEAR 2014

Filing Status

Beginning of Phaseout

Maximum Phaseout

Married Filing Joint Returns & Surviving Spouses

$305,050

$427,550

Heads of Households

$279,650

$402,150

Unmarried Individuals

$254,200

$376,700

Married Individuals Filing Separate Returns

$152,525

$213,775

 

 

TAX YEAR 2013

Filing Status

Beginning of Phaseout

Maximum Phaseout

Married Filing Joint Returns & Surviving Spouses

$300,000

$422,500

Heads of Households

$275,000

$397,500

Unmarried Individuals

$250,000

$372,500

Married Individuals Filing Separate Returns

$150,000

$211,250

 

 

Note: Phaseouts were terminated for tax years beginning in 2010, but were reinstated in 2013. Unlike the 2009 exemption phaseouts, personal exemptions for years 2013 going forward can be reduced to zero. The 2009 exemption for taxpayers with adjusted gross income in excess of the maximum phaseout amount2 could only be reduced to $2,433.

 

 

TAX YEAR 2009

Filing Status

Beginning of Phaseout

Maximum Phaseout

Married Filing Joint Returns & Surviving Spouses

$250,200

$372,700

Heads of Households

$208,500

$331,000

Unmarried Individuals

$166,800

$289,300

Married Individuals Filing Separate Returns

$125,100

$186,350

 


 

1    Rev. Proc. 2008-66; Rev. Proc. 2009-50; Rev. Proc. 2011-12; Rev. Proc. 2011-52; Rev. Proc. 2013-35; Rev. Proc. 2013-47; Rev. Proc. 2014-61; Rev. Proc. 2015–53; Rev. Proc. 2016–55;

2    Rev. Proc. 2008-66