Can my wife's parents claim her as a dependent?

August 22, 2011

From:  Dan
Date:  Mon, 29 Jan 2007

To whom it may concern

My wife and I were married on December 31, 2006. She lived with her parents all year because I am in the military. If they claim her exemption, can I also claim her as my wife and file a joint income tax return? What is the best thing to do from a tax point of view?

Thank you,


Date:  28 Feb 2007

Hello Dan,

The general rule is parents can't claim a dependent exemption for a married child who files a joint income tax return unless neither spouse would have a tax liability if they filed separately. If they claim her exemption, you and she will probably have to file separate returns as married, filing separately.

The best thing to do from a tax point of view depends on the detailed circumstances for your individual case. This might be something to discuss with her parents, because they need your cooperation to claim her dependency exemption.

Good luck!

Mike Gray

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