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Aliens - How Many Exemptions Can Be Claimed?

Aliens are allowed to claim personal exemptions as follows.

  • Are you a Resident Alien?
    • Resident Aliens may claim the same exemptions as U.S. citizens.
  • Are you a Nonresident Alien?
    • GENERAL RULE: A Nonresident Alien, whether single or married, may claim only one personal exemption for himself, as long as he may not be claimed as a dependent on any other U.S. tax return.
    • EXCEPTIONS TO GENERAL RULE:
      • Residents of Canada, Mexico, or U.S. Nationals may claim additional exemptions for spouse and dependents if:
        • the spouse had no gross income;
        • the spouse was not the dependent of another U.S. taxpayer; and
        • the dependents otherwise qualify as dependents under the normal rules (Refer to Publication 17, Chapter 3).
      • Residents of the Republic of Korea may claim additional exemptions for spouse and children if:
        • they meet the same 3 conditions shown above for residents of Canada, Mexico, and U.S. Nationals;
        • the spouse and all children claimed have lived with the taxpayer at some time during the tax year;
        • the additional deductions for spouse and children are prorated based on the ratio of the alien's U.S. income effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business to the alien's worldwide income from all sources; and
        • the additional deductions for spouse and children are limited to the extent of the alien's taxable income.
      • STUDENTS and BUSINESS APPRENTICES who are residents of India may claim exemptions for spouse and children if:
        • the spouse had no income and cannot be claimed by another taxpayer; and
        • the children meet ALL dependency tests, including the citizenship/residency test. That is, the nonresident alien Indian Student cannot claim a dependency exemption for his child unless the child is a U.S. citizen or a resident alien.
  • Are you a Dual Status Alien?
    • For the portion of the year in which a Dual Status Alien is a Resident Alien, the Dual Status Alien may claim all the same personal exemptions which are allowed to a U.S. Citizen. For the portion of the year in which a Dual Status Alien is a Nonresident Alien, the Dual Status Alien may claim only the exemptions allowed to Nonresident Aliens (as explained above).

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 05-May-2014