Parents can claim a tax exemption for dependent children.
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by Contributing Writer
The federal government taxes many forms of income, from wages and salaries to interest and gambling winnings, but it also lets you claim tax breaks that let you keep some of your money tax-free. The Internal Revenue Service offers a tax exemption for each dependent you claim on your tax return. The dependent exemption is technically separate from the standard deduction, but both tax breaks function in the same way: they reduce your taxable income, which ultimately cuts the taxes you owe.
Standard Deductions vs. Exemptions
The standard deduction is a tax break you
can claim on your tax return instead of claiming itemized deductions, which include things like property taxes, mortgage interest and gifts to charity. Standard deductions don't depend on whether you have children or other dependents; they depend only on your tax filing status. According to the IRS, the standard deduction is $6,100 for single filers and $12,200 for joint filers for the 2013 tax year. The dependent exemption lets you slash another $3,900 off your taxable income for each child you claim, beyond your standard deduction or itemized deductions. You can also claim a personal exemption of $3,900 for yourself, and if you're filing a joint return, your spouse.
Dependent Exemption Requirements