Can a Deceased Person Be Claimed on a Tax Return?

Can a Deceased Person Be Claimed on a Tax Return?
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Your federal income tax obligation is determined in part by how much income you receive, your marital status and how many exemptions you claim as dependents. A dependent may be a qualifying child or a qualifying relative. You may still be able to claim a tax deduction for a dependent or your spouse if they die during the tax year.

Spouse Filing Jointly

The Internal Revenue Service never treats your spouse as a dependent, but you can claim an exemption for your spouse if you file your taxes using the Married Filing Jointing status. You may still claim an exemption for a spouse who died during the tax year, provide you have not remarried prior to the end of the tax year.

Spouse Filing Separately

You may claim an exemption for a spouse who died during the tax year if you file using the Married Filing Separately status, provided your spouse did not have any gross income and you will file no other tax return for her. If you remarry prior to the end of the tax year, you may not claim an exemption for your deceased spouse. If you did not have any gross income, you may file a tax return for you spouse where you are claimed as an exemption.

Child Dependent

You may claim an exemption for a dependent child who died during the tax year, provided the child's home was your home and you would have otherwise been able to claim the child as a dependent. You may claim an exemption for a child who was born during the tax year but died before the end of the tax year, even if the child lived for only a moment. You must have state or local documentation of a live birth, such as a birth certificate, to claim such an exemption. You may not claim an exemption for a stillborn child.

Qualifying Relative

You may claim an exemption for any person who qualified as your dependent but died prior to the end of the tax year. A qualifying relative who lived with you during the tax year as a member of your household until his death meets the member of household or relationship test.