Due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, personal exemptions are no longer allowed on returns for tax years 2018 and later. If you are filing a return for a tax year prior to 2018, a "Non-Working Spouse" exemption is for taxpayers that are filing a Married Filing Separate return.
If you are filing a Married Separate (MFS) return, the primary taxpayer can claim an exemption for the spouse if the spouse:
- Had no gross income
- Is not filing a return, AND
- Was not the dependent of another taxpayer. (This is true even if the other taxpayer does not actually claim your spouse as a dependent.)
The IRS allows you to claim this exemption for your spouse even if he or she is a nonresident alien; in that case, your spouse must have no gross income for United States tax purposes and satisfies the above listed conditions.
Program Entry: When the filing status Married Filing Separate is chosen within your account, the program will ask if you would like to claim your non-working spouse's exemption.