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One Last Shot At A Tax Exemption

Did your child graduate from college or graduate school this spring? If that's the case, this may be the last year you will be able to claim a dependency exemption for that son or daughter. But even then, you need to be careful to observe all of the tax rules covering such exemptions.

For starters, your dependency exemption for each qualifying child in 2017 is $4,050, the same as the personal exemption you and your spouse may claim. But you may lose some of the tax benefit of these exemptions under the personal exemption phase-out (PEP) rule. It kicks in at $261,500 of modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) for single filers and $313,800 of MAGI for joint filers.

To qualify for dependency exemptions, you must meet a two-part test. First, you have to provide more than half of your child's annual support for the year. Second, your dependent can't have earned more than the personal exemption amount in gross taxable income for the year. It's the second part of the test that often jeopardizes an exemption.

However, you may be in line for a special tax break. If your child is under age 19 or is a full-time student and under age 24, the second part of the test doesn't apply. That means you often still can claim a dependency exemption for a child in the year he or she graduates from college as long as you provide half of your son's or daughter's support.

Of course, if your kid is lucky enough to land a high-paying job right out of school, it may be a stretch to reach that half-support level. You might have to be extra-generous at the end of the year to secure the exemption one last time.

Consider this hypothetical example: Suppose your daughter graduates in May and starts working full-time in July. She earns $4,000 a month at her new job and contributes $800 of that amount to a 401(k). The retirement plan contribution doesn't count as support, but the other $3,200 a month does, and for six months that adds up to $19,200.

If you provided $1,500 in monthly support to your daughter while she was in school and after she graduated, you will have given her $18,000 for the year. But that's less than half of her total support.

To get over that hump and save your exemption for your daughter, you might give her a cash gift, say $2,000, around the holidays, maybe to help her buy a car. Now you're providing more than half of her support for the year—$20,000 ($18,000 + $2,000) compared with $19,200. The $2,000 gift allows you to claim a $4,050 exemption.

Of course, Congress could revise these tax rules, but it's unlikely that any changes involving dependency exemptions would be retroactive to the beginning of the year. Keep one eye on the progress of tax reform talks in Washington and the other eye on your child's support totals for the year.



INDEX
  • BUYING A VARIABLE ANNUITY IS USUALLY PROBLEMATIC: SKY HIGH EXPENSE RATIOS CAN SIGNIFICANTLY IMPACT FUTURE RETURNS NEGATIVELY
  • Five Steps When You Inherit Assets
  • How To Spell Estate Tax Relief
  • One Last Shot At A Tax Exemption
  • 5 Ways That Can Help You Pay For Higher Education
  • Seven Smart Money Moves You Should Make In 2017
  • Sticking With The Fundamentals
  • 17 Midyear Tax Moves You Still Can Make In '17
  • A Quick Overview Of Preferred Securities
  • Weigh Five 401(k) Options When Leaving A Job
  • Locate A Tax Shelter Near A School
  • How To Improve Chances For College Financial Aid
  • What Would You Do For A Bigger Salary Or More Benefits?
  • 7 Late Moves To Cut Taxes This Year
  • Seven Good Reasons To Create And Fund A Trust
  • A Good Time To Remember How Long-Term Investors Must Think
  • Remember The Lesson Of Rebalancing
  • Section 529 Plans Keep Getting Better And Better
  • Three Ways You Can Play Good Stock Market Defense
  • When Can You Reconvert To A Roth?
  • 8 Compelling Tax Reasons For Roth IRA Conversion
  • Steer Clear Of These 7 Traps For IRA Owners
  • Make Sure That You Comply With All The RMD Rules
  • How A Financial Advisor Can Help
  • Rising Housing Prices May Be Sign That New Bubble Is Forming
  • After Five Great Years For Stocks, What's Next?
  • What Are Latest Trends In Prenups?
  • The Three Biggest Financial Mistakes That You Can Make
  • 4 Of The Main Reasons To Keep Your Bypass Trust
  • Seven Steps After A Spouse's Sudden Death
  • 7 Expired Tax Breaks That Were Given A Longer Life
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  • 14 Top Year-End Tax Moves For Individuals In 2014
  • Be An Elephant And Downplay Talk Of Bulls And Bears
  • Five Financial Vows For Newlyweds
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  • Ins And Outs Of Nondeductible IRAs
  • Identifying Investment Risk And Coping With It
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  • 2013 Was A Poor Year For Diversification
  • Risk Rose Slightly In January, But Has Decreased In February
  • Expenses And Behavior Are Key To Investment Success
  • Five-Year Returns Show Why Diversification Is Key
  • Where Can You Invest For Safety?
  • Perspective On Stock Market Trends
  • Find Extra Benefits In DI Insurance
  • Crash Course On Paying For College
  • A Realistic Look At A Hot Topic: Dividend Stocks
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  • Investors Flee Stocks At Precisely The Wrong Time
  • Take A Closer Look At Your RMDs
  • 10 Reasons For The IRS To Flag Your Return
  • Economic Growth Set To Slow Down Around The Globe
  • Where Will You Live After You Retire?
  • Muni Bonds May Show Gains As Tax Increases Approach
  • Two Investment Principles In Tandem
  • Is It Finally Time To Refinance?
  • Do You Understand Investments?
  • The Best Way To Gauge If The Market Is Overvalued
  • Should You Take Social Security Early Or Late?
  • Identity Theft In The New Year
  • Preserving Assets For Generations To Come
  • Managed Futures Mutual Fund Update
  • Give Away Gifts With No Gift Tax
  • Saving For Retirement
  • 21 Shocking But True Statistics About Retirement
  • Why You Shouldn't Do Your Own Estate Planning
  • Take The Time To Give Lifetime Gifts
  • What Does The Downgrade Of U.S. Debt Really Mean?
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  • Will The New Financial Reform Law Benefit You?
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  • It's NOT The Economy, Stupid!
  • Biggest Estate Tax Problem? Income Tax
  • The Ins And Outs Of Lifetime Gifting
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  • Identifying And Fixing The Global Economy's Woes
  • Uncle Sam Changes Financial Aid Rules
  • Retirees Eligible For Many Tax Cuts In Recovery Act
  • Funding College Savings Plans For A Grandchild
  • An Update On College Savings Plans
  • Five Smart IRA Ideas For Pre-Retirees
  • Does Your 529 College Savings Plan Match Up?
  • A Reverse Mortgage For Mom And Dad
  • Tax Pros And Cons Of Municipal Bonds
  • How The Bankruptcy Law Affects Wealthy Individuals
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  • The Roth 401(k) - Is It Right For You?
  • Planning Ahead A Couple Of Generations
  • Use FLPs To Transfer Assets And Cut Estate Taxes
  • What You Need To Know About The AMT In 2008
  • Coping With Estate Tax Uncertainties
  • Thinking of Remarrying? Think Prenup
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  • Beware Of Social Security Identity Theft
  • Regulatory Guidelines Update
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  • Don't Forget About Roth 401(k)
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  • Understanding the Importance of a Fiduciary Standard
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  • Ethanol: Salvation or Panacea?
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  • Bank Loan Funds - A Primer
  • The Dangers of Medical Identity Fraud
  • A Primer On Managed Futures
  • REITS: A Very Good Portfolio Diversifier, But Should You Invest In Them?
  • Does Investing Internationally Still Diversify Your Portfolio?
  • Another Way To View The Current Valuation Of REIT Sector
  • Understanding Risk-Preparing For The Unseen
  • Why Not Alternative Fixed Income Investments?
  • How Dangerous Is A Dollar Crash?
  • What Is Shorting Expense?
  • How Volatile Can The Stock Market Be?
  • GMO 7-Year Asset Class Return Forecast Is Bleak
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  • Total Credit Market Debt (All Sectors) As % Of U.S. GDP
  • To Reinvest Or Not To Reinvest
  • Just How Expensive Is The Market?
  • Beware of Brokerage Firms' Misconduct
  • Identity Theft : Correct Those Credit Reporting Errors
  • Risk-Controlled Investing
  • What Do Rising Interest Rates Mean For Money Market Yields?
  • Q & A With Robert Arnott
  • Identity Theft : Applying For Credit? Better Check Your Credit Report First
  • Identity Theft: Everyday Prevention
  • Identity Theft: Help Is On Its Way
  • Identity Theft: Tips to Protect Yourself
  • Identity Theft: A Note About Social Security Numbers
  • Identity Theft: What Documents Should You Shred Or Store?
  • Identity Theft : Don't Fall For That E-Mail!
  • Identity Theft : One More Reason To Protect Your Credit
  • Section 529 Plans Are Popular But Not The Only Way To Go
  • Exit Gracefully: How Business Owners Should Plan For A Comfortable Retirement
  • The Importance Of Commodities In A Portfolio
  • A Tale Of Two Hedges
  • What Is Risk?
  • How To Find A Great Financial Advisor?
  • Is It Time To Find A New Financial Advisor?
  • 4 Steps To A More Secure Investment Portfolio For Your Retirement
  • Traditional Investing May Decrease Your Retirement Lifestyle
  • Year-End Tax Planning Can Help Generate High Return On Investment
  • Is Your 401(k) Plan A Failure?
  • Understanding Deflation
  • Tax Issues To Consider When Buying A Long-Term-Care Policy
  • Evaluating The Quality Of A Company's Earnings
  • Investing In Times Of Uncertainty And Risk: The Importance Of Diversification
  • 2001 Tax Relief Act Changes Education Planning
  • Yesterday's Great Companies
  • A Retirement Plan Primer After The 2001 Tax Act
  • Beware Of Common Home Repair Scams
  • Custodial Accounts: One Way To Make Gifts To Children
  • Estate Taxes To Be Reduced Then Repealed In 2010
  • Faulty IRA Conversions Can Lead To Tax Penalties
  • Many Individuals Pay Private Mortgage Insurance Beyond When It Is Necessary
  • Rethinking Estate Planning
  • Retirement Plan Contribution Limit Changes
  • Shopping For A Bank Account That Pays The Highest Possible Rate Of Interest
  • Early Retirement Incentives For Tenured Faculty Waives Fica Tax Payment
  • Do It Yourself Tax Preparers Watch Out: Tax Answers From IRS Centers Oftentimes Are Incorrect And/Or Insufficient
  • Your Medical File Report May Need A Check-Up
  • Five Tips For Preventing Thefts From Your Checking Account
  • Home Office Deductions: Hoops To Jump Through
  • Income Tax Effect On Single And Married Taxpayers
  • Income Tax Planning For Investments
  • Property Tax Challenges Should Not Be Overlooked
  • The IRS Will Follow Your Wealth To The Ends Of The Earth
  • When Do You Need Life Insurance
  • REITs: A Great Diversification Investment
  • Bank Loan Funds: A Great Fixed Income Investment As Interest Rates Rise
  • Estate Tax Will Be Reduced Gradually, Then Repealed in 2010



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