Exemptions On Taxes: Tax Exemption Explained!

tax exemptions, personal exemptions, how to claim exemptions on taxes, and examples
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You might have been paying a lot of tax every year, and you do hear people talk about how to claim personal exemptions on taxes and deductions. Well, an exemption is a kind of privilege that can lower your tax budget and put more money back in your wallet. It is an exclusion. This means that certain kinds of income are exempt from tax and will not contribute to your taxable income. A tax deduction simply takes your whole tax income and reduces it. It is just a subtraction from the due total amount to reduce your taxable income. In the US, someone might wonder how much is exempted from tax and the process. As we go further, I will help you understand more about tax exemptions, personal exemptions, how to claim exemptions on taxes, and examples.

What are Exemptions on Taxes?

Exemptions on taxes are rights the government gives to people eligible to pay tax so that they can exclude all or part of their payable income tax bills. Tax-exempt is an amount the IRS lets you subtract from your income to reflect all the people who depend on your income (also known as your dependents). You can claim exemptions on tax for yourself, your spouse, and your dependents. Non-profit organizations such as charities, religious organizations, and human welfare organizations do get tax exemptions from governments.

However, your exemption amount includes your dependents, and it is in addition to any tax deductions, either standard or itemized, that you can claim in your tax return.

What Are Personal Exemptions on Taxes?

This is the right of the federal government to tax anyone taxable, which excludes him or her from paying all or part of his or her income tax. provided that he or she is not being claimed as a dependent by another. A personal exemption for each spouse is available to married taxpayers who file joint returns. whereas the US government’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allows taxpayers to take additional exemptions for each dependent they claim. These dependents can be elderly parents who are not working, children who are under 17 years old or under 24 but in full-time study, and cannot provide half of their financial support.

However, to claim personal exemptions on taxes, you must file a tax return. You can also claim a personal exemption from tax if you do not meet the requirements for paying tax with your gross income over the filing limit and no one else can claim you as a dependent.

Furthermore, there is an exemption fee for personal exemptions based on the taxpayer’s income with dependent claims and these fees are being affected and adjusted yearly due to inflation. 


To understand how it works for instance, if a businessman A, earns $340,000 as total income. 

Particulars Amounts $
Total income$340,000
3 children under 17yrs (exemption)-$6,000
2 old parents (exemption)-$1,000
Charity (deductible)-$1,000
Loss due to disaster (deductible)-$3,000
Dependent school fees (deductible)-$30,000
Total = -$41,000
Total income – deducted  (taxable income)$299,000
Taxable income $299,000
Marginal rate24%
Eligible charge(24% *$299,000)
Tax charge for A$71,000

The table above explains the taxable income of a businessman A.

Income Tax Bracket

The US government provides several income tax brackets for all taxpayers with marginal rates such as 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35%, and 37%. This bracket shows the income limit and the rate as applicable to each income. The government will charge you based on the portion under which your income falls.

Source: SmartAsset
Source: SmartAsset

How to Claim Exemptions on Taxes

The US government provides taxpayers with a form called W-4, which is officially known as an employee’s withholding certificate, whereby, under steps 3 & 4 (C) of the form, one can easily claim personal exemptions on taxes from the federal government. Moreover, to claim personal exemptions on taxes, the W-4 must be filled out on the first day of work, which is valid for 1 year and can be reclaimed yearly.

One might be exempt from federal income tax only if he/she does not withhold any federal income tax from his/her employee’s salary. Moreover, an exemption is possible if he/she had no federal income tax liability in the previous year and expects to have no federal income tax liability in the current year. 

However, it is also possible to claim personal exemptions on taxes, which are based on withholding, and your exemption from withholding will be computed based on your filing status’s standard deduction and tax rates. The IRS allows a certain amount for each exemption as well as deductions. The total amount is then qualified for what is subtracted from your adjusted gross income (AGI) to arrive at your final low earnings amount, based on which you and the IRS will determine your appropriate tax bill for the year. Married taxpayers filing separate returns, on the other hand, can only claim an exemption for their spouse in limited circumstances. The exempted amount is a fixed amount that increases yearly. 

Meanwhile, exemptions from withholding do expire yearly. Every employee claiming exemptions from withholding on Form W-4 must collect a new form every February 15 so that he or she can update his or her status on withholdings.

How To Fill Out The W-4 Form (Employee’s Withholding Certificate)

First, you are supposed to be provided with this form by your employer.

Meanwhile, it would be best if you could get this form and check it out as we explain the steps. Also, note that the form was updated and the changes are significant. This form consists of 4 pages.

#1. Page 1

It consists of five steps, and only steps 1 and 5 are compulsory; the rest are optional. We are going to take it to step by step.

Step 1

You are to fill in personal information about yourself and it is compulsory. It is divided into 3 sections a, b and c.

  • It provides a space for your first name, middle initial, last name, home address, city, and zip code.
  • It contains a space for a security number and does make sure that the name provided matches the name on the social security card. A phone number for the social security agency (SSA) is provided below in case you need to confirm if your name matches that on the security card. 
  • Asks you to check your filing status and if you are not sure of it. Then you can always refer to your prior tax return and check one out of the three available boxes.
    • Check the first box. If you are single or married, file separately. 
    • Check the second box if you are married, filing jointly or a qualifying widow(er).
    • Check the third box if you are the head of household (note: check 3 only if you’re unmarried and pay more than half the cost of keeping up a home for yourself and a qualifying individual).

Step 2

You are to fill out this step only If you hold more than one job at a time or you are married and filing jointly and your spouse also works. The correct amount of withholding depends on the income earned from all of these jobs. Meanwhile, This step is optional as it only applies to persons under the listed obligations. So, if you checked “single or married filing separately” then don’t fill steps 2, 3, and 4

To fill this, you will have to use

  • The estimator is at www.irs.gov/w4app because it is the most accurate withholding calculator.
  • The multiple job worksheet is on page 3 and then enter the result in step 4(C) below.
  • Check the box if there are only two jobs in total, but ensure to do the same on Form W-4 for the other job (note: you can use this method if you have two jobs that pay similar pay. For example, one job pays $85,000 and the other pays $80,000. If it were not that similar, more tax than necessary might be withheld. Also, your spouse has to check the box on her W-4 form.

Step 3

This is where you claim exemptions for your dependents. It says “If your total income will be $200,000 or less ($400,000 or less if married filing jointly)”. For example, if you have only 3 children that are under the age of 17, then the first bracket, which says “Multiply the number of qualifying children under age 17 by $2,000″, should be filled with $6,000, which is 3*$2000. If not, fill in zero.

Then, if you have other dependents like your grandparents who are not working, children who are over the age of 17, etc., Multiply their numbers by $500 and fill in their total amount. If not, fill in zero.

Step 4

  1. You are to enter the total amount of any other income you make that is not from jobs. If you want tax withheld for other income, you expect that year to not have withholding, which can be interest, dividends, rental income, lottery wins, alimony, and retirement income (1099R).
  2. This is the part where you claim a tax deduction. If you expect to claim deductions other than the standard deduction and you want to reduce your withholding. Then you will have to use the Deductions Worksheet on page 3 and enter the result on the space provided.

Step 5

It contains the information and instructions necessary to fill in the information needed in steps 2,3 & 4 on page 1

What Is Tax Deduction?

Tax deduction might sound similar to tax exemption, but it simply takes your whole tax income and reduces it. It is a subtraction from the due total amount to reduce your taxable income. Tax deductions can save you heaps of money, but they can be complicated at times. So it’s advisable to consult your accountant or tax advisor to better understand your conditions and ensure you’re claiming the appropriate deductions. For example, if your income tax for a year is $20,000 and you have a $16,000 deduction. Then your $16,000 will be multiplied by your marginal rate to get your final deduction.

Deductions are good for reducing your taxes but not as good as tax credits.

Tax Credit

It is being granted by the government to individuals or organizations for special purposes or for behavior that is considered beneficial to the economy. It reduces your income tax dollar for dollar. Tax credits generally save you more money in taxes than deductions. For example, if your taxable income is $40,000 and you have $8,000 in deductions, which reduces your taxable income to $32,000. If that $8,000 would have been taxed at a rate of 25 percent, then the deduction saves you $2,000 in tax. If the $8,000 was a tax credit, your tax savings is $8,000.

Types of Deduction

Now there are two types of deduction,

  • Standard
  • Itemized

#1. Standard Deduction

This is a certain amount of income that any taxpayer doesn’t have to pay any income taxes on. For federal income tax purposes, there is a certain threshold of income for a taxpayer that they don’t have to pay any taxes on. 

#2. Itemized Deduction

This is a type of deduction that allows you to subtract certain expenses made within the year from your income tax. However, you can claim a deduction or reduce your withholding in step 4 on the w-4 form. Such deductions may include qualifying home mortgage interest, charitable contributions, state and local taxes (up to $10,000), and medical expenses above 7.5% of your income. Meanwhile, the W-4 (form 1040) allows you to enter an estimate of your one-year itemized deductions.

Tax filing statusdeduction
Married, filing separately$12,950
Head of house$19,400
Married, filing jointly$25,950
2023 standard deduction 

From the above table, you can see the status and the standard deductions available for each of them.

For example, if a Head of a house makes $50,000 as income in a year then he will only pay $24,050 as income tax.

Here you can see that the standard deduction does not amount to the amount that you are not going to pay because for a single, you are not paying $12,950 from your yearly income.

Taxable Incomes (Earned) 

Salary or wages from business or work

Taxable Unearned

  1. Interest income(savings)
  2. stocks dividends
  3. Rental income
  4. Lottery wins
  5. Alimony

Non-taxable Incomes

  1. Gifts and inheritances
  2. Insurance proceeds
  3. Sickness and injury payments
  4. Welfare payments and food stamps
  5. Child support
  6. Work compensation

What Is the Difference Between Personal Exemption and Dependency Exemption?

A personal exemption applies to you and your spouse. While, A dependent exemption applies to your children and other qualifying relatives whom you support.

How Many Tax Allowance Should I Claim ?

Choosing 0 on form W-4, you are agreeing that the bulk of amount be taken away from your paycheck as tax. However in choosing 1, less amount of tax will be taken from your paycheck.

What Are Tax Exempt Organizations?

  • Religious bodies
  • Churches
  • Schools
  • Charity organizations
  • Private foundations

What Are the Benefits of Tax Exemption?

The most common benefit gained from tax exemption is the reduction in tax payable.

Types of Property Tax Exemptions Are?

  • Homestead
  • Age and disability
  • Public service

What Is Double Dipping?

Taking one tax exemption does not stop a person from taking others. Double dipping means that you can apply for more than one tax exemptions.

What Are Personal Exemptions on Taxes?

This is the amount to be deducted from the total taxable income. For example, student loan interest deduction. Also, filling and submitting the W-4 form is one way to claim exemptions on taxes, especially the personal exemptions.


The federal income tax merits critical examination from time to time because the tax itself is the country’s biggest source of governmental revenue. However, tax exemption and deduction are rights given to you by the government to reduce your yearly income.

Exemptions on Taxes FAQs

What is the benefit of tax exemption?

It exempts you from paying much in taxes and allows you to minus certain expenses made within the year from your income tax.

What is personal exemption?

This is the right of the federal government to anyone taxable that excludes him from paying all or part of his or her income tax. provided that he or she is not being claimed as a dependent by another.

What does exemptions mean on taxes?

Exemptions on taxes are rights the government gives to people eligible to pay tax so that they can exclude all or part of their payable income tax bills. Non-profit organizations such as charities, religious, and human welfare organizations do get tax exemptions from the government.

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