Can Married Same-Sex Couples Claim Their Spouse as a Dependent?

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Couples in same-sex marriages have been able to file federal taxes as married since 2013, but questions still arise.

Here’s a recent question from a reader: if I’m in a same-sex marriage, can I claim my spouse as a dependent?

The answer to this question is: no.

If you’re married, you file as married. Your spouse is never shown as being a dependent.

Let’s say your spouse has no income and otherwise qualifies as a dependent (except that you’re married). Under those circumstances, you’d almost certainly file a joint tax return. Your spouse wouldn’t be your “dependent,” but you’d get a personal exemption for your spouse, which is basically the same result as claiming a dependent.

I’ve written extensively about the tax issues of same-sex marriage. You can find the archive, dating back a good 5 years, by clicking here.