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Day 2: Examine exemptions
Today we focus on claiming exemptions, dependents and a wide variety of adjustments to income.
First, your exemptions: On your 2016 return, you can take $4,050 off the top for each person you claim as an exemption. That's generally you, your spouse and any dependents, which usually means your kids. But if you cared for a parent, even one who didn't live in your home, you may be able to claim an exemption for that person, too.
You'll need the Social Security numbers of all your dependents. Without those nine digits, the IRS will disallow the claim.
Next, there are some expenses eligible taxpayers can claim directly on the Form 1040 tax return or, to a lesser degree, the 1040A. These are known as adjustments to income or above-the-line deductions and include -- to name just a few -- certain IRA contributions, student loan interest, alimony payments and moving costs.
Take a few minutes to check out the complete income adjustments list, and note which ones apply to you. That's it. You're done for today.