Joint Return Test


DEFINITION of 'Joint Return Test'

One of the tests administered by the IRS that potential dependents must pass in order to be claimed as such by another taxpayer. The joint return test stipulates that no dependent can file a joint return with a spouse and still be claimed as a dependent on someone else's return, such as that of a parent or guardian. There are, however, exceptions to this rule.

BREAKING DOWN 'Joint Return Test'

A taxpayer filing a joint return can be claimed as a dependent under two separate exceptions. One is when neither the dependent nor his or her spouse is required to file a tax return, except to claim a refund. The other is when neither the dependent nor his or her spouse would owe any tax if he or she were to file separately instead of jointly. In these cases, another taxpayer may claim this person as a dependent.

  1. Filing Status

    A category that defines the type of tax return form an individual ...
  2. Married Filing Jointly

    A filing status for married couples that have wed before the ...
  3. Joint Liability

    An obligation, including an obligation to repay a debt between ...
  4. Taxes

    An involuntary fee levied on corporations or individuals that ...
  5. W-2 Form

    The W-2 form reports an employee's annual wages and the amount ...
  6. Sales Tax

    A consumption tax imposed by the government on the sale of goods ...
Related Articles
  1. Taxes

    Before You Visit Your Tax Preparer: Do This

    The earlier you start preparing your tax records and documents, the more likely you are to have a smooth tax return experience – and all the tax benefits you're due.
  2. Taxes

    Happily Married? File Taxes Separately!

    Just because you are in love doesn't mean that a joint return is best for both of you.
  3. Taxes

    The Tax Benefits Of Having A Spouse

    Check out the perks designed to promote and preserve your post-work savings - if you're married, that is.
  4. Taxes

    The Purpose Of The W-9 Form

    The W-9 form provides key data your clients need if you're an independent contractor. Just be sure you're not really an employee who should fill out a W-4.
  5. Taxes

    10 Money-Saving Year-End Tax Tips

    Getting organized well before the deadline will curb your frustration and your tax liability.
  6. Taxes

    End-of-the-Year Checklist to Save on Income Taxes

    From grouping related expenses to factoring in the alternative minimum tax, here are some things you need to keep in mind when doing tax planning.
  7. Taxes

    When You Should Change Your Withholding Tax

    Paying attention to your W-4 form, and making adjustments when necessary, is an important way to make sure your tax withholdings are correct.
  8. Investing

    Carried Interest: A Loophole in America’s Tax Code

    With income inequality becoming an increasingly apparent problem in the U.S., it is time to start removing tax loopholes like carried interest.
  9. Taxes

    How To Calculate AGI For Tax Purposes

    The first step in completing your taxes is calculating your adjusted gross income. Here’s how.
  10. Economics

    Explaining Fair Market Value

    Fair market value is the price at which a buyer and seller are willing to exchange a good.
  1. Can I add my higher income spouse's name to my Roth IRA in order to raise our contribution ...

    IRS rules prevent you from maintaining joint Roth IRA accounts. However, you may accomplish your goal of contributing larger ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Does the IRS charge interest on penalties?

    The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) charges interest on any overdue taxes owed, but it does not charge interest on penalties. ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Are tax shelters legal in Canada?

    Most tax shelters are legal in Canada. However, there have been illegal tax shelter scams that the Canada Revenue Agency ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Can the IRS garnish your tax refund?

    Federal law states that only state and federal agencies, such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), are allowed to garnish ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What is a 409A nonqualified deferred compensation plan?

    A 409A nonqualified deferred compensation plan defers a portion of an employee's compensation to a future date. The compensation ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Do financial advisors prepare tax returns for clients?

    Financial advisors engage in a wide variety of financial areas, including tax return preparation and tax planning for their ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Barefoot Pilgrim

    A slang term for an unsophisticated investor who loses all of his or her wealth by trading equities in the stock market. ...
  2. Quick Ratio

    The quick ratio is an indicator of a company’s short-term liquidity. The quick ratio measures a company’s ability to meet ...
  3. Black Tuesday

    October 29, 1929, when the DJIA fell 12% - one of the largest one-day drops in stock market history. More than 16 million ...
  4. Black Monday

    October 19, 1987, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) lost almost 22% in a single day. That event marked the beginning ...
  5. Monetary Policy

    Monetary policy is the actions of a central bank, currency board or other regulatory committee that determine the size and ...
  6. Indemnity

    Indemnity is compensation for damages or loss. Indemnity in the legal sense may also refer to an exemption from liability ...
Trading Center