Can I claim a personal exemption for my spouse?
While you cannot claim an exemption for your spouse as your dependent, you may be able to claim a personal exemption for them (in addition to your own personal exemption). To be entitled to claim a personal exemption for your spouse, the first requirement is that you have to have been married on the last day of the tax year. If you live in a state which recognizes common-law marriage, you meet this requirement if your state recognized you and your spouse as being in a common-law marriage as of the last day of the tax year.
After meeting this requirement, whether you can claim an exemption for your spouse depends, in part, on how you and your spouse are filing. If you are filing a joint return, you may claim an exemption for both yourself and your spouse. However, if you are married and filing separately, you can only claim a personal exemption for your spouse if your spouse had no gross income of their own, if your spouse is not filing a tax return and if your spouse cannot be claimed as the dependent of another taxpayer. Otherwise, your spouse should claim their own personal exemption on their tax return (unless they can be claimed as the dependent of another taxpayer, in which case they are not entitled to a personal exemption at all).