Who Should File Tax Return As Married Filing Separately?

Taxpayers who are considered married for any given tax year must choose whether to file married filing jointly or married filing separately. For most taxpayers, the most beneficial choice is to file a joint return, but depending on your tax situation, filing separate returns could prove beneficial.

If you choose to file a joint return, both you and your spouse are held responsible for the accuracy of the income, credits and deductions listed on your joint return. In addition, you are both held responsible, jointly and separately, for any tax, interest or penalties due as a result of the return. If your spouse owes a federal or state debt such as child support, state taxes or federal taxes, then the refund is applied to any debt owed.

Married filing separately is beneficial for married couples who desire to keep their tax records separate. If you file a separate return, your spouse is responsible for his taxes and you are responsible for your own. There is no joint responsibility or co-mingling of tax accounts; you report only your own income, tax, credits, deductions and losses.

Filing separate returns is advantageous for couples who have complex tax situations. For example, a spouse who owes a tax debt may not wish that his spouse take joint responsibility for that debt. A separate return may also be beneficial if, based on one spouse’s tax situation, she would receive a refund were it not for the other spouse’s tax situation. For instance, if one spouse is a business owner and will not receive a refund because there were not enough estimated taxes paid, and his spouse is a teacher who is eligible for a refund, then the teacher may choose to file a separate return.

If you file separate returns, then you are forbidden from claiming a variety of credits on your income tax return. For example, separate filers are prohibited from claiming the American Opportunity Credit, Lifetime Learning Credit, Earned Income Credit and a variety of other credits. In addition, the standard deduction for separate filers is less than the standard deduction for joint and head of household filers.

For the purpose of taxation, you and your spouse are considered married if you and your spouse are married and living together, are living in a common law marriage, are married and living apart but not legally separated or divorced, or you are separated but your divorce is not final. If you meet this criteria on the last day of the tax year, then you are considered married.


Should a Married Couple File Jointly or Separately?

Married filing jointly or married filing separately

Currently, married couples file jointly because they owe less tax that way and will receive a bigger refund. Their tax rate will be lower, and their standard deduction larger, than if they file separately. The paperwork is also very straightforward. Young couples that meet certain criteria might even be able to use Form 1040EZ, which is only a single page. Most married couples, however, will have to use either Form 1040 or Form 1040A, depending on circumstances.

If a same-sex couple were married in a jurisdiction that allows such marriages, that couple can file jointly even if the jurisdiction where they currently live does not recognize their marriage. The law also covers both domestic entities that are not states, such as United States territories, and foreign countries that sanction same-sex marriages. The stipulation for common-law couples is similar. The only difference is that the state where they now reside must recognize common-law marriages.

Couples should carefully consider why they want to file separately rather than file jointly. There are reasons, and they may include being divorced, if one spouse is unsure that the other is reporting all applicable income, if one spouse doesn't want to be responsible for the other's tax debt, if one spouse has excessive medical expenses or the couple's situation is one of the rare cases where its refund will be greater than when filing a joint return.

When one spouse has a significant amount of unreimbursed out-of-pocket medical expenses, filing separately can sometime actually help the couple to save money. This is because the IRS allows you to only deduct for medical expenses if they exceed 10% of adjusted gross income (AGI). Therefore, if one of the filers has medical expenses which exceed 10% of their AGI but the couples collective medical expenses do not exceed 10%, filing separately may be beneficial in order to claim this deduction.

Filing separately might also be a better option when one spouse owes back taxes to the IRS. If the spouses file jointly, the spouse without the debt becomes responsible for what his or other significant other owes. Therefore, if they would otherwise be due a tax refund, filing jointly would cause the refund to be applied to the other spouse's debt.

There are many things that no longer apply if the couple files separately. These include child and dependent care credits, the earned income credit, the exclusion credit for adoption, in most cases, and the deducting of bond interest.

Furthermore, there are certain common deductions that only count half as much as they do when filing a joint return. These include child tax credits, personal exemption deductions, itemized deductions, credits for retirement savings, capital loss deductions and the standard deduction.

Couples should also remember that they cannot take the standard deduction if one of them itemizes deductions. Couples who file separately and also have rental income can only deduct half of the standard amount that helps cover rental property losses, namely $12,500 instead of $25,000. In the states of Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin, couples who file separately might have their incomes classified as community income. IRS Publication 555 covers community income in detail. In short, the community property provision states that even though each spouse submits income earned on each of the separate forms that is filed, each spouse must also report all income earned while married during the year in question.

Can a Return That has Already Been Filed Be Changed From One Type to Another?

In short, yes. Couples who wish to change from separate to joint may file Form 1040X within a period of three years from the original date of filing. Couples switching from filing separately to jointly, such as a situation where one spouse dies during the year, have one year to file the amended return as stipulated in Publication 559.

If one spouse files separately, that person has the option of being the "head of household." To qualify for this option, that person must pay more than or equal to half the upkeep of the home in question, be unmarried on December 31 of the year in question, be living with someone who is not his or her parent for 183 or more days during the year in question or be responsible for a dependent parent, live-in or not.

To be considered unmarried for filing as "head of household," the person must meet all of the following criteria in addition to the criteria for filing "head of household" in the first place. The person's spouse must not have lived with the filer for more than 182 days in the year in question, the person's child, or children, live with the person and the person must be eligible to claim the child, or children, as a tax exemption, or exemptions.

Note that the person might not have to claim the child, or children, as exemptions if the noncustodial parent has already claimed them as exemptions on another return. Anyone married to a foreign national who is a nonresident alien cannot claim that spouse as a qualifying person to file as "head of household" and would need another qualifying person. Choosing to recognize one's spouse as a resident alien classifies a taxpayer as married, which means "head of household" is no longer applicable. People file as "head of household" when they qualify because they're allowed greater exemptions and will receive a larger return than if they file as single or married filing separately.


married filing jointly or married filing separately

You may be able to file as head of household if you meet all the following requirements.

You are unmarried or “ considered unmarried ” on the last day of the year. See Marital Status , earlier, and Considered Unmarried , later.

You paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home for the year.

A qualifying person lived with you in the home for more than half the year (except for temporary absences, such as school). However, if the qualifying person is your dependent parent, he or she doesn't have to live with you. See Special rule for parent , later, under Qualifying Person .

Married filing jointly or married filing separately

To qualify for head of household status, you must be either unmarried or considered unmarried on the last day of the year. You are considered unmarried on the last day of the tax year if you meet all the following tests.

You file a separate return. A separate return includes a return claiming married filing separately, single, or head of household filing status.

You paid more than half the cost of keeping up your home for the tax year.

Your spouse didn't live in your home during the last 6 months of the tax year. Your spouse is considered to live in your home even if he or she is temporarily absent due to special circumstances. See Temporary absences , under Qualifying Person , later.

Your home was the main home of your child, stepchild, or foster child for more than half the year. (See Home of qualifying person , under Qualifying Person , later, for rules applying to a child's birth, death, or temporary absence during the year.)

You must be able to claim an exemption for the child. However, you meet this test if you can’t claim the exemption only because the noncustodial parent can claim the child using the rules described in Children of divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart) under Qualifying Child in chapter 3, or referred to in Support Test for Children of Divorced or Separated Parents (or Parents Who Live Apart) under Qualifying Relative in chapter 3. The general rules for claiming an exemption for a dependent are explained under Exemptions for Dependents in chapter 3.


Married to Illegal Immigrant - Should We File Jointly or Separately

Married filing jointly or married filing separately

civma said: 02-14-2009 02:35 PM

Married filing jointly or married filing separatelyMarried to Illegal Immigrant - Should We File Jointly or Separately

1)Should I file my tax return as "married jointly" or "married filing separately"?

Married filing jointly or married filing separately

jk said: 02-14-2009 08:16 PM

Married filing jointly or married filing separatelyRe: Married to Illegal Immigrant-File Jointly or Separately

Married filing jointly or married filing separately

Married filing jointly or married filing separatelyRe: Married to Illegal Immigrant-File Jointly or Separately

Married filing jointly or married filing separately

Married filing jointly or married filing separatelyRe: Married to Illegal Immigrant-File Jointly or Separately

Married filing jointly or married filing separately

Married filing jointly or married filing separatelyRe: Married to Illegal Immigrant-File Jointly or Separately

2)Can we actually declare that she doesn't have income at all so I can get a refund? - by filing married and be the only one making money

Married filing jointly or married filing separately

Married filing jointly or married filing separatelyRe: Married to Illegal Immigrant-File Jointly or Separately

1. their tax years begin on the same date,

2. they are not legally seperated under a decree of divorce or seperate maintenance on the last day of the tax year, AND

3. NEITHER IS A NONRESIDENT ALIEN at ANYTIME during the year.

Married filing jointly or married filing separately

Married filing jointly or married filing separatelyRe: Married to Illegal Immigrant-File Jointly or Separately

Married filing jointly or married filing separately

Married filing jointly or married filing separatelyRe: Married to Illegal Immigrant-File Jointly or Separately

1. their tax years begin on the same date,

2. they are not legally seperated under a decree of divorce or seperate maintenance on the last day of the tax year, AND

3. NEITHER IS A NONRESIDENT ALIEN at ANYTIME during the year.

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eTax.com "Married, Filing Jointly" or "Married, Filing Separately."

Married filing jointly or married filing separately Married filing jointly or married filing separately

http://www.etax.com Legally married couples may choose to file their taxes together, under the "Married, Filing Jointly" status, or may choose "Married, Filing Separately." Generally, the Married, Filing Separately status is less convenient and offers fewer tax benefits, but there are some instances in which this choice may be beneficial. Some choose to file separately for state tax reasons, or if the spouse with the lower income can qualify for tax breaks such as the medical expense deduction -- breaks that are not available with the couple's higher combined income. If you file Married Filing Separately, you will be ineligible to claim a number of different tax benefits, including: - Student loan interest deduction - Credit for Elderly and Disabled - Child and Dependent Care Credit - Earned Income Credit - Lifetime Learning Educational Credit - American Opportunity Credit When married couples file their taxes separately, both spouses must either itemize deductions or take the standard deduction -- they may not file both ways. For the current tax year, a married person filing separately can claim a standard deduction of $6,200. Some couples file separately because they don't want to assume legal and financial responsibility for each other's tax obligations. If you file a joint return, the IRS can pursue either spouse for any amount of taxes owed, no matter who had the income. If you suspect that your spouse may owe from evading past taxes, you may want to file a separate return. By filing separately, you will avoid liability for such unpaid taxes, penalties and interest.

Gary Richardson: Ripp off company. I filed in 2014 and they cost me $1740.00. When I called they told me I was on my own and to file an amendment to their shoddy work.

Abner: Example, If my income is much larger than my wife's income by

comparison, I will fall into a higher tax bracket, therefore I have to

pay more in taxes, that is clear, but lets say I made 50K a year and my

wife only made 10k a year part-time at subway, if we file jointly, then,

my wife's 10k annual income will get taxed at my "higher tax bracket"

due to my already higher income! So will my wife save money and benefit

by filing "married but filing separately" due to her much lower tax

bracket she will fall into? Is this another good reason to file

separately? In other words, when she files "married but filing

separately" will she avoid paying more money in taxes by falling under a

10% tax bracket due to her low income.

eTax.com Filing Status for Divorced

Married filing jointly or married filing separately

http://www.etax.com Once you get divorced, your taxes will change dramatically, as well as which status you use and the credits you are eligible for. If you are .

Tax Tips - Married Filing Jointly vs Married Filing Separately

Married filing jointly or married filing separately

"Welcome to Torchlight Tax Tips! Another in the series of short videos dedicated to educating people on how to save money by doing their taxes the right way!

Should you file Married Filing Joint or Married Fioling Seperate?

Married filing jointly or married filing separately

This is a common question especially if you're a newly married couple by the dec 31st. As a general rule of thumb MFJ will normally yield the lowest taxes, but a .

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Married filing jointly or married filing separately

eTax.com Married Filing Separately And Student Loans

Married filing jointly or married filing separately

https://www.etax.com/ Filing a joint return is generally simpler for couples, and most of the time will produce a lower tax bill than if the couples filed their returns .

Married Filing Jointly vs. Married Filing Separately -- Getting to Know Your Taxes

Married filing jointly or married filing separately

Learn the advantages and disadvantages of each filing status. That way, you and your spouse can choose the best option. Brought to you by The Tax Institute.

US Taxes: Married Filing Joint or Married Filing Separately?

Married filing jointly or married filing separately

http://bit.ly/US-Taxes-For-Married-Couples - get the full video course for only $49. Married Filing Joint or Married Filing Separately? Which filing status should .

Should a Married Couple File Jointly or Separately? TurboTax Tax Tip Video