Can a Married Person File Taxes Separately?

When it comes to filing taxes as a married couple, there are two options: filing jointly or separately.

Married Filing Separately

While filing jointly is the most common and straightforward option, there are times when filing separately may be a better choice.

In this article, we’ll explore what it means to file taxes separately as a married couple and when it might make sense to do so.

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What does it mean to file taxes separately?

Filing taxes separately means that each spouse files their own individual tax return. This means that each spouse is responsible for reporting their own income, deductions, and credits. The IRS refers to this as “married filing separately” status.

Why would a married couple want to file separately?

There are several reasons why a married couple might want to file separately. Here are a few:

1. One spouse has a high amount of medical expenses: If one spouse has a significant amount of medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of their adjusted gross income, it may make sense for them to file separately. By doing so, they may be able to deduct more of their medical expenses on their tax return.

2. One spouse has a lot of deductions: If one spouse has a lot of deductions that are subject to a certain percentage of their adjusted gross income, such as charitable contributions or miscellaneous expenses, it may make sense for them to file separately. By doing so, they may be able to deduct more of these expenses on their tax return.

3. One spouse has a high amount of income: If one spouse has a significantly higher income than the other, filing separately may help them avoid being bumped into a higher tax bracket. This could result in a lower overall tax bill for the couple.

4. One spouse has outstanding tax debt: If one spouse has outstanding tax debt, filing separately may help protect the other spouse from being held liable for that debt.

What are the downsides of filing separately?

While there are some situations where filing separately may make sense, there are also some downsides to consider:

1. You can’t claim certain tax credits: When you file separately, you are not eligible for certain tax credits, such as the earned income tax credit or the child and dependent care credit.

2. You may miss out on other tax benefits: Filing separately may also mean missing out on other tax benefits, such as the ability to contribute to a Roth IRA or deduct student loan interest.

3. It can be more complicated: Filing separately can be more complicated and time-consuming than filing jointly. Each spouse must complete their own tax return and may need to consult with a tax professional to ensure they are doing everything correctly.

4. You may pay more in taxes: In some cases, filing separately can result in a higher overall tax bill for the couple. This is because certain deductions and credits are reduced or eliminated when you file separately, and the tax brackets for married filing separately are not as favorable as those for married filing jointly.

There are times when filing separately may make more sense

When filing taxes, jointly is the most common and straightforward option for married couples, there are times when filing separately may make more sense.

If you’re considering filing separately, be sure to weigh the pros and cons carefully and consult with a tax professional to ensure you’re making the best decision for your specific situation.

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