Married couples have the choice of filing their taxes jointly or separately. What is the best option for you and your spouse? Generally, it is to file jointly but there are several factors to consider before making your choice.
Obviously, the first hurdle is that you have to be married. For tax purposes, you are considered married if you were married on the last day of the tax year, even if you are in the process of a divorce that has not yet been finalized. Joint filing status is not available to couples in civil unions or domestic partnerships.
Thanks to the Supreme Court, married same-sex couples must file their federal taxes jointly or as a married couple filing separately single status is not an option.
Assuming you meet the marriage criteria, how do you decide? Start by considering the disadvantages of filing separately and think of how many apply to your situation. Keep in mind that if you file separately, you and your spouse must choose to both take the standard deduction or both itemize you cannot take separate approaches.
Those are pretty powerful arguments to file jointly. However, there are a few reasons to consider filing separately.
If you are not sure, do a trial run of your taxes both ways. However, most couples will find filing jointly to be the simpler and most economical path. Keep coming back to MoneyTips to familiarize yourself with the tax law changes that will apply to your situation.
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Originally Posted at: https://www.moneytips.com/should-couples-file-taxes-jointly-or-separately
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