All About Numbers

Accounting, taxes, and more. Your financial questions answered.

Married Filing: Joint vs Separate

Married Filing: Joint vs Separate

Married couples can file their federal income taxes jointly or separately. When you file a joint tax return, both you and your spouse report your income, deductions, credits, and exemptions on the same tax return. This also means that you are both responsible for each other's tax liability. Even if you reported no income on the return, you will be responsible for any tax, penalties, or interest on the return. By filing jointly, each spouse is 100% liable for any mistakes or unreported income, regardless of who had the income.

As an incentive for couples to file joint tax returns, the IRS offers tax breaks to those who file together. Joint filers can take one of the largest standard deductions each year and deduct a significant amount of their income immediately. Couples who file jointly may also qualify for multiple tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit.

When you file a separate tax return, you and your spouse report your income, deductions, credits, and exemptions on separate tax returns. Filing separately means that you are only responsible for your own individual tax liability, and will not be responsible for any tax, penalties, or interest from your spouse's tax return.

Couples who file separately receive few tax considerations, and the standard deduction for separate filers is much less than the deduction for joint filers. In some situations, filing separately could help you save on your tax return—if you or your spouse has a large amount of out-of-pocket medical expenses to claim, filing separate returns may allow you to claim more of your available medical deductions.

While 95% of married couples file joint tax returns, filing jointly may not be the best filing status for every couple. If you or your spouse has any current or past legal, tax, or credit problems, separate filings can help you avoid headaches at tax time. Filing separate returns also helps keep your property and assets separate, which is a good idea if one spouse has many more assets than the other, or if divorce is a possibility in the near future. Consider the pros and cons of each status, and decide if joint or separate returns are better for you and your spouse.

Your Guide to Taxpayer Identity Theft
Donations and Your Taxes

Related Posts

 

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Guest
Monday, 18 December 2017

Login to your Office Tools Account

Access your All About Numbers Client Portal

All About Numbers

4512 Feather River Drive, Suite G
Stockton, CA 95219

(209) 955-2244

info@allaboutnumbers.com

Contact All About Numbers

Hours of Operation

Tax Season Hours
Jan 15 thru April 15
Monday – Saturday, 8am-8pm

Regular Hours
Monday – Thursday, 8:30am-5pm

Leave us a Review

Had a great experience with All About Numbers?
We'd appreciate a review!

Google   Yelp!   Manta

Website Contents © Adding Sense to Your Dollars, Inc, dba All About Numbers
Unauthorized duplication or reposting of the contents of this site in any form is strictly prohibited.

Stockton Website Design by Brentwood Visual

Read our Privacy Policy