Some married couples assume they have to file their tax returns jointly. Others may
know they have a choice but not want to rock the boat by filing separately. The truth
is that there's no harm in at least considering your options every year.
Granted, married taxpayers who file jointly can take advantage of certain credits not
available to separate filers. They're also more likely to be able to make deductible
IRA contributions and less likely to be subject to the alternative minimum tax.
But there are circumstances under which filing separately may be a good idea. For
example, filing separately can save tax when one spouse's income is much higher than
the other's, and the spouse with lower income has miscellaneous itemized deductions
exceeding 2% of his or her adjusted gross income (AGI) or medical expenses exceeding
10% of his or her AGI - but jointly the couple's expenses wouldn't exceed the
applicable floor for their joint AGI. However, in community property states, income
and expenses generally must be split equally unless they're attributable to separate
Many factors play into the joint vs. separate filing decision. If you're interested in
learning more, please give us a call.
This publication is distributed with the understanding that the author, publisher and
distributor are not rendering legal, accounting or other professional advice or
opinions on specific facts or matters, and, accordingly, assume no liability
whatsoever in connection with its use. The information contained in this newsletter
was not intended or written to be used and cannot be used for the purpose of (1)
avoiding tax-related penalties prescribed by the Internal Revenue Code or (2)
promoting or marketing any tax-related matter addressed herein. © 2016