June is the month when lots of couples are saying "I do." But when it comes to filing a joint return, many opt to say "I don't."
True, opting to fill out your Form 1040 as married filing jointly is the preferred filing status for wedded couples. That's because in most cases, it produces the best tax results for husbands and wives.
The IRS notes in its Publication 501 that "if you and your spouse decide to file a joint return, your tax may be lower than your combined tax for the other filing statuses. Also, your standard deduction (if you do not itemize deductions) may be higher, and you may qualify for tax benefits that do not apply to other filing statuses."
Those are all very good reasons to file one 1040 as a couple.
But sometimes it makes more tax sense to send the IRS two tax returns, with husband and wife selecting the filing status of married filing separately.
Today's Weekly Tax Tip looks at the circumstances when it pays for married couples to file separately.
Things like excessive medical expenses for one spouse, extended family issues, business ownership complexities and just plain old suspicions about some tax claims a partner wants to make are all equally good reasons to file separate returns.
In deciding whether to send the IRS two 1040s instead of one, couples will need to figure their taxes both ways.
Yes, that will take more time. But it will be worth it to know for sure that you're completing your taxes using the filing status that best fits your marriage and tax situation.
- Married taxpayers: 56,372,881 by the numbers
- Madoffs, marriage and tax filing
- Tax to-do's after saying 'I do'
- Wedded tax bliss
- Weekly Tax Tips for 2011
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