- Days left
Almost all married taxpayers will get the best results if they file their tax return jointly. There are very few situations in which filing separately makes sense, and it almost always costs the taxpayers more money to do so. The two most common situations in which it makes sense to file separately:

  • You and your spouse are in the process of divorcing, and are legally separated. If you don't trust one another, it may make sense to file separately, limiting your tax liability to only the items for which each of you are legally responsible. If you can't seem to cooperate long enough to prepare and file a joint tax return, it probably also makes sense to file separately. If one party is completely non-compliant when it comes to filing tax returns, the other spouse is better off filing a separate return in order to meet her or his obligations regardless of what the other spouse does.
  • It may make sense to file separately if both spouses are itemizing deductions and one has high medical expenses compared to her or his income. Medical deductions are only deductible if they exceed 7.5% of income, and a spouse with low income and high medical expense may therefore benefit from filing separately.
Couples who are married and file separately almost always pay more tax than if they would have filed jointly, so keep that in mind when deciding whether to file jointly or separately.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Economics 101

Intro to economics. But fun.

View Course »

Basics Of The Stock Market

Stock Market 101 - everything you need to know but were afraid to ask!

View Course »

TurboTax Articles

Employer Sponsored Health Coverage Explained

The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is simpler than some people may give it credit for. The basic rule to remember is that everyone must carry Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) or pay a penalty. Employers with 50 full-time employees or more are obligated to sponsor plans for their workers to help them meet this requirement.

How to Report RSUs or Stock Grants on Your Tax Return

Restricted stock units (RSUs) and stock grants are often used by companies to reward their employees with an investment in the company rather than with cash. As the name implies, RSUs have rules as to when they can be sold. Stock grants often carry restrictions as well. How your stock grant is delivered to you, and whether or not it is vested, are the key factors when determining tax treatment.

What is a Schedule Q Form?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has two very different forms that go by the name Schedule Q. One of them is for people who participate in certain real estate investments; this is known as a Form 1066 Schedule Q. The other Schedule Q deals with employer benefit plans. It?s not something an individual taxpayer would normally have to deal with, though a small business owner might need it.

Incentive Stock Options

Some employers use Incentive Stock Options (ISOs) as a way to attract and retain employees. While ISOs can offer a valuable opportunity to participate in your company's growth and profits, there are tax implications you should be aware of. We'll help you understand ISOs and fill you in on important timetables that affect your tax liability, so you can optimize the value of your ISOs.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum