Video:Facts About Married Filing Separatelywith William Perez
If you're under the status of married filing separately, learn about how this impacts your taxes.See Transcript
Transcript:Facts About Married Filing SeparatelyMarried taxpayers can choose between filing a joint tax return or a separate tax return.
Information About Married Filing SeparatelyThe married filing separately (or MFS) filing status is generally perceived as the least beneficial of all the filing statuses. That's because MFS taxpayers are not eligible to claim the tax benefits like tuition and fees deduction, student loan interest deduction, tax-free exclusion of US bond interest, tax-free exclusion of Social Security Benefits, credit for the Elderly and Disabled, child and Dependent Care Credit, earned Income Credit, and Hope or Lifetime Learning Educational Credits.
Facts About Married Filing SeparatelyThey also have lower income phase-out ranges for the IRA deduction. Additionally, one MFS taxpayer cannot claim the standard deduction if the other spouse is itemizing. Benefit of Filing Separately Separation of Tax Liabilities: By filing a separate return, the taxpayer is solely responsible for the accuracy and payment of tax related to that separate return. A spouse who is unwilling to assume legal and financial responsibility for the other spouse's tax obligations should strongly consider filing separately.
Married but Filing Separately as Head of Household: Married taxpayers may be eligible to file using the Head of Household filing status if your spouse did not live with you during the last six months of the year and your home was the main home of your child for more than half the year.
Reporting Community Property: Couples where one or both spouses reside in a community property state will need to follow special rules for allocating income and deductions. Community property is considered to be jointly owned by both spouses. Accordingly, each spouse generally reports half of the total community property income on his or her separate tax return. Similarly, community property deductions are split in half, with each spouse reporting half the deduction on their separate return.
Filing Jointly Requires Mutual Consent: Married couples who want to file jointly will need to both sign the jointly filed tax return. Sometimes, one spouse is unable or unwilling to sign the joint return. In that case, the spouses will need to file separately.
Time Frame for Deciding to File Jointly or Separately: Married couples can decide to file either jointly or separately when they file an original return for a particular year. Couples can change their mind and switch from two separate returns to a single joint return within three years from the due date of the original return. However, couples can change their mind and switch from a joint return to two separate returns only by the April 15th deadline. To change your filing status, you will need to submit an amended tax return.
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