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Married? Should You File Jointly Or Separately

Married? Should You File Jointly Or Separately

February 10, 2021
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Some big changes come with getting married, and that includes your taxes. For the first time, you have the option to file jointly or separately. How romantic!

While the IRS recommends that married couples file jointly, there are some occasions where it could be beneficial for you and your partner to submit separate tax returns. 

First, let’s talk about the advantages of filing jointly. 

Advantage of Filing Together

  • You qualify for a larger deduction each year.
  • You also can qualify for certain tax breaks.
  • You also qualify for tax credits like:
    • Earned Income Tax Credit
    • American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning Education Tax Credit
    • Exclusion or credit for adoption expenses
    • Child or dependent care tax credit

While in most situations, it would benefit you and your spouse to file your taxes together, there are some exceptions to this rule.

When Should You File Separately?

  • If your out-of-pocket medical expenses exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income, you can deduct this amount from your yearly taxes. Because your separate income is lower than the combined income you have with your spouse, that 7.5% is easier to reach. 
  • If your combined income with your partner puts you in a higher tax bracket, you should consider filing separately. 
  • If you and your spouse are separated and you want to file separately. They won’t receive your refund and you won’t have to be responsible for what they owe.
  • If you’re married but are in the process of divorce, there’s a married but filing separately option to avoid complications with tax refunds in the future.

If you aren’t sure which option would be more beneficial for you and your partner, try preparing your taxes both ways and see which one provides you with a larger return. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the office and we can discuss further.

For a comprehensive review of your personal situation, always consult with a tax or legal advisor.  Neither Cetera Advisors LLC nor any of its representatives may give legal or tax advice.