Can Married Couples File Taxes Separately?

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Tax season is here, and coming closer to the deadline. It’s a stressful time for anyone, because taxes are one of those things that very few people really understand, but everyone wants to get the absolute most on their returns. It is arguably even more of a hassle for couples, because they have the added question of whether or not they should, or even can, file taxes separately.

Can Couples File Taxes Separately?

Couples that are either married, in a state-recognized common law marriage, or still waiting for the divorce to go through, are eligible to file taxes either jointly or separately. However, both parties have to agree to whichever option is chosen.

It is important to note that couples considering filing taxes separately will not be able to divide their income in order to get into a lower tax bracket. For married couples filing separately, the brackets are halved. For example, the 28 percent income tax bracket for couples filing income taxes jointly starts at $151,200, but when couples file separately, the amount is halved to $75,600.

When Should Couples File Separately?

There are still some situations where couples may end up paying less in taxes by filing separately. Here are a few examples of when filing taxes separately may be in your best interest:

  • Medical Expenses Deductions – It is possible to claim unpaid medical expenses as deductions if they are more than 10 percent of your adjusted gross income. So, if one of you has medical expenses of $10,000 this year, but your joint income is $100,000 or more, then you won’t be able to claim the medical expenses as deductions. However, if you file separately, that $10,000 could be deducted if your individual income is less than $100,000.
  • Schedule A Deductions – Miscellaneous deductions claimed on Schedule A, such as business expenses, money spent on the job hunt, and union dues can also be claimed if they are more than 2 percent of your AGI.
  • Trust Issues – Because both parties are required to sign off on a joint tax return vouching for its accuracy and completeness, it may be better to file separately if you feel for any reason that you cannot trust everything your partner may have included or left out.

The Lewisville divorce attorneys at The Julian Firm, P.C. are here to help individuals going through divorce come away on the best possible terms.