We often are asked by our married clients if they should file their tax returns jointly or separately.  Generally our response is “file jointly” as you will often benefit more under this structure.  Did you know that our office automatically tests your tax return to see which method results in the lowest tax obligation to you and your spouse?

Some of the benefits of filing jointly are as follows:

  • Netting capital gains and losses for husband and wife
  • Limit/eliminate the impact of alternative minimum taxes
  • You  may be eligible for the tax credits that are not offered to taxpayers who file separately
  • Higher income level phase outs for retirement contributions such as IRA’s and Roth’s.  (up to $169,000 in adjusted gross income when filing jointly vs. $10,000 when filing separately.)

In circumstances where one spouse has lower income levels and high itemized deductions subject to AGI limits there may be a benefit in filing separately.

There are exceptions to this general rule.  If you are going through a divorce, separation or have a concern about limiting your personal responsibility with respect to your spouse’s tax obligations you may want to consider filing separately.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact:

Loretta Manning CPA,

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