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Can my wife and I file separately while only I itemize and her claim the standard deductions

We just got married last year and we are new to this, but so far it has us owing 8000$ :( Previously I would itemize (as the house was in my name and I claimed the mortgage interest) while she did the standard deduction.
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Accepted Solutions

Can my wife and I file separately while only I itemize and her claim the standard deductions

No.  You both have  to file the same way.  That's why Joint is usually better.

Unless you have a specific reason to file separate returns,
It is usually better to file Joint. Joint has the lowest tax rates and the highest Standard Deduction.   And if you are in a Community Property state MFS gets tricky to figure out.  Here's some things to consider about filing separately……

In the first place you each have to file a separate return, so that's two returns.  And if you are using the Online version that means using 2 accounts and paying the fees twice.  

Many people think they come out better when filing Married Filing Separate but they are probably doing it wrong.  If one person itemizes deductions then the other one must itemize too, even if it's less than the standard deduction, even if it is ZERO!  

And there are several credits you can't take when filing separately, like the
EITC Earned Income Tax Credit
Child Care Credit
Educational Deductions and Credits

And contributions to IRA and ROTH IRA are limited when you file MFS.

Also if you file Married Filing Separately up to 85`% of your Social Security becomes taxable right away even with zero other income.

See …….
https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/1894449-married-filing-jointly-vs-married-filing-separately

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1 Reply

Can my wife and I file separately while only I itemize and her claim the standard deductions

No.  You both have  to file the same way.  That's why Joint is usually better.

Unless you have a specific reason to file separate returns,
It is usually better to file Joint. Joint has the lowest tax rates and the highest Standard Deduction.   And if you are in a Community Property state MFS gets tricky to figure out.  Here's some things to consider about filing separately……

In the first place you each have to file a separate return, so that's two returns.  And if you are using the Online version that means using 2 accounts and paying the fees twice.  

Many people think they come out better when filing Married Filing Separate but they are probably doing it wrong.  If one person itemizes deductions then the other one must itemize too, even if it's less than the standard deduction, even if it is ZERO!  

And there are several credits you can't take when filing separately, like the
EITC Earned Income Tax Credit
Child Care Credit
Educational Deductions and Credits

And contributions to IRA and ROTH IRA are limited when you file MFS.

Also if you file Married Filing Separately up to 85`% of your Social Security becomes taxable right away even with zero other income.

See …….
https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/1894449-married-filing-jointly-vs-married-filing-separately
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