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We are married filing separately for the first time this year. Who gets to claim the property tax on our home? And who gets to claim the interest expense on our mortgage? I retired in the first quarter, so my gross income is significantly less than my wife's. Mine will be approx. $34,000 and my wife's will be approx. $72,000

Thank you

3 Replies
Level 15


Hope you are using desktop software so you can do a couple of "practice returns" and see how your plan works out.  Usually filing separate returns is the worst way to file.


If one of you itemizes then you both have to itemize---even if one of you does not even have any deductions or your itemized deductions are LESS than your standard deduction.  You can split the property tax and mortgage interest in whatever way the two of you can agree upon as long as the amount entered between the two of you is not more than 100%'


If you were legally married at the end of 2020 your filing choices are married filing jointly or married filing separately.


Married Filing Jointly is usually better, even if one spouse had little or no income. When you file a joint return, you and your spouse will get the married filing jointly standard deduction of $24,800 (+$1300 for each spouse 65 or older)  You are eligible for more credits including education credits, earned income credit, child and dependent care credit, and a larger income limit to receive the child tax credit.


If you choose to file married filing separately, both spouses have to file the same way—either you both itemize or you both use standard deduction. Your tax rate will be higher than on a joint return. Some of the special rules for filing separately include: you cannot get earned income credit, education credits, adoption credits, or deductions for student loan interest. A higher percent of your Social Security benefits may be taxable. Your limit for SALT (state and local taxes and sales tax) will be only $5000 per spouse. In many cases you will not be able to take the child and dependent care credit. The amount you can contribute to a retirement account will be affected. If you live in a community property state, you will be required to provide additional information regarding your spouse’s income. ( Community property states:  AZ, CA, ID, LA, NV, NM, TX, WA, WI)

If  you are using online TurboTax to prepare your returns, you will need to prepare two separate returns and pay twice.


**Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to offer the most correct information possible. The poster disclaims any legal responsibility for the accuracy of the information that is contained in this post.**
Level 15


why do you want to file separate?  is there a specific reason? 


96% of married couple file joint - because the taxes are lower that way!!



Level 15


You pretty much have a choice. One can claim it all or you can split it.  It's usually best if the higher income person claims it. 

You have to meet the rules, which are:

  1. You are legally obligated to pay it
  2. You actually pay it. Paying from a joint account where you made sufficient deposits to cover the payments will usually meet this standard. However. paying from your own account would be a stronger audit defense. 


But as others have said, If you choose to file married filing separately, both spouses have to file the same way—either you both itemize or you both use standard deduction.  

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