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Returning Member

Filing separate after separation

Hi I have been married 2 years this past Nov. 2019. We filed jointly last year but separated the same week. (Feb 2019) FYI- Florida does not recognize legal separation. We have not lived together from March 2019-to current. I want to file separate but can I do that after only filing joint last year for the 1st time?

3 Replies

Filing separate after separation

Yes you can file separate returns for 2019 even if you filed joint for 2018.  Each tax year is separate.


If you have been the custodial parent of children you could file as Head of Household, since you have been apart for more than the last six months of 2019.


Am I Head of Household?




If you qualify as Head of Household, when you enter your filing status (single or married filing separately) into Personal Info, and then enter your qualifying dependent, TurboTax will offer HOH as your filing status.




If there are not children involved:


If you were legally married at the end of 2019 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 $24,400 (+$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.**
Returning Member

Filing separate after separation

Thank you. It’s quite ugly so it must be separate. I have chosen in TT married filing separately but when I review to submit it still says filed jointly. I’ve tried to edit 3 times and it lets me but won’t save. This made me believe I wasn’t allowed.

Filing separate after separation

Are you trying to use the same account you used for a joint return in the past?  It is too hsrd to get all the “spouse stuff” out. You should start a new account with a new user ID for your MFS status so it will not give you a bunch of errors when you try to file. 

**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.**
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