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yunseochoi
Returning Member

College married couple filing status

My husband and I got married last year. We are full-time college students and he is 22 and I am 23. We are currently living with my mother-in-law who pays for all our living expenses (grocery/car insurance.etc). But we do pay for our tuition on our own. Our total income is over 42,000. Can we file jointly or do we have to do separately.

4 Replies
xmasbaby0
Level 15

College married couple filing status

That is your choice.  A married couple can file a joint return, and no one else can claim either of you as a dependent.  

**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.**
yunseochoi
Returning Member

College married couple filing status

Even if we don't pay any of our living costs?

xmasbaby0
Level 15

College married couple filing status

WHO CAN I CLAIM AS A DEPENDENT?

 

You can claim a child, relative, friend, fiance (etc.) as a dependent on your 2019 taxes as long as they meet the following requirements:

Qualifying child

• They are related to you.

• They cannot be claimed as a dependent by someone else.

• They are a U.S. citizen, resident alien, national, or a Canadian or   Mexican resident.

• They are not filing a joint return with their spouse.

• They are under the age of 19 (or 24 for full-time students).

    • No age limit for permanently and totally disabled children

        They live with you for more than half the year (exceptions apply).

Qualifying relative

• They don't have to be related to you (despite the name).

• They cannot be claimed as a dependent by someone else.

• They are a U.S. citizen, resident alien, national, or a Canadian or Mexican resident.

• They are not filing a joint return with their spouse.

They lived with you the entire year.

• They made less than $4200  (not counting Social Security)

• You provided more than half of their financial support. More info

When you add someone as a dependent, we'll ask a series of questions to make sure you can claim them.

Related Information:

Does a dependent have to live with me?

What does "financially support another person" mean?

Can I claim a newborn baby?

**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.**
DavidS127
Expert Alumni

College married couple filing status

You can choose either married filing jointly (MFJ) or married filing separately (MFS) as a filing status.

 

Here are some things to consider when trying to choose a filing status in your situation:

  1. Are you otherwise required to file a tax return?  If your combined 2019 income was less than $24,400, you don’t have to file a return (unless you choose MFS status in which case the income threshold is $5).  But, even if your combined income was less than the $24,400 and you had taxes withheld, you are likely due a refund, and could file either MFS or MFJ just to get the refund of taxes withheld.
  2. If you file MFS, you won’t be eligible for the education credits (American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) or Lifetime Learning Credit) or the deduction for student loan interest.  Only a MFJ return qualifies for these credits.  Note that the AOTC is “refundable” up to $1,000 per eligible person.  This means that you may get up to $1,000 per eligible person refunded to you even if you don’t owe taxes for the year.
  3. Is your mother eligible to file Head of Household (HoH)?  If you mother is unmarried (or considered unmarried), then you are likely a qualifying child HoH purposes.  If your mother would otherwise be filing single or married filing separately, the higher standard deduction that comes with HoH status may provide some tax savings for her.  But that would prevent you from filing a MFJ return to get the education credits.

If you are eligible for substantial education credits, the benefits of you filing MFJ will likely outweigh any benefit of your mother filing HoH status.  If you are uncertain, you can prepare the tax returns both ways in TurboTax, and compare the results.  Using the CD/download versions of TurboTax can many times make preparing “scenarios” easier.

 

IRS Publication 501 and IRS Publication 970 have the details on filing status, dependents, and education credits.

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