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riverofbees
New Member

Married filing separately in CA. We lived apart for all 365 days. Must we claim the same deduction (e.g. standard or itemized) and community property adjustment?

My divorce isn't finalized, and CA is a community property state. There are two related concerns, the first has to do with the community property adjustment and the other has to do with claiming standard or itemized deduction.

What I understand is that because my spouse and I were separate and did not mix income all year or live in the same household that we do not have to make a community property adjustment. Is that true?

We were told by one CPA that we have to both claim the same type of deduction (itemized or standard) but we were told by another that we do not under these circumstances.

Long and short she wants to claim itemized. I need the standard deduction.

3 Replies
Opus 17
Level 15

Married filing separately in CA. We lived apart for all 365 days. Must we claim the same deduction (e.g. standard or itemized) and community property adjustment?

You need an experienced CPA or attorney.  The key question is, did your "marital community" end when you separated, or only when your divorce is final.  That will depend on state law, and on the terms of your separation or divorce agreement.  We aren't attorneys and can't answer that for you.

On the question of itemized or standard, you are out of luck, at least for the federal return.  The rules on the CA state return may be different, but for the federal return, if you are still legally married and file as MFS, if one spouse itemizes, the other spouse must itemize.  In other words, it is the itemizing spouse who controls.  The only exception is if you provided care in your home for a qualifying child dependent and can file as head of household.  In that case, you are not required to itemize even if your spouse itemizes.

*Answers are correct to the best of my ability at the time of posting but do not constitute legal or tax advice.*
riverofbees
New Member

Married filing separately in CA. We lived apart for all 365 days. Must we claim the same deduction (e.g. standard or itemized) and community property adjustment?

Hello. This is superhelpful. To be sure: I get to claim head of household this year (for my child dependent). You are saying that means I can file standard EVEN THOUGH my spouse is itemizing. Is there any rule I should look up to confirm that? Thanks so much.
Opus 17
Level 15

Married filing separately in CA. We lived apart for all 365 days. Must we claim the same deduction (e.g. standard or itemized) and community property adjustment?

Page 7, top of middle column, <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p501.pdf">https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p501.pdf</a>
*Answers are correct to the best of my ability at the time of posting but do not constitute legal or tax advice.*
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