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Level 1

My wife and I separated in June not sure what status to file

 
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Level 15

My wife and I separated in June not sure what status to file

You do not say if there are children or if so, who is the custodial parent.  If you are legally married at the end of 2019 then you can file married filing separately or married filing jointly.  Or if one of you has had the children and you have lived apart for at least the last six months the one who has the children may file as Head of Household.  The other one would file Married filing separately.

 

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.

 

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

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/1901162-married-filing-separately-in-community-property-states

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/1894449-is-it-better-for-a-married-couple-to-file-jointly-or-separ...

 

 

Am I Head of Household?

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/1894553-do-i-qualify-for-head-of-household

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/2900097-what-is-a-qualifying-person-for-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.

**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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Expert Alumni

My wife and I separated in June not sure what status to file

It depends. If you are divorced or legally separated, you will file Single - if you have children or a dependent parent, you might qualify to file Head of Household.

 

If you are still legally married, your choices are Married Filing Jointly or Married Filing Separately. If you have dependent children, you might qualify to file Head of Household if you did not live together the last 6 months of the year.

 

Don't worry, though - you don't have to make this decision. TuboTax will walk you through all the relevant questions and recommend a filing status for you.

 

For more details, you can check out pages 15 and 16 of the Instructions for Form 1040

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Level 15
Level 15

My wife and I separated in June not sure what status to file

If you do not have a final divorce decree by December 31, your filing status depends on whether you are "legally separated under a divorce or separate maintenance decree." The exact definition of "legally separated under a divorce or separate maintenance decree" is determined by state law, and the rules vary depending on what state you live in. Consult a tax lawyer in your state to determine whether you are "legally separated under a divorce or separate maintenance decree" for federal income tax purposes.

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