married file separately-who claims what?

If I am married but filing separately, can my husband claim everything on his taxes (minus my income). And on my return I JUST claim my income? (Things like our child, savings account interest, mortgage interest, money back from return last year, ect.)
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    Yes - but if he itemizes, you must.  If he claims all itemized deductions, you cannot use the standard deduction, and your itemized deductions will be $0.

    There is no advantage to filing separate returns just because one spouse has income and the other doesn't, one has more income than the other, one has a business and the other doesn't, or because the spouses married during the year.

    With the injured spouse provisions, even a prior debt of one spouse that may be offset against a refund is not reason to file separately.

    The general rules for filing status are that married filing jointly is best, followed by head of household (but only if you qualify), followed by married filing separately, which is usually the worst.

    There are many disadvantages to file as married filing separate. These include:

    1. Your tax rate generally will be higher than it would be on a joint return.
    2. Your exemption amount for figuring the alternative minimum tax will be half that allowed to a joint return filer.
    3. You cannot take the credit for child and dependent care expenses in most cases, and the amount that you can exclude from income under an employer's dependent care assistance program is limited to $2,500 (instead of $5,000 if you filed a joint return). For more information about these expenses, the credit, and the exclusion, see chapter 32.
    4. You cannot take the earned income credit.
    5. You cannot take the exclusion or credit for adoption expenses in most cases.
    6. You cannot take the education credits (the American opportunity credit, Hope credit, and lifetime learning credit), the deduction for student loan interest, or the tuition and fees deduction.
    7. You cannot exclude any interest income from qualified U.S. savings bonds that you used for higher education expenses.
    8. If you lived with your spouse at any time during the tax year You cannot claim the credit for the elderly or the disabled, you will have to include in income more (up to 85%) of any social security or equivalent railroad retirement benefits you received, and you cannot roll over amounts from an eligible retirement plan (other than a Roth IRA or designated Roth account) into a Roth IRA.
    9. The following deductions and credits are reduced at income levels that are half those for a joint return:  the child tax credit, the retirement savings contributions credit, itemized deductions, and the deduction for personal exemptions.
    10. Your capital loss deduction limit is $1,500 (instead of $3,000 if you filed a joint return).
    11. If your spouse itemizes deductions, you cannot claim the standard deduction. If you can claim the standard deduction, your basic standard deduction is half the amount allowed on a joint return.


    Filing married filing separately is even more complicated if you live in a community property state.

    An exception to the rules could exist if you live in Ohio because of the effect on state taxes.  If you live in Ohio, I would compute it both ways.  Also, exceptions may exist if one spouse has high medical expenses or high miscellaneous itemized deductions.  When in doubt, compute it both ways.

    If you are married, filing as a single person is not an option.
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      I disagree with the other commentor about "no use in married filing separately".  I am filing married separate with my husband because I have Direct Student Loans with the Dept of Education and am currently on an income-based repayment plan.  The second I file together with him, my monthly payment goes from $125 to $860.  I'm sorry, but I don't think I'd ever see enough $$ in my return with him jointly to make up for that monthly financial strain.  There ARE some occasions where MFS is best.
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        Sabrinaw - have you considered injured spouse procedures?

        Injured spouse relief is when one spouse's refund allocable to her/his income is taken by the Government to satisfy child support, back taxes, an unpaid student loan, etc.

        You need to insure that if you file a joint return, you include Form 8379 to claim injured spouse relief. This will prevent the "injured" spouse's share of the refund from being offset by the debt. Turbotax supports this form.
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        Where in Turbotax

        Injured spouse (Form 8379) is included under the Federal Taxes tab.  Look at under the federal review for other tax situations.
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        Future Years

        For future years, there are several other solutions. These would include:

        1. File separate returns. This is generally not a good solution because it will result in additional taxes.
        2. Adjust your withholding so there is no refund. Without a refund, there is nothing to offset.
        3. Pay the past due amounts.

        See the IRS's Q & A on injured spouse here. http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=109283,00.html
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        Community Property States

        You don't mention where you live.  As an additional comment, the rules are sometimes different if you live in a community property state (Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.)  In those states, even with injured spouse relief, the relief may not be as complete as it would be in other states.  If you live in one of those states, see IRS Publication 555 for a more complete discussion of injured spouse in a community property state.  It can be found at http://www.irs.gov/publications/p555/ar02.html#d0e928
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