If my husband files married filing separate, do I have to file the same way?

  • If my husband itemizes, I realize I must use my deductions which only consist of charitable contributions and sales tax.  If this is less than the standard deduction for MFS can I still use it so that my husband may itemize on his return or will we both be forced to file Married Filing Jointly.
  • If you are married, neither you nor your husband can file as head of household
  • That is incorrect.  It is possible for one spouse to file separately, and the other file as head of household, under the following circumstances:

    1.  You and your spouse lived apart the last six months of the year.
    2.  You paid more than half the cost of keeping up your home for the year
    3.  Your home is the main home is the main home for your child, stepchild, or foster child for more than half the year, and you can claim an exemption for the child.
Yes, you do also have to file the same way.  You can deduct business expenses against business income on your Schedule C. What you can't do is itemize personal deductions (like taxes and mortgage interest, charitable contributions, etc.) unless he also itemized his. 

There are certain credits and other deductions (like student loan interest) that you also become ineligible to deduct when using the Married Filing Separate filing status.
  • If my deductions are less than the standard deduction for MFS can I still use them so that my husband can use his which will be more than the standard deduction for MFS?
  • Yes, you can.  If he is itimizing on his then you itemize yours, too, even though that may result in a lower deduction than the standard deduction.
If you husband itemizes then you have to also even if your deductions are less than the standard deduction.
Just curious on why you would choose to use married filing separately - there are few if any situations where that provides a net tax benefit
As mentioned above, also be aware of the credits that you are not eligible to claim with the MFS status - education credit, EIC, dependent care credit etc
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