TurboTax FAQ
TurboTax FAQ
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Is it better for a married couple to file jointly or separately?

Generally, filing jointly will give you a bigger refund or less taxes due. When you file separately, your tax rate is higher and you won't be able to claim:

On top of that, if you live in the community property states of Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, or Wisconsin, you have to deal with community property allocations and adjustments, which adds extra work and complexity to your tax preparation chores.

The main reason you'd want to file separately is to protect yourself from inaccurate tax information reported by your spouse, or in cases where your spouse refuses to file a joint return (or refuses to file, period) and you don't want to get in trouble.

Also, when you file separately, your refund cannot be seized to pay off your spouse's debts. However, filing jointly as an innocent or injured spouse can head off refund seizures as well.

With all that in mind, you can try it both ways to see which filing status works out better for the both of you. If you do this, also consider your state return; in some cases, the taxes saved on the state return more than makes up for the money lost on the federal, or vice-versa.

Tip: Only taxpayers who were still legally married as of December 31, 2014 are able to file as marrieds, whether jointly or separately.

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