Filing As Single Or Married - When -Its Complicated- Is Not A Choice On Your Tax Return


While there’s no hard and fast rule for defining your relationship on the internet, the Internal Revenue Service requires a little more certainty.

Here's your quick guide to figuring it all out:

  • For federal income tax status, marital status is determined by state law as of the last day of the calendar year. If you are married for state purposes on December 31, you are married for federal purposes. It’s the law that matters, not geography or your living arrangements,. You can file as married filing jointly (MFJ) whether or not you lived together with your spouse.
  • Similarly, married filing separate (MFS) doesn't have anything to do with your living arrangements. MFS is a tax choice where married taxpayers opt to file separate returns. Deductions and credits can be limited so, in most cases, you're more likely to get a higher tax bill filing MFS than MFJ. If you file MFS, you have to coordinate with your spouse. If one spouse chooses to itemize, the other must also itemize; if one spouse claims the standard deduction, the other must also claim the standard deduction.

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    Source: Forbes

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