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I Got Married This Year…Should I File Jointly?

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Congratulations, you are officially married! After you spend time basking in your newlywed bliss, it’s time to start thinking about the logistics of what it actually means to be married. Most importantly, you will need to figure out how you will handle your taxes moving forward. For married couples, you have two choices: you can file married jointly or file married separately. For most, filing jointly will have positive effects, and most couples will, and should, choose this option, but there are a few situations where it may not be your best choice. Here are the pros for filing jointly, and the reasons to file separately.

What it means to file jointly

Simply, filing jointly means that you and your spouse will now file one tax return, rather than two separate returns. On the joint return, you will include both of your incomes and both of your deductions, along with any dependents or exemptions. You will receive one refund, or one bill if you owe money, and be held to the same payments and penalties.

When couples file jointly they are able to receive tax deductions that they wouldn’t qualify for if filing separately. These deductions can make a huge difference in the amount you owe or the amount of refund you receive. In addition, filing separately will also mean lower IRA contribution deductions allowed, losing the ability to take a deduction for student loan fees or tuition, and will lower the amount of the capital loss deduction limit from $3,000 for joint filing to $1,500 for separate filing.

Reasons to not file jointly

If you are legally married, there are only a few circumstances where it may make more sense for you and your spouse to file separate returns.

These are just a few reasons to file jointly or separately. If you are recently married, recently separated, or have complicated taxes, contact a tax professional like Levy & Associates to help. You can contact us at 1-800-TAX-LEVY or visit >our website to learn more.

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