Jump to Navigation

Legally separated spouses can file tax returns individually

Residents of Gig Harbor, Washington, would agree that after the end of Christmas and New Year festivities, one of the major worries for Americans is filing their federal income tax returns. Since there are various categories under which income tax returns could be filed, many individuals prefer to seek guidance while filing their returns in order to save a few dollars.

Available filing categories include single, married filing jointly with spouse, married filing separately, head of household and qualifying widow or widower with dependent child. There are certain factors that determine whether a person can file his or her returns under a specific category or not, including the status of the person's marriage on December 31 and the status of a person's legal separation from his or her spouse.

If you are married on December 31, you can file your return jointly with your spouse. A spouse who has been legally separated from his or her spouse as per the state laws can file as an individual; however, if he or she is still not separated legally on December 31, he or she cannot file as an individual. The person will need to file returns as a married couple instead of as a single. The return can be filed jointly or separately, but the marital status will remain married.

Reports suggest that most married couples file their returns jointly. Filing an income tax return with your spouse jointly can help you save a few dollars; however, under certain circumstances, they may not be good for your financial health in the long run. This is especially true if your spouse has any past legal, tax or credit problems or if you got married with lots of assets and a prenuptial agreement.

If spouses file a joint return, each of them will be jointly liable for any liabilities. There are certain provisions where one can claim innocent spouse relief, but it is not easy to do this. A separate return helps keep personal property separate, making any potential divorce less consequential. It may be a good idea to weigh the pros and cons of filing before completing your income tax returns either jointly with your spouse or separately.

Source: Forbes, "No Offense Honey, I'm Filing My Taxes Separately," Robert Wood, Feb. 17, 2015

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
tell us about your case

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

Subscribe to This Blog's Feed