Skip to main content

Do I file married filing separately or married filing jointly?

Everett, WA |
Filed under: Tax law

My wife is a stay at home mom and does not earn any income.

Attorney Answers 2

Posted

The tax rates are higher for married filing separately. In most cases, you are better off married filing jointly. When in doubt, the best thing to do is to run the numbers both ways.
But is very rarely beneficial to file married filing separately.

Hope this helps. If you think this post was helpful, please check the thumbs up (helpful) tab below. Thanks.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER
Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law in PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties. He can be reached at 215-735-2336 or at the email address listed below. He has received a 9.7 rating from AVVO and recently was featured as a 5Star Wealth Manager in the Philadelphia Magazine, November 2009 issue on page 123.
Mr. Fromm is ethically required to state that the response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/ client relationship. Also, there are no recognized legal specialties under Pennsylvania law. Any references to a trust, estate or tax lawyer refer only to the fact that Mr. Fromm limits his practice to these areas of the law. These responses are only in the form of legal education and are intended to only provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that if known could significantly change the reply or make such reply unsuitable. Mr. Fromm strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their state in order to ensure proper advice is received.
By using this site you understand and agree that there is no attorney client relationship or confidentiality between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction, who is familiar with your specific facts and all of the circumstances and with whom you have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question or omitted from the question.
Circular 230 Disclaimer - Any information in this comment may not be used to eliminate or reduce penalties by the IRS or any other governmental agency.

Mark as helpful

1 found this helpful

Posted

Persons who use the "married filing separately" filing status lose a bunch of credits and deductions. You can see the list in the first three chapters of Publication 17. P17 is free at www.irs.gov . P17 has the answers to most common tax situations.

In general, most couples pay more total taxes when filing under the separate status.

Sometimes, there are non-tax reasons to file separately. Some couples (such as politicians) file separately as a way to not have to file public disclosures on the private spouses' finances.

Moreover, in community property states, such as WA, figuring out how to allocate each spouse's incomes and deductions can be difficult.

Mark as helpful

1 found this helpful

Tax law topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics