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What are the advantages of filing taxes with your spouse rather than single filing?

Boston, MA |
Filed under: Tax law

my husband wants to file alone

Attorney Answers 3


If you are married, you cannot file "single." You can either file "married filing joint" or "married filing separate." The tax rate for MFS is higher than MFJ.Filing with your spouse is usually more advantageous, especially where community property is involved because you are required to report your CP income on your MFS return even if you file separate.

THESE COMMENTS ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE. They are provided for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be provided after consultation by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. The answer to question does not create an attorney-client relationship or otherwise require further consultation. Mr. Smith is licensed to practice law throughout the state of California with offices in Los Angeles County. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States, and is also licensed to practice before the United States Tax Court. His phone number is 323-292-4116 or his email address is

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Sometimes there are other reason for filing separately. Often, a couple in the process of obtaining a divorce will file separate returns. It is also advantageous to file separately if you feel that your spouse is doing something dishonest and want to keep clean hands. Many couples file jointly just because it is usually done that way without considering consequences.

This response does not create an attorney client relationship nor should the advice be relied upon because it is not specific to your legal situation. Before you depend on legal advice, you should retain competent counsel.

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In the "old days" couples,with one making all the money and the other a homemaker, enjoyed a huge tax savings if they filed jointly (federally). It's not as true any more. There's certainly more going on here than just tax advice. Remember, you can always go from a separate return to a joint return my amending but you cannot file separately, in any given year, once a joint return is filed. And you can go back and recover any refunds by filing jointly if done within 3 years from a timely filed return. And if he's amenable, you can ask him to have the preparer calculate such savings and then discuss with him why not?

Eric P. Rothenberg, P.C.
Orsi Arone Rohenberg
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IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS in Circular 230, we inform you that, unless we expressly state otherwise in this communication (including any attachments), any tax advice contained in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or other matter addressed herein.

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