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.
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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.
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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?
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Orsi Arone Rohenberg
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