Pros And Cons Of Married Filing Separately

Those married filing separately may wonder if they are complicating an already messy tax situation or if they are indeed saving themselves money and time. Tax planning can be tough for those who are married but have different employment situations, requiring tax help from a professional. However, these basic pros and cons to filing separately while married may be enough to help you determine if it's best for you to file jointly or separately this year.

Pros: Situations When Filing Separately Is The Smart Thing To Do
1. Health Issues/Low Income
If one of you has many health problems-and the resulting medical bills-and a low income, but the other partner is healthy and has a decent income, you may benefit from filing separately. If you file separately in this situation, the partner with the low income and high medical bills might hit that itemization threshold for deducting medical costs more quickly than if you had filed jointly.

2. Your Partner Is Not So Good At Doing Taxes
Or wants to claim deductions you are not so comfortable claiming. Or is really disorganized. If you suspect your partner's methods of filing taxes may result in an audit-or worse, a conviction of some sort-you will want to file separately to protect yourself.

3. The Union Is Questionable
If your marriage isn't going so well and you think the end may be in sight, you may want to file separately to simplify your finances if a divorce is on the horizon.

Cons: Times When Filing Separately Is A Bad Idea
1. You've Started A Family
If you've recently adopted a child, had a baby or are hoping to claim full deductions on dependents, you'll want to file jointly because the married filing separately laws will penalize you if you don't.

2. You Make A Lot Of Money
Believe it or not, both singles and married couples filing jointly can claim more than those who are married filing single before jumping up in the tax bracket. This is especially so for those who make a hefty salary.

3. You Live In A Community Property State
You may not be allowed to file separately in some of these states. Check out IRS Publication 555 for details.

In most cases, filing jointly is, fiscally, the wisest way to go for most married couples. 

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