The summer wedding season is in full swing. But, once you’ve packed
away the wedding gown and opened your last gift, how should you file your first
tax return as husband and wife? Believe it or not, it does make a difference
and you need to see which option works best for you and your new spouse.
Married Filing Jointly (MFJ): You and your spouse may choose to
file a joint return, which combines your incomes and allowable expenses. Filing jointly
may offer tax savings, particularly when spouses have different income levels.
Married Filing Separately (MFS): This status may benefit you if
you choose to be liable for only your own taxes, or if both you and your spouse
have high incomes or certain itemized deductions. If you use this status and either
of you itemizes deductions, the other must also itemize deductions. Most credits
such as the Earned Income Credit (EIC) and the Child and Dependent Care Credit are
not allowed when you file as MFS.
A few things to keep in mind:
• Your marital status on
December 31 determines your filing status for the entire year
• After filing a joint
return, you cannot amend your return to separate returns after the return’s due date
• If you file a joint
return, both you and your spouse may be held responsible, jointly and individually, for the tax and any interest or penalty
due on that return
• A joint return requires
both your and your spouse’s signatures
• If you are married by
midnight December 31, you can’t file as a Single taxpayer
Confused? Don’t be. The
Tax Pros at Jackson Hewitt can help you sort things out, so you can get back to
enjoying your newly married life!