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Married – filing jointly or separately?

February 12, 2015

Here’s a great idea…
You may have heard that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, but one thing we have in common is that we all have to pay taxes. Married individuals have the option to file joint or separate tax returns. Make the most of your tax dollar by choosing the best option for your financial situation.

In other words …
If you’re married, you may be wondering if it’s better to file your tax return together or separately. For most couples, there are more advantages to filing jointly.  However, there are a few instances when you might want to file separately.  Some deductible expenses are limited based on a percentage of your adjusted gross income (AGI).  So, if one person had a large amount of, for example, medical expenses and a smaller income; that individual might be able to deduct a larger portion by filing separately.

Joint filers often benefit from higher income limits for tax credits and greater allowable deductions.  If you’re married, you must file jointly to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, education credits, and credits/exclusion for adoption expenses. Other credits or deductions may be limited for married couples who file separately. Same-sex couples who are legally married by state law are eligible to file a joint federal tax return.

Here’s how you can use this idea to have a better life …
To find out which method would be to your advantage, prepare your taxes both ways (as a joint return or as separate returns). Which method gives you the lowest total due or highest combined refund?  File using whichever method saves you the most money.

To find out more…
See all of the rules for filing status and tax credits from the Internal Revenue Service atwww.irs.gov. IRS Publication 501 has 2014 filing status information for married couples http://www.irs.gov/publications/p501/ar02.html#en_US_2014_publink1000220721

Individuals or families with a combined household income of $60,000 or less in 2014 can file free online.  Visit the U of A Extension website at www.uaex.edu to learn more about My Free Taxes.

Free, in-person assistance is available for those who qualify.  Find locations and details for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance or Tax Counseling for the Elderly (age 60 and older) athttp://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Free-Tax-Return-Preparation-for-You-by-Volunteers

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