Federal Taxes when Married Couples should File Separately

When you get married, you start to combine everything.  You combine your households.  You combine your finances.  You may even decide to combine your taxes.  However, there are times that combining your taxes is not necessarily a good idea.  There are actually a couple of situations where filing your income tax separately may protect you or your spouse from having problems.

If one of you owes child support arrears, it may be best to file your taxes separately.  While you can file an injured spouse statement, there is a much better chance that you will be getting your fair share of your income tax rebate back if you file separately.  One thing to keep in mind about this is that if your spouse owes less than what you will be receiving back from your income tax rebate, it may be easier to file jointly because the debt will no longer be hanging over your head.  On the other hand, if the amount that they owe is far more than what you will get back, it may be easier on both of you to file separately.  This is true with any debt that can be intercepted from the IRS.

Another situation where it is best to file separately is when you are indeed separated.  If you are running two separate households, but are not yet divorced, the proper way to file is married filing separately.  Of course, in this case, it is best if you agree ahead of time who gets to claim the children, or you are both likely to get audited for claiming the same children on your tax returns.  Keep this in mind, and remember that you are as likely to get audited as your soon to be ex-spouse if you both claim the children, so your thoughts of revenge by making them pay more in taxes may backfire on you if you’re not careful.

Filing taxes can be a trcky proposition, but it does not have to be impossible.  Remember when filing your taxes that you have to be fair to your spouse as well as yourself, and sometimes that means filing separately.  Other times it may be best to file jointly as that often yields a larger rebate.  The important thing is to always do what is best for your particular situation and family.  If you are unsure, you may want to check with a tax professional.