Can We Split Our Tax Deductions If We Are Filing Separately?

The filing status married filing separately is generally not as favorable as filing a joint return. If you and your spouse cannot agree to file a joint return, you may have to use the married filing separately status unless you qualify as a Head of Household. Also, there are some circumstances where you may elect to use this status and some special rules to consider if you do.

Why File Separately?

One reason some couples chose this status is if one or both spouses want to be responsible only for their own tax. In some rare situations, this status could result in lower tax liability than filing a joint return. While this is rare, it is possible. If you are considering filing separate returns, you may want to calculate your taxes as filing separately and filing jointly to compare the results.

What Special Rules Apply?

One of the drawbacks of this status is that there are numerous special rules which apply. In most cases these special rules would make it less favorable to file separately by excluding you from qualifying for certain credits or reducing the amounts you may claim for certain tax deductions. Your tax rate when using this status will usually be higher than a joint return as well.

What About Tax Deductions?

If you and your spouse choose to file separate returns or are required to file separately, itemized tax deductions are generally split. Each spouse claims their own tax deductions for categories such as business expenses that are incurred individually. For joint or shared tax deduction categories such as mortgage interest or property taxes, the deduction should be split. For example, if you and your spouse paid a total of $4000 in interest on a jointly shared mortgage on your home, you should each deduct $2000 for this category on your Schedule A.

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