My spouse and I are separated, but not divorced. What filing status do we use for filing taxes when separated but married?
You should file either:
If you’re married filing separately, you’ll probably lose some tax benefits. Many tax benefits are available only to couples who use married filing jointly.
However, if you’re married filing jointly, both you and your spouse have joint and several liability.
- Both of you are responsible for the taxes and interest or penalties due on the return.
- You’d both be responsible for any underpayment of tax that might be due later.
- If one spouse doesn’t pay the tax due, the other might have to.
If you decide to file separately, one of you might be eligible for head of household status. Head of household filing status applies to you when both of these are true:
- Your spouse didn’t live in your home during the last six months of the year. (Your spouse is considered to have lived in your home even if he or she is temporarily absent but expected to live there at some point in the future.)
- You paid more than half the costs of keeping up your home for the year.
- Your home was your main residence for more than half the year, and you’re able to claim the exemption for either:
- Your child
- Your stepchild
- Your foster child
You’ll still meet this test if you can’t claim the exemption only because the noncustodial parent can claim the child under the rules for divorced or separated parents.
Unfortunately, the cost of your engagement ring can't be deducted as a write-off on your personal income taxes. H&R Block tax pros explain why.
What happens to your taxes after marriage? Learn how marriage can lead to changes in tax filing and returns at H&R Block.
Learn more about earned income credit eligibility and get tax answers at H&R Block.
Looking for virtual tax help with your online filing? Learn more about your options by comparing TurboTax Live to H&R Block Tax Pro Review and Tax Pro Go.