Question

My spouse and I have used married filing jointly for years, but are considering changing filing status on this year’s return. Can we use married filing separately this year?

Answer

Yes, and you won’t pay a penalty for changing filing status. However, when choosing filing status, you might want to figure your federal and state returns using each filing status. Then, you can see which return results in the larger refund or the smaller balance due.

You’ll usually pay more tax on a separate return than a joint return since:

  • Many of the following items are reduced or disallowed when married filing separately:
    • Credits
    • Deductions
    • Exclusions

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