Question

If we're married filing separately, do we need to add our incomes together on each return?

Answer

To fulfill the married filing separately requirements, you’ll each report your own income separately.

However, if you live in a community property state, you must report half of all community income and all of your separate income on your return. Community property states include:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Idaho
  • Louisiana
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

Community property is property that you, your spouse, or both acquire:

  • During your marriage
  • While you and your spouse are living in a community property state

Separate property is property that you or your spouse:

  • Owned separately before your marriage
  • Earned while living in a non-community-property state
  • Received separately as a gift
  • Bought with separate funds
  • Acquired through separate funds

The laws of your state govern whether you have community or separate property and income.

You must attach Form 8958 to your tax form showing how you figured the amount you’re reporting on your return.

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