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Is it ever a good idea to file married but separately on taxes?

I know it is usually more beneficial to file jointly for the income tax return, but is it ever a good idea for a married couple to file separately?

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Asked by Anonymous at 3:51 PM on Jan. 9, 2009 in Money & Work

Answers (4)
  • It can be if you are seperated but not divorced.

    Answer by gemgem at 3:52 PM on Jan. 9, 2009

  • It is if one spouse has a debt that the debtor may recover the money from a refund. For example, my ex owed child support to a woman he had a child with before we met. If a refund was due to him, the state would take it for that child support. So, in order to make sure that the part of the refund that was due to my income didn't get taken, we would file separately.

    Answer by tropicalmama at 5:44 PM on Jan. 9, 2009

  • Tropicalmama, even in t hat case it's not really a good idea. The best idea if your spouse has a debt that will come out of your refund is to have you tax prep people give you an "injured spouse" form. That seperates the refund into yours and his and then the debt only comes out of his portion. We had to do that for my hubby's c/s and it was a lot easier than filing married but seperate.

    According to the tax professionals I've encountered the only good time to file married but seperately is if you are actually seperated.

    Answer by AnnieMcD at 3:01 AM on Jan. 10, 2009

  • Actually, Annie, filing separately WAS the advice from a tax professional. Everyone's situation is different.

    Answer by tropicalmama at 9:25 AM on Jan. 10, 2009

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