Meridian Star


May 25, 2014

Is ‘married filing separately’ ever the right filing status?

MERIDIAN — In most cases, married couples are better off electing joint status when filing their income tax returns. But in a few situations, electing to file as “married filing separately” (MFS) can be the wiser approach.

    (Note: If you were married on December 31, you generally must file as either married filing jointly or MFS for the entire year.)

    Electing MFS may lower a couple’s combined taxes in certain situations. For example, innoncommunity property states, when one spouse has a disproportionate deduction of a type subject to reduction by a percentage of income (such as medical expenses, casualty losses, and miscellaneous deductions), filing MFS may produce a lower overall tax liability for the couple.

    If you live in a noncommunity property state, electing MFS means you’ll only report income that you earned and deductible expenses that you paid as an individual. The nine community property states, however, generally allocate community income and expenses equally to each spouse, regardless of who actually earns or spends the funds. Thus, in some circumstances electing MFS is less likely to benefit residents of community property states.

    Couples who file jointly are jointly liable for that year’s return, which means the IRS can pursue either spouse for all or any part of their combined taxes. If you file MFS, you’re only liable for the tax that’s shown (or should be shown) on your own return. Therefore, MFS status may be desirable if one spouse wants to avoid liability for the other’s possible actions. This might apply where divorce or separation is a possibility or the other spouse is not reliable regarding tax or financial matters.

    Some credits and deductions aren’t available or are subject to stringent limitations under MFS status. When considering this election, always calculate your tax both ways before filing.

    David Compton is a Certified Public Accountant with offices in Meridian and Birmingham, Ala.

Text Only
Biz Marquee
New Today

New federal data show Mississippi received 179 unaccompanied children caught at the U.S. border this year. Gov. Phil Bryant wrote to President Barack Obama demanding the president pre-announce plans to send immigrants to Mississippi, saying Mississippi would block transports. Do you agree with Bryant?

     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide