Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
I just got married at the end of July and I don't know if I'm supposed to file with my wife or still do it single? On my checks I'm still claiming single no dependents... Any advice would help, I know nothing about taxes!!! Help!!!
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You may file Married Filing Jointly (MFJ) or Married Filing Separately (MFS). Normally, it is to your advantage to file jointly. In very rare cases, it can be advantages for a couple to file separately. I'm assuming you are still married.
I always wanted to be a procrastinator.
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Instructions exist to instruct you.
You can check the box on line 1 if any of the following was true on December 31, 2011.
• You were never married.
• You were legally separated according
to your state law under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance. But if, at the end of 2011, your divorce was not final (an interlocutory decree), you are considered married and cannot check the box on line 1.
• You were widowed before
January 1, 2011, and did not remarry before the end of 2011. But if you have a dependent child, you may be able to use the qualifying widow(er) filing status. See the instructions for line 5.
Married Filing Jointly
You can check the box on line 2 if any of the following apply.
• You were married at the end of 2011, even if you did not live with your spouse at the end of 2011.
• Your spouse died in 2011 and you did not remarry in 2011.
• You were married at the end of 2011, and your spouse died in 2012 before filing a 2011 return.
For federal tax purposes, a marriage means only a legal union between a man and a woman as husband and wife, and the word “spouse” means a person of the oppo- site sex who is a husband or a wife. A husband and wife filing jointly report their combined income and deduct their com- bined allowable expenses on one return. They can file a joint return even if only one had income or if they did not live together all year. However, both persons must sign the return. Once you file a joint return, you cannot choose to file separate returns for that year after the due date of the return.
Change references to 2011 to 2012.
In short, you are not allowed to file as single. See the first line.
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Advice on taxes: Read IRS Publication 17. Don't remain in the dark.
It's all about short-term opportunistic rebalancing due to a short-term change in one's asset allocation, uh, I mean opportunistic rebalancing, uh I mean rebalancing, uh I mean market timing.
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And just to touch all bases, note that married folks may file as Head of Household under certain conditions:
Married taxpayers who are separated or estranged from their spouse may be able to file as Head of Household, even though they are not legally separated or divorced. Taxpayers who meet all five criteria below may file as HOH instead of the less favorable married filing separately status.
1.You file a separate return.
2.You paid more than half the cost of keeping up your home for the tax year.
3.Your spouse did not live in your home during the last 6 months of the tax year. Your spouse is considered to live in your home even if he or she is temporarily absent due to special circumstances.
4.Your home was the main home of your child, stepchild, or eligible foster child for more than half the year.
5.You must be able to claim an exemption for the child. However, you meet this test if you cannot claim the exemption only because the noncustodial parent can claim the child using the rules for children of divorced or separated parents.
Quite common when one parent moves out. Unfortunately the one who moves out is usually stuck with Married Filing Separate
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Another good resource is Pub 4491. It is a training guide for the VITA program. It is organized by topic and is very readable. I would also keep Pub 17 handy as Pub 4491 references this quite a bit.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
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I did my own taxes for 25+ years, long hand with extensive reading, each yr trying to understand what was required of me. I was so happy to use TurboTax some 10+ years ago. It will guide you and IMO make like much easier.
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I don't keep up with the new laws regarding same-sex marriage, but if it's a same sex marriage, I don't think one can file as "married filing jointly" on the Fed return, can one?
Cordially, Jeri . . . 100% all natural asset allocation. (no supernatural methods used)
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I believe if this is the situation you might also consider MFJ filing status, but using Form 8379 for the injured spouse. Sometimes certain tax benefits are lost using MFS filing status.
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Jerilynn wrote:I don't keep up with the new laws regarding same-sex marriage, but if it's a same sex marriage, I don't think one can file as "married filing jointly" on the Fed return, can one?
It was in my quote from the IRS above.
For federal tax purposes, a marriage means only a legal union between a man and a woman as husband and wife, and the word “spouse” means a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.
DOMA still lives. Check with the Supreme Court next year. Or Congress.
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