Getting Married - tax status change
Summer is wedding season. If you are getting married this summer, remember to give some attention to your 2010 tax filing status.
You have two filing status options: married filing jointly, or married filing separately.
Married Filing Jointly
You can choose married filing jointly as your filing status for the entire year if you are married by December 31st, and both agree to file a joint return. On a joint return, you report your combined income and deduct your combined allowable expenses. You can file a joint return even if one of you had no income or deductions.
According to the IRS, your tax may be lower than your combined tax for the other filing statuses. Also, your standard deduction (if you do not itemize deductions) may be higher, and you may qualify for tax benefits that do not apply to other filing statuses.
I recommend that you figure your taxes both on a joint return and on separate returns (using the filing status of married filing separately). Choose the method that gives you the lower combined tax.
Both of you may be held responsible, jointly and individually, for the tax and any interest or penalty due on your joint return. One spouse may be held responsible for all the tax due even if all the income was earned by the other spouse.
Married Filing Separately
You can choose married filing separately as your filing status if you are married. This filing status may benefit you if you want to be responsible only for your own tax or if it results in less tax than filing a joint return.