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Woman explaining to her colleagueThe IRS allows married couples to choose to file married filing jointly, and also allows you and your spouse to choose to file separate returns by using the filing status of married filing separately.

Considered married

You are considered married by the IRS for the whole year if, on the last day of your tax year, you and your spouse meet any one of the following tests. The IRS Says

  • You are married and living together.
  • You are living together in a common law marriage recognized in the state where you now live or in the state where the common law marriage began.
  • You are married and living apart, but not legally separated under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance.
  • You are separated under an interlocutory (not final) decree of divorce.

Same-sex marriage

For federal tax purposes, the marriage of a same-sex couple (same-sex marriage) is treated the same as the marriage of a man to a woman. However, individuals who have entered into a registered domestic partnership, civil union, or other similar relationship that is not considered a marriage under state law, are not considered married for federal tax purposes.

The tax year of 2015 marks a milestone to same-sex couples with the June 26, 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision that rules any state ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Taxes, both Federal and State are, for same-sex married couples and heterosexual married couples, to be treated the same. The IRS Says

Married filing jointly

Some benefits of filing married filing jointly could include:

  • Benefiting from child and dependent care tax credit and other tax credits
  • Benefiting from the higher standard deduction rate
  • Lowering the combined tax liability

Married filing separately

Reasons for filing married filing separately could include:

  • A spouse wanting or needing to be responsible only for their own tax
  • A too-high combined AGI for one spouse’s medical expenses to be deducted
  • Lowering the combined tax liability

Filing an amended return

Married couples also have the option of amending previous returns. Whether you filed on-line, legal changes affect your status, or your last return was prepared by a ‘sign-waving’ seasonal office, you may want to review your 2014 returns. Filing an amended return could prove beneficial to many married couples.

Need more information?

Let’s talk about this. You and your spouse could be missing tax benefits for this tax year and perhaps for 2014.