In our previous post, we talked about the benefits of filing separately as a married couple. Here, we’ll go over the disadvantages that you may encounter if you choose this option.
The downside to married taxpayers who file separately are higher tax rates and the loss of many tax deductions and credits. These include:
- Tuition and fees deduction
- Student loan interest deduction
- Tax-free exclusion of U.S. bond interest
- Tax-free exclusion of Social Security benefits
- Credit for the elderly and disabled
- Child and dependent care credit
- Earned income credit
- American Opportunity or Lifetime Learning educational credits
The Time Frame for Deciding to File Jointly or Separately
Married couples can change their minds and switch from two separate returns to a single joint return within three years from the due date of the original return, not counting any extensions.
They can change their minds and switch from a joint return to two separate returns only by the April 15 tax deadline for that year.
In either case, you must submit an amended tax return, Form 1040X, if you want to change your filing status after filing your tax return.