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Can I use the Married Filing Jointly filing status?

You may use the filing status of Married Filing Jointly if any of the following is true:

  • You were married as of December 31, 2016, even if you didn't live with your spouse at the end of 2016.
  • Your spouse died in 2016, and you didn't remarry in 2016.
  • Your spouse died in 2017 before filing a 2016 return.

A taxpayer and spouse may file a joint return even if only one had income or if they didn't live together all year. You're considered married unless a decree of divorce or separate maintenance has been obtained before the end of 2016.



Why do I need to enter my spouse's income information when I am filing Married Filing Separately?

Kentucky requires this information to correctly calculate your modified adjusted gross income for the purpose of calculating your Married Filing Separately Family Credit.



Can I use the Married Filing Separately filing status?

If you're married and file a separate return, you'll usually pay more tax than if you use another filing status that you qualify for.

Also, if you file a separate return, you can't take the student loan interest deduction, the Tuition and Fees Deduction, the education credits or the Earned Income Credit. You can't take the Standard Deduction if your spouse itemizes deductions.

It's rare for Married Filing Separately to give you more refund than Married Filing Jointly. However, if you itemize your deductions and one spouse has a large amount of medical expenses, casualty losses, or miscellaneous itemized deductions, you may get more overall refund by filing separate returns.

When someone chooses to file a separate return, it is usually because of reasons other than getting the largest refund such as if one spouse may be cheating on their taxes and the other spouse doesn't want to be responsible for any tax problems the other spouse will have if he or she is audited.



Married Filing Jointly

Menu Path: Personal > Filing Status

Enter on the Filing Status screen.

You may use the filing status of Married Filing Jointly if any of the following is true:

  • You were married as of December 31, 2016, even if you did not live with your spouse at the end of 2016.
  • Your spouse died in 2016, and you did not remarry in 2016.
  • You were married at the end of 2016 and your spouse died in 2017 before filing a 2016 return.
A taxpayer and spouse may file a joint return, even if only one had income or if they did not live together all year. You are considered married unless a decree of divorce or separate maintenance has been obtained before the end of 2016.



Married Filing Separately

Menu Path: Personal > Filing Status

Enter on the Filing Status screen.

If you are married and file a separate return, you will usually pay more tax than if you use another filing status that you qualify for.

Also, if you file a separate return, you cannot take the student loan interest deduction, the tuition and fees deduction, the education credits or the earned income credit. You cannot take the standard deduction if your spouse itemizes deductions.

It's rare for married filing separately to give you more refund than married filing jointly. However, if you itemize your deductions and one spouse has a large amount of medical expenses, casualty losses, or miscellaneous itemized deductions, you may get more overall refund by filing separate returns.

When someone chooses to file a separate return it is usually because of reasons other than getting the largest refund such as if one spouse may be cheating on their taxes and the other spouse doesn't want to be responsible for any tax problems the other spouse will have if he or she is audited.



What are the requirements for the Married Filing Separately Spouse Blind Exemption?

Your spouse must:

  • be totally or partially blind
  • have no adjusted gross income for Arizona
  • not be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer
Arizona instructions say "totally or partially blind" means:
  • You can't see better than 20/200 in your better eye with glasses or contact lenses.
  • Your field of vision is 20 degrees or less.
You need a statement certified by your eye doctor or registered optometrist to claim the blind exemption. Keep the statement in your records.



Can I use the Qualifying Widow(er) filing status?

You may file as a Qualifying Widow(er) With Dependent Child if all of the following apply:

  1. Your spouse died in 2014 or 2015 and you didn't remarry in 2016.
  2. You have a child, adopted child, or stepchild whom you claim as a dependent.
  3. This child lived in your home for all of 2016. Temporary absences, such as for school, vacation, or medical care, count as time lived in the home.
  4. You paid over half the cost of keeping up your home.
  5. You could have filed a joint return with your spouse the year he or she died, even if you didn't actually do so.
If your spouse died in 2016, you can't file as Qualifying Widow(er) With Dependent Child. Instead, you would usually file as Married Filing Jointly.



Which filing status gives you the biggest refund?

Married Filing Jointly or Qualifying Widow(er) With Dependent Child usually gives you the biggest refund.

Head of Household is usually better than Single or Married Filing Separately.

Single is usually better than Married Filing Separately.

Married Filing Separately usually results in the smallest refund or most amount of tax to pay to the IRS.

Which filing status should I use?



Why do I need to enter my Roth IRA contributions?

Roth IRA contributions may qualify for the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit if your income is not too high to claim the credit. Once you enter your Roth IRA contributions, we'll calculate the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit based on your income and any other retirement contributions you made such as 401(k) and regular IRA contributions.

The Retirement Savings Contributions Credit is only available to taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes of $61,500 or less for Married Filing Jointly, $46,125 for Head of Household, and $30,750 for Single taxpayers.



What is deductible student loan interest?

The maximum amount of deductible interest is $2,500 for 2016.

You can fully deduct your student loan interest (up to $2,500) if you meet the following qualifications:

  • You aren't filing as Married Filing Separately.
  • You aren't being claimed as a dependent on someone else's return.
  • Your adjusted gross income is below $65,000 ($130,000 if filing as Married Filing Jointly).
You can get a partial deduction if your adjusted gross income is between $65,000 and $80,000 ($130,000 and $160,000 if filing as Married Filing Jointly).

Interest from loans that you took out to pay for the qualified education expenses for yourself, your spouse, or your dependents counts for deductible student loan interest.



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