Questions & Answers

Why would I use the Married Filing Separately on a Combined Return status?

When both spouses have income, this filing status usually enables a couple to compute a lower tax than filing a joint return. If you choose to file separately on a combined return, you are still jointly and severally liable for the amount of tax due and any refunds will be made jointly payable.

Since Virginia's income tax is imposed at graduated rates, a couple with income attributable to each spouse may find that by filing jointly, their joint income is taxed at a higher rate than their separate incomes would be. Married Filing Separately on a Combined Return is designed to adjust for this difference. This allows a couple to compute a combined tax by reporting income for each spouse separately and then allocating dependent exemptions and deductions as mutually agreed. Tax is computed on each spouse's separate taxable income and then the two amounts of tax are added together to determine their total tax.

Use Married Filing Jointly instead of Married Filing Separately on a Combined Return if only one spouse had income or if one spouse's income would be reduced to zero or less after claiming personal exemptions and subtractions.

When using Married Filing Separately on a Combined Return, each spouse must claim his or her own income, personal exemptions and, if allowable, any additional exemption for age or blindness. The number of dependent exemptions may be allocated between spouses as you mutually agree. Each spouse has a separate exemption line.

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