Under what conditions should I choose to file as married filing separately?

To qualify for the married filing separately filing status, you must be married at the end of the year.

Only report your income, exemptions, deductions, and credits. Therefore, you are only responsible for any tax or penalties on your income tax.


If you want to be responsible only for your own individual tax or if this method results in less tax than filing jointly with your spouse, choose this filing status. If you and your spouse do not agree to file a joint return, you generally will use this filing status. You must provide your Spouse’s name and Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).*

ITIN: An ITIN is a nine-digit tax processing number which begins with 9, issued by the IRS to those who are not in possession of a Social Security Number (SSN). This includes nonresident aliens, U.S resident aliens, a dependent of a spouse of a U.S citizen/resident alien or dependent of a spouse of a nonresident alien visa holder.


You are subject to higher tax rates and lose certain deductions and credits. When filing married filing separately, you cannot take the Student Loan Deduction, the Education Credit or the Earned Income Credit.

Unfortunately, you are subject to an 85% tax on your Social Security Benefits.

Standard Deduction

Each taxpayer is given the Standard Deduction based on of each filing status. However, if your Spouse itemizes deductions, you cannot take the Standard Deduction. You must both itemize. 

You can only claim expenses that you personally incurred. 

For example, if you pay medical expenses directly from your account, only you can claim that expense due to documentation.  Additionally, expenses can be split in half if it is from a joint account.

Here’s more about why filing separately may be right for you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *