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Filing Married Tax

Written by Kathleen Gagne
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Filing Married Tax Returns

If you're filing married tax returns this year, especially if it's your first time, you will be happy to find out that joint returns often result in lower total taxes than when you file separately. To file a joint return, you must be a married couple, and you will have to combine your income and deductions. Along with the advantages of filing a joint return, there can be some disadvantages as well.

A joint return means that both parties take equal and complete responsibility for everything on the return. If there is an audit, for example, and one partner has disappeared, the other partner is liable for any penalties or fees that are incurred. In the past, innocent spouse relief was occasionally granted in such cases, but it is very difficult now to get that judgment.

Married Tax Returns Advantages

Obviously, if a joint return is filed, it will take less time and be less trouble to prepare than filing two individual returns. The major benefit may be a reduced tax liability. If you file a joint tax return one year, you are not required to do so again. You have the choice every year.

There are some instances in which you cannot file a joint return. For example, if you divorce before the end of the year, or if you are filing for a different tax year, you may not file jointly. Note that, if you file a joint return, you cannot be claimed as a dependent on anyone else's return. If you want to file a joint return online, simply follow the instructions from your online program. It will guide you through the process and help you to take advantage of every legal deduction.

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