Married Filing Separately

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Definition of 'Married Filing Separately'

Married Filing Separately (MFS) is an income tax filing status for married couples in the United States. It is an alternative to filing jointly, which is the default filing status for married couples.

When married couples file jointly, they combine their incomes, deductions, and credits on one tax return. This can be beneficial if one spouse has a lower income than the other, as it can help to lower the overall tax bill. However, filing jointly also means that both spouses are jointly and severally liable for the entire tax bill. This means that if one spouse fails to pay their taxes, the other spouse is still responsible for the full amount.

Married Filing Separately can be beneficial for couples who have different incomes or who have significant deductions or credits that they can claim individually. It can also be beneficial for couples who are in debt, as it can help to lower their monthly payments. However, filing separately can also increase the overall tax bill, as each spouse is taxed at their individual tax rate.

There are a few important things to keep in mind when filing Married Filing Separately. First, you must both agree to file separately. If one spouse files jointly and the other files separately, the joint return will be considered invalid. Second, you cannot claim the standard deduction when filing separately. You must instead itemize your deductions. Third, you cannot claim the earned income tax credit (EITC) or the child tax credit when filing separately.

If you are considering filing Married Filing Separately, it is important to speak to a tax professional to make sure that it is the right option for you.

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