Bride Files Alone

Today TaxMama hears from Nancy in the TaxQuips Forum with several questions.  “I am to be married this year. I am going to file as married, filing separately (MFS).  Can I claim my husband since he is disabled and collecting social security disability? Also I understand that I cannot mix the standard deduction and itemizing on Schedule A.  What I choose for my 1040 has to be the same on his 1040 is this correct? Can taxes be deducted from Social Security Disability income?” 

 Dear Nancy,

Congratulations! Getting married is always exciting.

But filing separately? I am sure you have your reasons, but please think carefully before doing this. Why?

1)      Using the MFS separately status, 85% of your husband’s Social Security income becomes immediately taxable. Of course, if you earn over $30,000 then it would be taxable anyway. So that won’t be a consideration.

2)      You’re right. If you decide to itemize (use Schedule A), he loses his standard deduction of $5,700.He will have to itemize also – or not. Perhaps his Medicare payments and medical expenses will be deductible. Add in his sales tax from the sales tax tables, and any vehicle taxes…maybe he’ll be able to recoup some of that $5,700 he loses if you itemize.

3)      No, you can’t claim him as a dependent. He’s your husband. Not your child. If you want him as a child, adopt him. Don’t marry him.

4)      IRS Publication 501 has a whole list of other credits and deductions you lose when filing separately.

Yes, to answer your last question. You can have federal taxes withheld from his Social Security income. Since it will be 85% taxable, that’s a good idea. You can tell them how much you want withheld. Do that after you do some projections to see what his and your tax obligations will be.  You can use TurboTax’s TaxCaster to test out your alternatives for free.

But, please, consider investing in a consultation with a tax professional. Once someone knows your circumstances, there may be a better, easier way to accomplish what you’re trying to do, without filing separately.

 And remember, you can find answers to all kinds of questions about getting married and other tax issues, free. Where? Where else? At www.TaxMama.com.

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