Benefit of Filing Separately?

Today TaxMama® hears from AK in the TaxQuips Forum, who is trying to understand. “My wife and I have 1 child who is 3 years old. We recently received our W2’s and I started the process through Turbotax online.  With just my income, it looked like we were going to receive the Earned Income Credit (EIC). Once I entered my wife’s W2, the EIC dropped quite a bit. I started digging through the deductions and credits, and discovered that we are about a $1000 over the qualifying income to receive the EIC with 1 child. However, if either my wife, or I claim our daughter as a dependent, and file separate tax returns, we would qualify for it. My question is: What are the major pro’s and con’s of filing separately with a child in the mix – and is that even an option?”


Dear AK,

The major ‘con’ of this is
1) When you file as married filing separately, the EIC is not available at all.
2) If either of you file as single or head of household, that would be tax fraud.
Aside from penalties, you would lose the right to claim the EIC at all for up to 10 years.

I know, you didn’t realize that. So, I am sure this news to you.

The ‘pros’?  I can’t think of a single one.

You are not in a financial bracket or situation where filing separately will give you any benefits. You would only lose benefits. Good try though.

And remember, you can find answers to all kinds of questions about refundable tax credits and other tax and business issues, free. Where? Where else? At

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