Married people who are thinking of filing joint taxes while separated must consider the tax benefits and pitfalls. The pros and cons of filing joint taxes while separated are discussed in Chapter 9 of my book. Some of the factors that may affect the decision include: which tax bracket will apply; who will get the benefit of tax deductions and credits; and whether to take the risk associated with joint and several liability . When these factors are resolved, taxpayers must also decide how to allocate the tax refund, or pay the bill, when filing joint taxes while separated.
Under federal tax law, there are five tax different rate schedules. From the least favorable to the most favorable, they are:
- Married, filing separately
- Head of household
- Married, filing jointly
- Qualified widow(er) with dependent child