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filing taxes single when married

Ask the taxgirl: Filing Single When You’re Married

Can you file single if you are married? Short info I am still in school only have 1 more year then I am done. My insurance ran out so my husband and I got married for the insurance. We were engaged and already had a date. Just had to bump it up to get covered. So how many laws could I possible be breaking?

Thank you for your time,

Easy answer: no. Your filing status is determined as of the last day of the tax year. So if you’re married on December 31 under the laws of your state, you’re married for tax purposes. Exceptions apply for same sex marriages (the feds don’t recognize these), widows and widowers, annulments and married persons who live apart but meet very tailored criteria.

But another question: why would you want to file single? Generally speaking, it tends to be more advantageous to file as married filing jointly.

If, however, you have concerns about filing with your spouse or if you have a financial situation that lends itself to not filing jointly, you can file as married filing separate. It’s similar to

filing single with one enormous exception: both spouses must agree to itemize (or not) on their return. One spouse may not elect to itemize if the other spouse takes the standard deduction.

I’m not sure which laws you’re worried about breaking but if it’s financial aid related (which is what I’m guessing from your question), check with your school’s financial aid office. They should be able to help. If it’s tax related, I’m not terribly worried so long as you haven’t previously file a false return. If you have, it’s not the end of the world: it can be fixed. Contact a tax pro if this situation is trickier than you’ve indicated or if you still have questions.

Like any good lawyer, I need to add a disclaimer: Unfortunately, it is impossible to give comprehensive tax advice over the internet, no matter how well researched or written. Before relying on any information given on this site, contact a tax professional to discuss your particular situation.

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Category: Taxes

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