Married - file jointly or separately


S

SPAJ

Hello,

I had questions about filing tax returns for 2008. We got married on Dec
1, 2008. One of us works in Massachussetts and the other works in
Maryland. We worked in these states for whole year. I had the following
questions abt filing tax returns:

1. Can we file tax returns jointly (married filing jointly) for Federal
even though we got married at the end of year in 2008? or do we need to
file it as married living separately? Which one is advantageous for more
refund?

2. Can we file jointly for states? do we need to file both in Maryland and
Massachussets?

3. If jointly for each state, how do we calculate gross income for each
state becos one of us would not have stayed in that state?

I would greatly appreciate if our questions are answered.

Thanks
 
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A

Arthur Kamlet

Hello,

I had questions about filing tax returns for 2008. We got married on Dec
1, 2008. One of us works in Massachussetts and the other works in
Maryland. We worked in these states for whole year. I had the following
questions abt filing tax returns:

1. Can we file tax returns jointly (married filing jointly) for Federal
even though we got married at the end of year in 2008? or do we need to
file it as married living separately? Which one is advantageous for more
refund?

2. Can we file jointly for states? do we need to file both in Maryland and
Massachussets?

3. If jointly for each state, how do we calculate gross income for each
state becos one of us would not have stayed in that state?

I would greatly appreciate if our questions are answered.

I cannot answer about either of the states you mentioned, but your
federal filing status can be MFJ or can be MFS, and you can decide
thata between you.
 
P

Phil Marti

SPAJ said:
I had questions about filing tax returns for 2008. We got married on Dec
1, 2008. One of us works in Massachussetts and the other works in
Maryland. We worked in these states for whole year. I had the following
questions abt filing tax returns:

1. Can we file tax returns jointly (married filing jointly) for Federal
even though we got married at the end of year in 2008? or do we need to
file it as married living separately? Which one is advantageous for more
refund?
You're going to have to figure everything using every option you have.
Forget about refund numbers. What you're looking for is the smallest total
tax, state and Federal, for the two of you.
 
R

removeps-groups

I had questions about filing tax returns for 2008. We got married on Dec
1, 2008. One of us works in Massachussetts and the other works in
Maryland. We worked in these states for whole year. I had the following
questions abt filing tax returns:

1. Can we file tax returns jointly (married filing jointly) for Federal
even though we got married at the end of year in 2008? or do we need to
file it as married living separately? Which one is advantageous for more
refund?
Yes, you can do MFJ. MFJ generally gives a smaller total tax, but you
have to run the numbers to be sure. Sometimes, MFS gives you a better
result.

The states you mention are not community property states. Community
property states mean that on your federal return, if you do MFS, then
you have to pretend that each spouse earned half of the income of the
other, though I think a pre-nup overrides this. Even on the federal
return you have to report income this way, which often destroys any
advantage of MFS.

http://www.fairmark.com/spousal/comprop.htm

And remember, MFS often bars you from a Roth IRA, and if I'm not
mistaken from the stimulus checks.

2. Can we file jointly for states? do we need to file both in Maryland and
Massachussets?

3. If jointly for each state, how do we calculate gross income for each
state becos one of us would not have stayed in that state?
Don't know much about these states. Some states, or maybe all,
require that you use the same status on the state return as on the
federal, though there may be exceptions for gay couples. If one
person made much more than the other and lives in a low tax state,
then MFJ could be a problem. Hopefully, someone can shed light on
this.
 
K

Katie

Hello,

I had questions about filing tax returns for 2008. We got married on Dec
1, 2008. One of us works in Massachussetts and the other works in
Maryland. We worked in these states for whole year. I had the following
questions abt filing tax returns:

1. Can we file tax returns jointly (married filing jointly) for Federal
even though we got married at the end of year in 2008? or do we need to
file it as married living separately? Which one is advantageous for more
refund?

2. Can we file jointly for states? do we need to file both in Maryland and
Massachussets?

3. If jointly for each state, how do we calculate gross income for each
state becos one of us would not have stayed in that state?

I am assuming that each of you was a full year resident in the state
where you were working and continues to be domiciled in that state
despite your marriage. Both Maryland and Massachusetts are common-law
states, so none of either spouse's earnings will be attributed to the
other.

In Maryland, if you file a joint federal return, you may file a joint
return with Maryland; however, if you do that, your total income from
all sources (both spouses) will be taken into account to calculate the
tax rate that applies to the Maryland resident spouse's income (and
any Maryland source income of the nonresident spouse). Maryland has
graduated rates. You'll probably be better off to file MFS in
Maryland, which is permitted. If the MD nonresident spouse has MD
source income, though, you'll probably want to calculate the tax both
ways (both MFS or MFJ) to see what gets you the better result. See
Maryland Administrative Release No. 3 http://www.marylandtaxes.com/publications/bulletins/it/ar_it3.pdf
and the form instructions.

In Massachusetts, if spouses are residents for different parts of the
tax year, they must file MFS (assuming both have Massachusetts filing
requirements.) There is no provision for filing a joint return if one
spouse is a resident and the other a nonresident. See the Form 1
Instructions, p. 16.

Katie in San Diego
 
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A

Arthur Kamlet

And remember, MFS often bars you from a Roth IRA, and if I'm not
mistaken from the stimulus checks.

MFS is not a bar to stimulus rebate.
 
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