Free Tax Course

Married Filing Jointly Filing Status

When a taxpayer is married and not considered unmarried, the taxpayer can either file his or her tax return using the married filing jointly tax filing status or married filing separately tax filing status. Filing as a married filing jointly couple is much more tax beneficial than filing as a married filing separately taxpayer.

How to qualify for the married filing jointly tax filing status?


Married Filing Jointly

To use the Married filing jointly tax filing status or MFJ, one of the following must be true. Now every married couple can file married filing jointly. Filing as a married filing jointly couple gives the taxpayers more tax benefits that can result in more tax refunds from the IRS, lower tax rates, better tax credits, and more tax deductions.

  • you were married on the last day of the tax year even if you did not live with your spouse.
  • your spouse died during the tax year and you did not remarry during the year
  • you are living together in a common law marriage that is recognized in the state where you now live or in the state where the common law marriage began.
My spouse doesn't work, can we file a married filing jointly tax return?

Yes. To file using the married filing jointly tax filing status, both taxpayers don't have to have income. However, you must include all income of both spouses. You must also deduct your combined allowable expenses. Both spouses must sign the tax return even if one did not make any money. Filing a joint tax return may give you a lower tax rate than any other filing status.

I got a divorced this year, can I still file married filing jointly or separately?

If you are divorced under a final decree by the last day of the tax year and have not remarried, you are considered unmarried for the whole year and cannot chose the married filing jointly as your tax filing status.

My spouse is a nonresident alien, can I file married filing jointly?

If at any time of the tax year, your spouse was a nonresident alien (see tax definition of nonresident alien), you may file a married filing joint return only if your spouse reports all income including domestic income and foreign income on the tax return.



Looking for more IRS Deductions?