Consider Both Options: Couple Can File Jointly or Separately

Deduction flexibility also is sacrificed. If one spouse itemizes, both must itemize, splitting the items to be listed on a separate Schedule A for each. That means a partner with few deductions couldn't use the standard amount and might get cheated when it comes to reducing taxable income.

Deduction, credit considerations

Many tax-cutting credits and deductions are forfeited when couples file separate 1040s. You can't take the earned-income credit, claim adoption expenses or child and dependent-care costs, use educational tax credits or even deduct the interest you paid on a student loan if you're married and filing separately. If you have children, you might find the child-tax credit reduced because it phases out at different income limits for the various filing statuses. And the amount of capital gains losses you can deduct is cut in half.

Read More From Bankrate: Community property effects on taxes

The married filing separately rules are complicated further if you live in a community property state -- Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington or Wisconsin. In these places, state law determines whether your income can be considered as separate or community for tax purposes. See IRS Publication 555, Community Property, for more information.

You should go ahead and figure your taxes as both joint and separate filers and use the method that produces the lower tax bill. But chances are, you'll find joint filing will be your best choice.

And after all, aren't taxes a tiny price to pay for love?

Read this story on Bankrate.com.

This work is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: Firefighters rescue a woman who got stuck in a chimney in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Ventura County Fire Department
PHOTO: Apple Pay is demonstrated at Apple headquarters on Oct. 16, 2014 in Cupertino, Calif.
Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo
PHOTO: Up in Ash: Mount Sinabung Erupting
Tibt Nangin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
PHOTO: Defendant Jodi Arias testifies about killing Travis Alexander in 2008 during her murder trial in Phoenix, Feb. 20, 2013.
Charlie Leight/The Arizona Republic/AP Photo
PHOTO: Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, their daughter North West and Delphine Arnault attend the Givenchy show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2015, Sept. 28, 2014 in Paris.
Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/French Select/Getty Images