How Should Married Couples File Taxes?

Christie wants to know the difference between filing "married separately" and "married jointly." Dave explains.

QUESTION: Christie from My Total Money Makeover wants to know the difference between filing “married separately” and “married jointly.” Dave explains.

ANSWER: You can file your taxes as individuals or as a married couple. The marriage deduction is supposed to be cheaper if you are a married couple filing together. There are a few nuances in the tax code that allow in very rare instances for married filing separately to be cheaper than married filing jointly. You can run it both ways. Basically, you come out better filing jointly. The only time I can think that anyone would file married separately if it’s more expensive—and it usually is—is if someone wasn’t paying their taxes. For example, if you’re married and your wife isn’t paying her taxes or your husband isn’t paying his taxes and doesn’t want to pay them, you don’t want to go around not paying your taxes, so you’ve got to file. If he or she doesn’t file, then that’s on them. Other than that, I can’t think of a reason to pay more in order to file separately. That’s usually—like almost every time—how it comes out.