Married taxpayers have two options when filing their 1040 or 1040-SR tax returns. The first and most frequently used filing status is married filing joint (MFJ), where the incomes and allowable expenses of both spouses are combined and reported on one tax return. The joint status almost always results in the lowest overall tax. Spouses who file together are jointly liable for the tax, meaning either or both can be held responsible for paying the tax from the joint return.
The second option is to file as married filing separately (MFS), with each spouse filing a return. Depending on whether the taxpayers are residents of a separate or community property state, these separate returns may include just the income and eligible expenses of each filer or a percentage of their combined income and expenses. Couples may choose the MFS option for a variety of reasons:
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