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Married Filing Separately Filing Status

Married filing separately is one of two filing statuses available to married taxpayers, the other being married filing jointly. Married filing separately allows each spouse to file an individual tax return, as opposed to one joint return for both of them.

In general, married filing separately tends to be less advantageous than married filing jointly. Not only does married filing jointly allow for a larger standard deduction, but married taxpayers filing separate returns are not eligible to claim several tax benefits including the

  • Tuition and Fees Deduction
  • Student Loan Interest Deduction
  • Tax-Free Exclusion of U.S. Bond Interest
  • Tax-Free Exclusion of Social Security Benefits
  • Credit for the Elderly and Disabled
  • Child and Dependent Care Credit
  • Earned Income Credit
  • American Opportunity Credit or Lifetime Learning Credit


  • In certain circumstances, however, it may make sense for taxpayers to file separate returns. The only major benefit of filing separately is that each spouse is only responsible for their own individual return and will not be held liable for the accuracy of their spouse’s return or the payment of their spouse’s taxes.