Covered CA Joint or Separate Filing if Married

Unless you meet one of the exceptions below

Married Couples must file Jointly  to get  ACA Subsidies

who can take creditMarried filing jointly chart

Source Publication 974 Premium Tax Reconciliation   PAGE # 5

(2) Married taxpayers must file joint return. A taxpayer who is married (within the meaning of section 7703) at the close of the taxable year is an applicable taxpayer only if the taxpayer and the taxpayer’s spouse file a joint return for the taxable year. GPO.Gov Final Regulations Page 11  *   Turbo Tax Calculator    Tax Policy Center…..  Joint or separate?

Married Filing Separately.

If you file as married filing separately and are not a victim of domestic abuse or spousal abandonment (see Exception 2—Victim of domestic abuse or spousal abandonment under Married taxpayers above), then you are not an applicable taxpayer and you cannot take the PTC. You generally must repay all of the APTC paid for a qualified health plan that covered only individuals in your tax family. If the policy also covered at least one individual in your spouse’s tax family, you generally must repay half of the APTC paid for the policy. See Line 9, in the Form 8962 instructions. However, the amount of APTC you have to repay may be limited. See Line 28, in the Form 8962 instructions.  * IRS Publication 974 Page 7 *  Instructions 8962 *

Not Considered Married

You are not considered married for federal income tax purposes if you are divorced or legally separatedDivorce  *  CA Courts * Definition San Francisco Court * attorney Website * according to your state law under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance. In that case, you cannot file a joint return but may be able to take the PTC on your separate return.   See Pub. 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information.


Normally this status is for taxpayers who aren’t married, or who are divorced or legally separated under state law.

Head of Household.

In most cases, this status applies to a taxpayer who is not married, but there are some special rules. For example, the taxpayer must have paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home for themselves and a qualifying person. Don’t choose this status by mistake. Be sure to check all the rules.

Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child

 This status may apply to a taxpayer if their spouse died  and they have a dependent child. Other conditions also apply.

The “Filing” tab on can help with many taxpayers’ federal income tax filing needs. The Interactive Tax Assistant tool can help taxpayers choose the right filing status.

Scroll down for more details on the exceptions.

Jump to section on:

Estranged Spouse       

What if I don’t have contact with my #estranged spouse,

do we still have to file jointly to get the tax subsidies?


Exception 1—Certain married persons living apart.

You may file your return as if you are unmarried and take the PTC if one of the following applies to you.

Exception 2—Victim of domestic abuse or spousal abandonment.

If you are a victim of domestic abuse or spousal abandonment, you can file a return as married filing separately and take the PTC if all of the following apply to you.

  • You are living apart from your spouse at the time you file your 2016 tax return.
  • You are unable to file a joint return because you are a victim of domestic abuse (described next) or spousal abandonment (described below).
  • You check the box on your Form 8962 to certify that you are a victim of domestic abuse or spousal abandonment.
Domestic abuse.
 Domestic abuse includes physical, psychological, sexual, or emotional abuse, including efforts to control, isolate, humiliate, and intimidate, or to undermine the victim’s ability to reason independently. All the facts and circumstances are considered in determining whether an individual is abused, including the effects of alcohol or drug abuse by the victim’s spouse. Depending on the facts and circumstances, abuse of an individual’s child or other family member living in the household may constitute abuse of the individual.
Spousal abandonment. 
A taxpayer is a victim of spousal abandonment for a tax year if, taking into account all facts and circumstances, the taxpayer is unable to locate his or her spouse after reasonable diligence.

Records of domestic abuse and spousal abandonment.

If you checked the box in the upper right corner of Form 8962 indicating that you are eligible for the PTC despite having a filing status of married filing separately, you should keep records relating to your situation, like with all aspects of your tax return. What you have available may depend on your circumstances. However, the following list provides some examples of records that may be useful. (Do not attach these records to your tax return.)

  • Protective and/or restraining order.
  • Police report.
  • Doctor’s report or letter.
  • A statement from someone who was aware of, or who witnessed, the abuse or the results of the abuse. The statement should be notarized if possible.
  • A statement from someone who knows of the abandonment. The statement should be notarized if possible.
  • Records of domestic abuse and spousal abandonment.

This all goes beyond our pay grade.  Click on the link for  VITA.

Allocation Among Taxpayers Who Are Married But Not Filing a Joint Return and One or More Other Taxpayers

Legal Separation
legal separation does not end a marriage or domestic partnership. You cannot marry or enter into a partnership with someone else if you are legally separated (and not divorced). A legal separation is for couples that do not want to get divorced but want to live apart and decide on money, property, and parenting issues. Couples sometimes prefer separation for religious reasons. San Francisco Superior Court

Calculate your  Covered CA MAGI Income

take #Line8b 11 Adjusted Gross income then add line 2a, 6a &   8 (Foreign Income)


MAGI Income from 1040




  • Question  How do I keep my separated spouse from hiding all our assets?
  • Answer
    • a Los Angeles family court judge ruled that a woman had violated state asset disclosure laws because she neglected to reveal she had won $1.3 million in the California state lottery . . . just 11 days before she filed for divorce!
      • According to the Los Angeles Times, the judge in this case determined that the wife had acted out of fraud or malice, and as a result, he awarded all of the winnings to the ex-husband. *
      • hiding assets, income and debt is not only unethical; it’s also illegal and subject to severe penalties IF discovered. *
    • contempt of court or criminal charges for fraud or perjury.
    • An investigator or forensic accountant can thoroughly examine income tax returns, public records and bill statements. Your attorney can submit questions to your spouse, through written interrogatories and oral depositions, in an attempt to find hidden assets. However, as a “The New York Times” article notes, although your suspicions might be justified, it’s “what you can prove that counts.”
    • a husband who repeatedly failed to produce current financial statements so angered the judge that he allocated 90 percent of the marital assets to the wife.
    • Depending on the laws of your state, if you refuse to disclose assets or information requested by the court, you might be held in contempt of court, a misdemeanor which can result in fines or even jail time. If you lie about your assets in court, you might be charged with perjury for testifying falsely under oath. In California, for example, you can serve up to four years in jail for perjury. You might be charged with fraud, a criminal act, if a prosecutor decides to charge you with deceiving the other party by hiding assets. Penalties include restitution and jail time. legal zoom

California Tax Information Registered Domestic Partners

Tax Information - Domestic Partners


Federal IRS

  • Q1. Can registered domestic partners file federal tax returns using a married filing jointly or married filing separately status?
    • A1. No. Registered domestic partners may not file a federal return using a married filing separately or jointly filing status. Registered domestic partners are not married under state law. Therefore, these taxpayers are not married for federal tax purposes. *
    • More Federal IRS FAQ's
  • Our webpage on Registered Domestic Partners – Spousal Health Coverage?

6 comments on “Married – Must File Jointly, Single, etc? Filing Status?

  1. My divorce was just finalized.

    My ex-spouse has been giving me 1/2 of his pension each month. We have filed joint returns every year since separation.

    How do I navigate the application process with covered california with regards to tax returns and income?

  2. My husband is turning 65 in November and going on Medicare.

    • how do we deal with the income reporting for Covered CA since Bob (primary tax payer) will no longer be on CC or alternatively –
    • how does estimating income change when only one person is applying for CC (not the primary tax payer)??

    • Being as your mandated to file jointly – see above. I don’t see any difference in your MAGI Income. Thus, there is no change in estimating income.

      Please note, Covered CA does not permit agents to give tax advise.

  3. I am 65, with Medicare, self employed not retired.

    My husband is 53. with Covered California, self employed.

    We file jointly. what income should we declare for my husband?

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