If you’re Married you must File Jointly

Unless you meet one of the exceptions below


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Joint Filing or Certain Exceptions

Married Filing Jointly. If taxpayers are married, they can file a joint tax return. If a spouse died, the widowed spouse can often file a joint return for that year. –

If you want ACA – Obamacare tax credits, you MUST file jointly

See Publication 974 for details  and certain exceptions

Our page on Registered Domestic Partners

Calculator for if  taxes be higher if we filing jointly, as mandated?

Subsidy Calculator for premiums with and without subsidy

Flow Chart Take premium credit subsidyflow chart married

Medi – Cal flow chart for married couples – whose in household

Publication 974 Premium Tax Reconciliation

(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 IRS.gov can help with many taxpayers’ federal income tax filing needs. The Interactive Tax Assistant tool can help taxpayers choose the right filing status.

Publication 501,
Exemptions, Standard Deduction and Filing Information

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.

Excerpt from Publication 974

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
Health Care.gov says you don’t have to include a legally separated spouse!

Modified Adjusted Gross Income Definition – Line 37* 1040

1040 Instructions

VITA free-tax-return-preparation-for-you-by-volunteers

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

      • Just to double check… I used the Interactive Tax Assistant that you see above under Publication 974

        Answers to Your Affordable Care Act Questions

        Am I eligible to claim the Premium Tax Credit?

        You are not eligible for the Premium Tax Credit.

        Your General Information

        What tax year are you asking about? 2019
        What is your filing status for 2019?

        Married filing separately

        Do you and your spouse intend to file a joint tax return for 2019? No
        Family Information
        What was your marital status on the last day of 2019?


        General Information

        Including yourself, did an individual claimed on your tax return enroll for health insurance through a State or Federal insurance Marketplace? Yes

        Have one or more months of enrollment premiums been fully paid by the due date of the return (not including extensions)? Yes

        At the time of enrollment for coverage, did you accept assistance from the Marketplace to reduce your monthly premium amount? Yes

        Your Filing Status
        Will you live apart from your spouse when you file your tax return?


        The conclusions above are based on information provided by you in response to the questions you answered. This does not constitute written advice in response to a specific written request of the taxpayer within the meaning of section 6404(f) of the Internal Revenue Code.

  1. 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.

  2. How do I keep my separated spouse from hiding all our assets?

    Steve Shorr says:
    Fri 08 Nov 2019 at 21:33 PST

    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. Forbes.com *

    hiding assets, income and debt is not only unethical; it’s also illegal and subject to severe penalties IF discovered. forbes.com *

    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 *


    17 Ways to Really Piss Your Spouse Off During Your Divorce

    Allowing your attorney to needlessly slander your spouse: Some lawyers can get out of control and it’s your job to stop them.

    Forcing your children to accept your lover (or any new partner) before they’ve had time to emotionally process the divorce: This one is especially self-serving. Psychology Today *

  3. This FAQ was before we had commenting on our site. Please bear with us as not all the links work and the formatting might not be as nice as we would like.

    My wife and I filed joint return, and the same for 2017. No dependent. If only one of the spouses has income, and we try to apply for Family Coverage on Covered California, are we going to be split into two different insurances?

    ***No it’s all one qualification for subsidies your mandated to file jointly and two people at 28,000 would probably give you Silver 87.

    Get a complementary calculation and benefits report or view the income chart, metal level page and enhanced Silver page. http://www.quotit.net/eproIFP/webPages/infoEntry/InfoEntryZip.asp?license_no=0596610

    I only get paid for helping you if you appoint me as you’re covered California agent. They don’t pay me a monthly salary just to put up this website.

    2 One spouse with income qualifies to buy subsidized metal plan and the other spouse without income only qualifies for Medi-cal? Our line 37 will be approximately $28,000

    ***You qualify together your mandated to file jointly

    3 ACA says you can keep your child under the family plan until he/she turns 26, but Covered California says a child cannot be included in the family plan unless he/she is claimed as a dependent on your tax. which one is correct?

    ***I guess you could put the child on the plan. But there won’t be any subsidies for the child unless the child is on your tax return. Since you are asking me to explain the Jiggery Pokery that Covered CA tells you, don’t you think it fair that I get paid?

    Appoint us as your agent. No extra charge. Section 1301 a 1 c (iii) PPACA 42 U.S. Code § 18021 10 more reasons to appoint us.

    There’s really no point in putting the child on your plan just get the child their own coverage. Click here for quotes for your adult child.

  4. 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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