The Burdette
Law Firm
Lawyers: Germantown - Memphis, TN.
(901) 756-7878
in Germantown
(901) 756-6433
in Memphis

Answers to general legal questions posed by the general public

by Memphis Attorney Christina Burdette

Q: Do I have to file taxes jointly if I'm separated from my husband but not legally divorced yet....

My husband left me in August 2014. Since then I began working. My husband neglected some student loans and his checks are being garnished as a result. Which means (we assume) any refund he gets will be taken. He wants my W2 to file jointly. But do I have to? We are not legally divorced. We do not live together. And I opened my own personal checking account when I began working. I would like to file as married filing separate/individual- not sure the correct option. How should I proceed?

A: As a general rule, it's more expensive to file your tax return as married filing separately.....

In some situations, however, it makes a lot of sense to file this way and limit any potential spousal liability. The best thing to do would be to calculate your taxes both ways: as married filing jointly and as married filing separately. You can read more about the requirements and special rules for married filing separately in IRS Publications 17 and 501. Doing the calculation both ways is the only way you'll know for sure which one will be best for you.

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