- 14 years ago
To those who got married this year, how do you plan to handle your first tax return? We got a prenup to keep our property seperate and planned to file as married filing seperately- then had a brief panic when it looked like our state was going to consider our salaries community property anyway. Of course, this same state has no state income tax, so there was very little on the internet on community property that didn’t refer to divorces. I finally found a rather lengthy opinion on community property law that seemed to indicate our prenup would trump the requirement to split our income between us on our federal returns (treating our income as community property would have become even more complicated in our case by the fact that he is in the military, that both of us vote, have driver’s licenses, and otherwise consider our state of residence to be our individual home states, not the state we currently reside in, and much of his "income" is non-taxable- especially when he’s deployed).
Married filing seperately doesn’t net us any huge tax break anytime soon, since we make about the same amount of money (his year, anyway). But then, as I was moments from breathing a huge sigh of relief, I read on and discover a whole list of reasons why filing our taxes on a joint return (if not actually combining our assets) might be inevitable… namely, the huge list of deductions, like the Hope and Lifetime Learning credits and child care expenses and interest on student loan payments, that you can deduct from your taxes if you are single or married filing jointly- even if you are taking the standard deduction in some cases! But you can’t claim any of them if you file seperately.
Why does the government make it so difficult to do the responsible thing and keep our finances seperate by denying us of legal entitlements everyone else in the country can take- married or single? I just found out that as long as we file seperately, I can’t even open the Roth IRA I was planning to start next year in order to save for a down payment on our first house and (with the interest for our future retirement). I guess we have until April to figure this out- but I’d welcome advice from anyone who has even an inkling about my confusion over how marrying the love of my life so we could live happily ever after got so darned confusing as soon as the IRS got involved!