TurboTax / Tax Calculators & Tips / All Tax Guides / Family / Video: Can an Unmarried Couple File Jointly?

Video: Can an Unmarried Couple File Jointly?

Updated for Tax Year 2015


OVERVIEW

If you are recently divorced or plan to be married soon, you should watch this video to find out what filing status you are eligible for.


Hello, I’m Jill from TurboTax with some interesting information about the filing status options available to unmarried taxpayers. Because of preferential tax brackets that apply to the married filing jointly status, couples who file a joint return will oftentimes pay less income tax in comparison to filing separately. In addition, joint filers are eligible to take a standard deduction that’s double that of a single taxpayer.

However, since the IRS only allows a couple to file a joint tax return if the state they reside in recognizes the relationship as a legal marriage; unmarried couples are never eligible to file joint returns.

Keep in mind though that the IRS does not require you to be legally married for an entire tax year before filing a joint return. Even if your wedding is on December 31, the IRS will consider you as being married for that tax year. This allows you and your new spouse to enjoy all the benefits of filing jointly for the year in which your wedding happened.

If you don’t plan on getting married in the near future, there are other filing statuses that couples can use on their separate income tax returns.

When unmarried couples have children together, the head of household filing status is oftentimes available, but only to the parent who is responsible for paying more than half the cost of maintaining the home where the child resides for more than half the year. Filing as head of household provides you with a larger standard deduction and allows you to take advantage of tax brackets that are more favorable than those available to single taxpayers. If you are not eligible to use the head of household filing status, you can always file your return as a single taxpayer.

Remember, when you use TurboTax to file your tax return, we’ll ask you simple questions and recommend the best filing status for you.

Get every deduction you deserve

TurboTax Deluxe searches more than 350 tax deductions and credits so you get your maximum refund, guaranteed.

For only $54.99*
Start for Free

The above article is intended to provide generalized financial information designed to educate a broad segment of the public; it does not give personalized tax, investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek the assistance of a professional who knows your particular situation for advice on taxes, your investments, the law, or any other business and professional matters that affect you and/or your business.


Security is built into everything we do
Here's how
* Important Offer Details and Disclosures
  • Filing Deadline: IRS filing deadline for tax year 2015 is April 18, 2016 (except for residents of Massachusetts or Maine, where the IRS filing deadline for tax year 2015 is April 19, 2016).
  • Try for Free/Pay When You File: TurboTax online and mobile pricing is based on your tax situation and varies by product. Free 1040EZ/A + Free State offer only available with TurboTax Federal Free Edition; Offer may change or end at any time without notice. Actual prices are determined at the time of print or e-file and are subject to change without notice. Savings and price comparisons based on anticipated price increase expected 3/18/16. Special discount offers may not be valid for mobile in-app purchases.
  • TurboTax CD/Download products: Price includes tax preparation and printing of federal tax returns and free federal e-file of up to 5 federal tax returns. Additional fees apply for efiling state returns. E-file fees do not apply to New York state returns. Savings and price comparison based on anticipated price increase expected 3/18/16. Prices subject to change without notice.
  • Anytime, anywhere: Internet access required; standard message and data rates apply to download and use mobile app.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with efile and direct deposit; tax refund timeframes will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: A $X.XX Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice. This benefit is available with TurboTax Federal products except the TurboTax Home & Business/QuickBooks Self-Employed bundle offers.
  • About our TurboTax Product Experts: Customer service and product support vary by time of year.
  • About our credentialed tax experts: Live tax advice service is available via phone for your toughest tax questions; fees may apply. Service, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice. Not available for TurboTax Business customers.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2014 TurboTax products.
  • Most Popular: TurboTax Deluxe is our most popular product among TurboTax Online users with more complex tax situations.