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Married Couple Can Now File Joint or Separate Income Tax Returns

(Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich from Pexels)

The deadline for filing the 2021 tax return will be on April 18 (Monday) and taxpayers can file to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for an automatic six-month extension by accomplishing Form 4868, which is the Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File US Individual Income Tax Return.

To file for a tax extension to the IRS, Form 4868 may be accomplished electronically or by sending the form via mail. Once approved, the extension for filing income tax returns will be until October 15 (Saturday). However, the extension only applies for the filing of income tax returns, but not on the payment deadline.

Notably, those who live in Massachusetts or Maine are allowed to file their 2021 tax return until April 19 (Tuesday), making way for the commemoration of Patriot’s Day. 

Moreover, due to Hurricane Ida, automatic filing and payment extensions are granted to residents and business owners in Louisiana, Mississippi, and some parts of Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania. The same case also applies to taxpayers in Illinois and Kentucky due to the occurrence of a tornado in December 2021.

Standard Deduction for 2021

Taxpayers are given two options on how to manage their deductions, which are either following the standard deduction or by itemizing their deductions. For 2021, single and married filing separately filers get $12 550 standard deductions. On the other hand, household heads get $18 800 standard deductions, while married filing jointly taxpayers and surviving spouses get $25 100 standard deductions. 

Married Couple’s Joint, Separate Filing of Income Tax Returns

Married couples may file their income tax returns jointly or separately. According to the accounts of Kimberly Lankford, married couples choose to file jointly to get a lower tax rate. Doing so also earns them more credits and deductions, and may contribute to their Roth Individual Retirement Account (IRA).

On the other hand, Lankford identified that spouses with the same level of income file separately. They also consider hefty medical bills, their incomes in determining student loans, and the independence from each other’s tax liabilities.

Furthermore, Lankford accounted for James A.J. Revel’s, a certified public accountant (CPA) and a partner at KPMG in Philadelphia, perception on married couples filing separately. Revels said, “Married filing separately is an uncommon filing status, however, it can be beneficial for certain legal and strategic reasons.”


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