727·330·3500    ·    Denise Mensa-Cohen, Enrolled Agent    ·    Office Located in Clearwater, Florida
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Your filing status options for your 2023 income tax return depend on your marital status on Dec. 31. The married-filing-jointly status is typically the most beneficial way for married taxpayers to file, but it’s a good idea to take a “what-if” look at the married filing separately status.

For example, if one spouse has high medical expenses and a relatively lower adjusted gross income (AGI), filing separately may allow that spouse to exceed the 7.5% of AGI floor for the medical expense deduction and deduct some medical expenses that wouldn’t be deductible if the couple filed jointly.

What about your income tax rate? Fortunately, through 2025 the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act eliminated the tax-bracket marriage penalty for all but the top bracket. But middle-bracket newlyweds may be at greater risk of becoming subject to the 0.9% additional Medicare tax and the 3.8% net investment income tax than they were as singles. Why? The thresholds for these taxes for married taxpayers aren’t that much higher than for singles ($250,000 vs. $200,000, respectively).

For instance, two singles who each have an income of $150,000 wouldn’t be subject to these taxes. But if they marry, their combined $300,000 income would likely cause them to become subject to one or both taxes (depending on the mix of earned vs. investment income). Filing separately wouldn’t help because the threshold is $125,000 for separate filers.

Did your name change? The name on a person’s tax return must match what is on file at the Social Security Administration. If it doesn’t, it could delay any tax refund. So be sure to report your name change to the Social Security Administration before you file your return.

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