How to File Income Tax When Married

by Tiffany Raiford

Filing income taxes once you’re married offers benefits to taxpayers, such as the ability to use the "married filing jointly" status, which means a larger standard deduction than filing with any of the other statuses. Taxpayers who get married at any point during the tax year may file their tax returns as married filing jointly, regardless if they were married in January or December of the tax year in question. There are occasions when a married couple will benefit from using the "married filing separately" status.

1. File your income tax return after marriage by filling out Form 1040, Form 1040EZ or Form 1040A, whichever applies to your tax situation. Enter your personal information onto your federal income tax form along with the information of your spouse.

2. Check the box marked “Married Filing Jointly,” which offers a standard deduction of $11,400, and continue to fill out Form 1040. Enter income and adjusted gross income, taxes, credits and payments onto Form 1040 for both yourself and your spouse. Use the instructions provided for your tax form for reference as to what information needs to be included on your return.

3. File "married filing separately," which offers a standard deduction of $5,700, the same as filing "single," if your circumstances offer more financial benefits than filing jointly would allow . For example, medical expenses must total more than 7.5 percent of your total income to qualify for a deduction. If you have medical expenses to deduct but your joint income is too much to allow the expenses to meet the 7.5 percent threshold, one spouse with lower income might consider filing separately to reap the benefits of deducting those expenses and lowering taxes.

4. Get your spouse to go over your tax return with you before both of you sign and date the bottom of a jointly filed tax form and mail it to the appropriate Department of Revenue, which is listed by state in the instructions that go with your tax form.


  • File your taxes electronically by using the Internal Revenue Service's E-File option.

Photo Credits