Monday, October 11, 2010

Questions for the Tax Lady: October 11th, 2010

Check out the following new Questions for the Tax Lady answers and feel free to ask me questions through one of the links below. You can send me an email, direct message or @ reply. I will do my best to get an answer for you!

Question #1: Is it better, tax-wise, for married couples to divorce and cohabit, or is this an urban legend?

Answer: Ah, the marriage penalty, this myth continues to circulate even though it’s largely untrue. Years ago, if both spouses worked, it may have been more beneficial to be divorced and filing taxes separately.

However, years of tax adjustments have removed the marriage penalty from all but the most unique tax circumstances. By and large, the tax code allows married couples equal benefits to single people. For example, the standard deduction for filing single is $5,700. For a married couple filing jointly, the standard deduction is $11,400. Exactly double the amount for single.

Don’t go rushing to a divorce lawyer to save money on your taxes. If you really feel like filing jointly is costing you more money, talk to a tax professional and see if you would do any better by filing separately.

Question #2: I filed an automatic six month extension last April, but have not finished preparing my return yet. Is it possible to request another extension?

Answer: Unfortunately for you, the six-month extension is the end of the line, tax-wise. (Unless of course you are living out of the country). October 15 is the very last deadline before the IRS will start slapping you with failure to file penalties. If you are struggling with preparing your tax return, you may want to enlist the aid of a qualified tax professional.

My recommendation would be to do whatever it takes to get that return mailed or electronically submitted by midnight, October 15. Then immediately start getting ready for the next filing season so you can avoid this problem next year.

Blog Archive