My husband receives nontaxable income from VA and social security and I receive taxable income from my place of employment. This is the first year we are filing together. My question is two part.
1) Should we file jointly since separately, he doesn't necessarily have to file because he doesn't pay taxes?
2) He's previously divorced and has not been allowed to file for his children because he doesn't pay taxes. If we file together, will he be able to claim them on his taxes because our income is recognized as "joint income"?
WE are looking for a lawyer to help us with this, so the response that we receive would most likely be someone we are willing to work with!
2 Answers from Attorneys
The answer is that this is not a question for a lawyer but rather for a CPA. I can refer you to a great CPA. The answer depends on whether filing separately so as to preserve your husband's non taxpaying status or filing jointly would be better for you. A CPA would prepare two different returns for you so that you can compare and choose correctly.
One of your presumptions is incorrect. His social security might be taxable, depending upon his total income from all sources - taxable and non-taxable. In theory, it might be better to file jointly, but combining your taxable income with his VA and SS income, may make some of his SS income taxable. A full analysis of all income should be made both ways - jointly and married filing separately, to see which is better over all. Deductions and exemptions might come into play also. Not having seen his property settlement agreement, if there is one, is necessary to answer your second question about claiming his children as dependents. Does he pay child support, and if he does, is it more than 50% of what his children need for their support? Not paying taxes is usually not a reason for not being allowed to claim a child as a dependent, if he is paying child support. More information is necessary to give you a complete answer.
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