Married couples are able to file joint income tax returns with the IRS and state taxing authorities. As of 2013, joint filing provides married taxpayers with a standard deduction of $12,200, or twice that of individual filers. Another tax benefit of marriage is that it creates a “family partnership” under federal tax laws, which allows the couple to divide business income among family members.
Married taxpayers also benefit by picking and choosing deductions and write-offs that one of them is entitled to. Working couples may also pick the most valuable employee benefits from their two plans. The right mixture of tax benefits from two employee benefit plans increases a couple’s tax savings in a variety of ways.
Married couples also receive greater charitable contributions deductions than individual taxpayers. If a spouse makes a considerable charitable contribution but does not have income of at least double the contribution amount, the excess contributions carry over to the following year.
In addition to these tax benefits, married couples also enjoy a streamlined tax filing process. Spouses filing one tax return satisfy both individual’s tax obligations with one filing and one fee.
In some cases, filing separate tax returns when married lowers the tax burden as a whole, especially if one spouse has experienced large medical bills in the previous year.