For most taxpayers, the answer probably seems obvious. But for some, it can be surprisingly tricky to determine which tax-filing status will hold the most advantages.
The choices may involve more thought and number-crunching than might be apparent at first glance. A few issues may be important for some taxpayers to consider before New Year’s Day because of tax-law changes enacted late last year and other factors.
Here are a few suggestions from tax pros on avoiding an identity crisis, and making sure you don’t wind up paying more in taxes than you need to pay.
"Beware of filing a joint return if you suspect your spouse is hiding taxable income or isn’t telling the truth about deductions, credits or other issues", says Bryan Skarlatos, a lawyer at Kostelanetz & Fink in New York. "If you file jointly, you are responsible for what’s on that joint return—unless you can qualify for special relief. But winning “innocent-spouse” relief can be “very complicated and difficult to accomplish,” Mr. Skarlatos says.