Someone asked me recently if a married couple could file separate Iowa tax returns even if one spouse has no income. The answer is yes, but the only reason you’d want to do this would be to keep tax liabilities separate, because the ending tax liability would be the same under any of the filing statuses.
Married filing separately is not the same thing as filing as single.
This question comes up now and then: My spouse is disabled and has no income; can we file as married filing separately and I claim him/her as a dependent on my tax return?
Unlike with federal tax returns, taxpayers can indeed amend an Iowa return to separate filing status after filing the original Iowa return jointly.
Today I want to answer a basic question: it’s almost always better for married couples to file as married filing separately instead of married filing jointly on their Iowa return. Why?
Iowa Taxes: Married Filing Separately on Combined Return vs. Married Filing Separately on Separate Returns
Iowa tax law throws unique wrinkles at taxpayers when it comes to filing options for married couples.
A common misconception I run into is the assumption among married couples that, if they file separately, it’s the same as filing as two single people. This is not the case.