Lost your job during coronavirus? Should you file a joint or separate tax return?

Current unemployment benefits discourage productivity: Kristin Tate

FOX Business’ Jackie DeAngelis discusses how some U.S. workers are receiving better unemployment benefits due to not working than their regular compensation while working. Young Americans for Liberty analyst Kristin Tate later argues why businesses are skeptical employees will want to return to work if they make more from unemployment.

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This year's tax return deadline was originally April 15, as it has been since 1955, for those living in the US. But as the coronavirus impacted all aspects of life, economy included, filing for returns was extended to July 15. The Trump administration made this announcement on March 20.

With the ongoing shutdown, many Americans have lost their jobs. Recent statistics for those filing for unemployment put the figure at  2.98 million.

As the nation nears the new tax deadline, many who have lost their jobs are asking, "should I file a joint or separate tax return?"

Married couples can choose between filing their federal income tax returns separately or together. The IRS, however, suggests most couples file joint tax returns by extending a few tax breaks to people who file together.

In most instances, joint filing of tax returns is the better choice.

OVER 2.98M AMERICANS FILED FOR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

The IRS gives joint filers one of the largest standard deductions each year, allowing them to deduct a significant amount of their income immediately.

For example, last year, married people filing as separate taxpayers received a standard deduction of $12,200 compared to the $24,400 offered to those who filed jointly.

If you, like many, have become unemployed due to the impact coronavirus has had, can you file a federal tax return?

UNEMPLOYED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS? HOW TO GET A PERSONAL LOAN WITH NO JOB

If you have been unemployed and earned no income, you might not need to file a tax return. But, if you’re married and filing jointly or you collected some income during the year (were working until you lost employment as a result of the coronavirus pandemic), you still may be required to file, assuming that your income exceeded the minimum IRS threshold.

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This threshold currently begins at $10,400 but can vary depending on your filing status and age. You can use the IRS Interactive Tax Assistant to easily determine if you need to file at all.

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According to Zacks, if you're unemployed and filing taxes, the total sum of your household income will become a factor. You might be unemployed but your spouse may bring in a salary. If you're in this situation, you have options. You can either file your own tax return and your spouse can do the same. But as a good rule of thumb, if your salary is in the lower-range bracket, it will more often than not be better to file taxes together.

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