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Court Case

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Court Case Brief 1 Under US Code Sec 6013 married couples have the option to file a joint or state income tax return. In order to be eligible to file a joint return a couple must be legally married as of the last day of the tax year. There are many advantages and disadvantages to filing a joint income tax return. In the case of Larry and Sue, we know that they do not have enough expenses to itemize their deductions; therefore filing a joint return would be more advantageous. Sue would beable to take advantage of the higher standard deduction for a married couple, which is $12,400 in 2014. If Sue were to file a separate return she could only claim a standard deduction of $6,200. Sue will also save money by splitting the cost of a tax preparer. Filing a joint return could possibly make her eligible for more deductions and tax credits. Not to mention if the couple does owe additional income tax Sue could split the liability with Larry, resulting in a lower payment. The rewards of filing a joint return do not come without risk. When filing a joint return Sue can still be held liable for any fraud Larry might commit. Sue already suspects that Larry is understating his tips. This will cause a gross income which in turn will result in a lower tax liability. If the IRS were to audit the couple and determine that their income was understated they will be held liable for the additional tax and possibly charged penalties and interest. Regardless if Sue was privy to the fraud or not she will still be held responsible for the addition tax. While there are special provisions and laws to protect innocent spouses from fraud, like the Innocent Spouse Provision, it would require extra paper work on Sue’s part. In this case the benefits of filing a joint return do not out weight the possible tax implementations that might occur. I would advise Sue to file a separate income tax...

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