Tax season is always an educational experience for me and I suspect that I’ll write at least a few blog posts on what I learned this year. But one issue jumped out as the most startling issue. I noticed how many married taxpayers filing joint returns actually act like two taxpayers filing individual returns. I saw so many spouses who keep entirely separate finances, submit separate tax organizers, wish to use separate bank accounts for their tax payments and refunds, and simply do not accept the concept that the government views them as a single taxpaying entity. I find that the tax preparer is in the position of preparing a compilation of personal income taxes before the return can be generated. Increasingly I see couples where each spouse maintains a separate residence. They tend to know little about the others’ finances and may even be shocked to see what is reported on their “:joint” tax return.
Thinking about these many cases I saw this year, I realize that the government’s concept of “married filing jointly” is not what it used to be. It might well be a concept that is past its useful life.