My spouse and I are filing separate returns. How do we split our itemized deductions?
  • If you and your spouse file separate returns and one of you itemizes deductions, then the other spouse must also itemize deductions. You may be able to claim itemized deductions on a separate return for certain expenses that you paid separately or jointly with your spouse. When you pay expenses from your separate funds, then only you may deduct them.
    • For example, if you pay otherwise deductible medical expenses from your separate account (or in a community property state, from an account that's your separate property under the laws of that state) then only you may claim a deduction for the expenses.
  • When expenses are paid from funds owned by both spouses, such as from a joint checking account in which each spouse has an equal interest (or from an account considered community property under the laws of the state in which the spouses reside) you should generally split the deduction equally between you and your spouse.
    • For example, if mortgage interest, on a residence both you and your spouse own, is paid from a joint checking account in which you both have an equal interest, then each spouse may deduct half of the interest expense.
    • However, if only one spouse is eligible to deduct an expense (for example, real property taxes on property owned only by that spouse), then only that spouse may deduct the expense even if it was paid from joint funds in which each spouse had an equal interest. Each spouse must maintain records documenting who is considered to have paid the expense.