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Filing Jointly After Certifying as Separate

Started by Virginia Spouse, March 18, 2019, 07:14:44 am

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Virginia Spouse

My wife and I both have student loans. I refinanced mine through a private lender, but she has stayed on federal loans while she has employment that qualifies for PSLF. We married in 2017 and she recertified near the end of 2017 so that she could continue to make lower student loan payments in case she ultimately satisfied the requirements for PSLF. This recertification lasts for a year. At the end of 2018, we needed to decide whether she should recertify again. Continuing to file taxes separately would allow her to take advantage of income based repayment, but would cost us more in taxes. We decided that she should not recertify and plan to file jointly for the tax benefits. My question is: can we file taxes jointly for the 2018 tax year even though she recertified late 2017 and took advantage of treating our income as separate throughout 2018? Or do we have to wait and file jointly next year? Is there any risk that the IRS or Department of Education would go after her for falsely claiming that we were separate after they see that we decided to file taxes jointly?

TheCollegeInvestor

She should recertify her loans when her income situation changes (i.e. you change your filing status). It may be less than a year, but that's the correct thing to do.