Thursday, May 13, 2010

Is it better to file taxes married filing jointly or married separately for Pell Grant Purposes?

Will i get more grant money if i file married filing jointly, or married filing separately for a bachelors in nursing? Either way we both made very little income. (Not sure if it matters what I'm going to school for) PLEASE HELP!Is it better to file taxes married filing jointly or married separately for Pell Grant Purposes?
I agree with Fiona,

If your tax forms say ';married filing jointly'; then that is what you will have to put on your FAFSA application. Otherwise, if you put ';separated'; and they ask for your tax form, they are going to question why it does not match.

The best thing you can do is contact your financial aid office and explain the issue. Because of your circumstances, they might be able to override the issue since you can't get in contact with your wife.They will know best how to help you.

If they do an override you will only have to put your income on the form. Not only will this be easier for you but you will probably be eligible for more grants because you are not including your wife's income.

I hope I was helpful and I am sorry about your separation.Is it better to file taxes married filing jointly or married separately for Pell Grant Purposes?
If you are separated, you can claim that on your FAFSA on the question where it asks if you are divorced or separated. You will then be required to only submit your financial information on the FAFSA.

After your school receives your FAFSA, they may ask you to bring in a copy of your taxes to verify the accuracy of the information you reported. If you bring in taxes that say ';Married filing jointly,'; that will be a problem, and the school will consider both yours and your spouse's income when determining your financial aid. They will figure, ';If these two are separated, why are they filing their taxes jointly?';

If, however, your taxes say ';Married filing separately,'; then your taxes will agree with the ';Separated'; status on your FAFSA, and your spouse's income will not be counted.

I would go with married filing separately, because in essence, you are separated, and you're not sharing financial information with each other.
Your filing status will not effect the amount you get (or don't get) or even the type (grants vs loans) of financial aid you get when you apply for federal financial aid.

Either way you file you will still be required to list both your and your spouses income on the fafsa. It's a bit easier to fill out the fafsa form if you do a ';married filing Jointly'; tax return, but that is about it.

If you do your taxes separately, you simply add all the line items they ask for together such as Adjusted Gross Income and Total Tax as if you filed together on one tax form.
you should file head of household. you are married, but separated and the FAFSA will ask you this. be honest and it will probably mean you get some Pell money. for your income, put whatever you made according to the questions, and for hers put 0.

your school will ask the same questions, so make sure they match.

best of luck.
if your really separated then you might be able to. But honestly the pell grant is available to those who have very low income so you should be fine. You don't want to chance it because they do random audits to those who apply for the pell grant to make sure what you wrote down is true. Just be careful. Good luck.

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