Community Property Laws by States
Nine states have community property laws
In community property states, married persons are considered to own their property, assets, and income jointly.
For married couples who decide to file separate tax returns, they follow their state's rules for community property. Generally, both spouses must analyze their income to find out how much of their income belongs to the marital community and how much of their income belongs to each spouse separately.
Community income and community deductions are considered owned by each spouse equally.
So when preparing a separate tax return, the general rule is that the spouses report half of their community income and all of their separate income, and report half of their community deductions plus all of their separate deductions. The community property states are:
- New Mexico
- Overview of the General Rules of Community Property for the Federal Tax Return
- Community property income
- Community property deductions
- Publication 555, Community Property (IRS.gov)
State-specific reference materials:
- Arizona Resident Personal Income Tax Booklet for 2013 (page 5, pdf)
- Arizona ITR 93-18 (pdf), How should married Arizona residents who file separate Arizona individual income tax returns report their income on the respective returns?
- Arizona ITR 93-19 (pdf), How are deductions, exemptions, and credits treated when married taxpayers file separate Arizona individual income tax returns?
- Arizona ITR 93-22 (pdf), Does Arizona follow the provisions of Internal Revenue Code § 66 under which, for federal income tax purposes, community income may be treated as the separate income of the spouse earning the income when separate income tax returns are filed?
- California FTB Publication 1051A (pdf), Guidelines for Married/RDP Filing Separate Tax Returns
- California FTB Publication 737 (pdf), Tax Information for Registered Domestic Partners
- California FTB Publication 776 (pdf), Tax Information for Same-sex Married Couples
- Idaho Instructions for Forms 40, 43, 39R, 39NR, and4 44 for 2013 (page 3, pdf)
- Idaho STC Publication 175 (pdf), Community Property
- New Mexico 2013 Personal Income Tax Form Packet (page 5, pdf)
- Wisconsin DOR Publication 113 (pdf), Federal and Wisconsin Income Tax Reporting Under the Marital Property Act
- Wisconsin DOR Publication 109 (pdf), Tax Information for Married Persons Filing Separate Returns and Persons Divorced in 2013