Taxes From A To Z (2018): J Is For Joint Accounts

Shutterstock It’s my annual “Taxes from A to Z” series! If you’re wondering whether you can claim home office expenses or whether to deduct a capital loss, you won’t want to miss a single letter. J is for Joint Accounts Joint accounts often appear convenient but can be a real headache when it comes to taxes. For federal income tax purposes, the treatment of joint accounts is determined by local law. That sounds confusing since this is a federal tax issue, but what it means is that you look to state law to determine your ownership interest. This matters because a form 1099 will only report the name and Social Security Number (SSN) of one taxpayer: There isn’t room for a second (or third) taxpayer’s information. When the IRS gets the form 1099, they want to be able to match that name and SSN with income on a tax return. Here’s where it could get tricky. When married taxpayers own a joint account and file a…

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