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Mary has to file because she owes tax on her SS since spouses did not live apart for the entire year. See the Social Security Publication 915. Go through the worksheet. Spouses who file separately and live together for any part of the year are not allowed the "exclusion" amount afforded joint or single filers.

I agree that the SS is taxable in computeing AGI. From $2400 AGI we subtract a $2900 personal exemption. Result: no taxable income, no tax, and no filing requirement.

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