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So, after 10 years the push for marriage has finally arrived. The old girl certainly deserves it, so later this year I will become a married man. The planner in me started looking at tax ramifications and I am not pleased by what I have found out. Here is the scenario; We are both 30 and I have been away on military orders since last June and will be until April 2015.

Issue #1

She is a school social worker and because of this she is eligible for a "public service student loan forgiveness" program through the government. This comes out to her paying approximately $20,000 over 10 years and the remaining $60,000 is forgiven. Her monthly payment is based on her income and is around $350/$400 a month. This is actually less than the monthly interest that accrues on it, but as long as she makes those payments on time they are eligible towards the 120 required on time payments for the forgiveness program. If we file jointly it will also include my income and will likely double our monthly payment. Solution: "Married but filing separately"

Issue #2

I've been maxing out my yearly contributions to my Roth for several years now and plan to (or at least, was planning too) for years to come. However, I learned that if we do the married but filing separately as stated above I won't be able to get my AGI below the $10k that is required for that filing status. Furthermore, it is my understanding that if we get married this year and I have already contributed the $5500 for 2014, I would have to transfer it out of a Roth and into something else (probably a traditional). The one thing saving me from doing this for 2014 is that if we are married filing separately and I haven't lived with my spouse at all during year (which I haven't she stayed back home to work and I left on military orders) then I am subject to the filing single income limits.

From what I gather I can't have the best of both worlds, or am I missing something? She has 4 or 5 years left working in the public sector in order to have the remaining loan forgiven, so the way I see it we have to choose either file separate and keep her loan payment down or file jointly and contribute upwards of $27500 over those 5 years for tax free withdrawals when it comes retirement time.

Any suggestions about how to tackle this beast? I've only spent a small amount of time thus far and don't know if there are any loop holes out there I can possibly use to get the best of both worlds. Thanks!

P
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Follow up after my research. Married filing separately folks can make non deductible contributions to a Traditional IRA and convert it to a Roth and won't be bound to the $10k AGI limit. Also, MFS individuals who don't live together for an entire calendar year are both treated as "single" in regards to Roths and may both contribute using single filer income limits.
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i Follow up after my research. Married filing separately folks can make non deductible contributions to a Traditional IRA and convert it to a Roth and won't be bound to the $10k AGI limit. Also, MFS individuals who don't live together for an entire calendar year are both treated as "single" in regards to Roths and may both contribute using single filer income limits.

Just realize that "did not live with your spouse at any time during the year" is literal. Spending even one day living with your spouse disqualifies you from being treated as single. Living together in this case doesn't refer to your domicile or residence, but actually cohabitating at any location.

Ira
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I do realize this, and I have the military orders to prove I've been in Northern Mexico (aka South Texas) since last June and will continue to be through 2015! Thanks!
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