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IRS.gov Website
Publication 555
taxmap/pubs/p555-001.htm#en_us_publink1000168756

Community or Separate Property and Income(p3)

rule
If you file a federal tax return separately from your spouse, you must report half of all community income and all of your separate income. Likewise, a RDP (and an individual in California who is married to an individual of the same sex) must report half of all community income and all of his or her separate income on his or her federal tax return. Generally, the laws of the state in which you are domiciled govern whether you have community property and community income or separate property and separate income for federal tax purposes. The following is a summary of the general rules. These rules are also shown in Table 1.
taxmap/pubs/p555-001.htm#en_us_publink1000168757

Community property.(p3)

rule
Generally, community property is property:
taxmap/pubs/p555-001.htm#en_us_publink1000168758

Community income.(p3)

rule
Generally, community income is income from:
taxmap/pubs/p555-001.htm#en_us_publink1000168759

Separate property.(p4)

rule
Generally, separate property is:
taxmap/pubs/p555-001.htm#en_us_publink1000168760

Separate income.(p4)

rule
Generally, income from separate property is the separate income of the spouse (or RDP/California same-sex spouse) who owns the property.
EIC
In Idaho, Louisiana, Texas, and Wisconsin, income from most separate property is community income.
taxmap/pubs/p555-001.htm#id2010_f15103c9901

Table 1. General Rules — Property and Income: Community or Separate?

Community property is property:
  • That you, your spouse (or RDP/California same-sex spouse), or both acquire during your marriage (or registered domestic partnership/same-sex marriage in California) while you are domiciled in a community property state. (Includes the part of property bought with community property funds if part was bought with community funds and part with separate funds.)
  • That you and your spouse (or RDP/California same-sex spouse) agreed to convert from separate to community property.
  • That cannot be identified as separate property.
Separate property is:
  • Property that you or your spouse (or RDP/California same-sex spouse) owned separately before your marriage (or registered domestic partnership/same-sex marriage in California).
  • Money earned while domiciled in a noncommunity property state.
  • Property either of you received as a gift or inherited separately during your marriage (or registered domestic partnership/same-sex marriage in California).
  • Property bought with separate funds, or exchanged for separate property, during your marriage (or registered domestic partnership/same-sex marriage in California).
  • Property that you and your spouse (or RDP/California same-sex spouse) agreed to convert from community to separate property through an agreement valid under state law.
  • The part of property bought with separate funds, if part was bought with community funds and part with separate funds.
Community income 1,2,3 is income from:
  • Community property.
  • Salaries, wages, or pay for services of you, your spouse (or RDP/California same-sex spouse), or both during your marriage (or registered domestic partnership/same-sex marriage in California).
  • Real estate that is treated as community property under the laws of the state where the property is located.
Separate income 1,2 is income from:

 • Separate property. Separate income belongs to the   spouse (or RDP/California same-sex spouse) who owns   the property.
1 Caution: In Idaho, Louisiana, Texas, and Wisconsin, income from most separate property is community income.
2 Caution: Check your state law if you are separated but do not meet the conditions discussed in Spouses living apart all year. In some states, the income you earn after you are separated and before a divorce decree is issued continues to be community income. In other states, it is separate income.
3 Caution: Under special rules, income that can otherwise be characterized as community income may not be treated as community income for federal income tax purposes in certain situations. See Community Property Laws Disregarded, later.