“ However, everytime I read something about filing jointly it almost always says that it's almost always advantageous for couples to file jointly.”====Agreed in general.As you said, MFJ filing status provides more tax benefits than filing separate returns, but you will need to weigh the pros and cons and decide for yourselves which is the best filing status; if you and your spouse decide to file a joint return, your tax may be lower than your combined tax for the other filing statuses. Also, your standard deduction, UNLESS you itemize deductions, may be higher, and you may qualify for tax benefits that do not apply to other filing statuses. By filing your return as MFJ, both spouses must sign the return, and both spouses accept full responsibility for the accuracy and completeness of the information reported on the tax return. The IRS cautions, QUOTE,”Both of you may be held responsible, jointly and individually, for the tax and any interest or penalty due on your joint return. One spouse may be held responsible for all the tax due even if all the income was earned by the other spouse".
“ My wife and I make about the same - $50,000/year each. We have no mortgage and no debt. No dependents. no major medical bills. Does this scenario sound right for MFS to be best?”=In my opinion, MFJ is more advantageous for you.I guess it depends; the MFS filing status is generally perceived as the least beneficial of all the filing statuses. That's because MFS taxpayers are not eligible to claim many tax benefits,i.e., •Tuition and fees deduction ;Student loan interest deduction ;Tax-free exclusion of US bond interest ;Credit for the Elderly and Disabled ;Child and Dependent Care Credit ; Earned Income Credit or etc.ALSO, MFS taxpayers must both claim the standard deduction or must both itemize their deductions. In other words, one MFS taxpayer cannot claim the standard deduction if the other spouse is itemizing. There is one clear benefit of filing separately. By filing a separate return, the taxpayer is solely responsible for the accuracy and payment of tax related to that separate return. By contrast, on a jointly filed return, both spouses are jointly responsible for the accuracy of the return and the payment of tax. A spouse who is unwilling to assume legal and financial responsibility for the other spouse's tax obligations should strongly consider filing separately.
NOTE: Married couples can decide to file either jointly or separately when they file an original return for a particular year. Couples can change their mind and switch from two separate returns to a single joint return within three years from the due date of the original return without extensions. However, couples can change their mind and switch from a joint return to two separate returns only by the April 15th deadline.