Do you qualify for simplified reporting?
Spouses who operate a business together have a new option for reporting their business income. In the past, husband and wife joint owners were considered a partnership for reporting purposes. New rules, which took effect in 2007, give spouses the option of reporting their business income as two separate sole proprietorships.
Filing as two sole proprietorships reduces the number of returns that are required while reporting the income from the business just as before. The income and expenses from the business are allocated to each spouse based on their respective ownership interest. In most cases, income and expenses are split equally. Each spouse will report their share of the net earnings and pay self-employment tax on the total.
There are a few key points to consider before making this election. First, the spouses must file a joint return. Second, the spouses can be the only owners of the business. Third, each spouse must agree to the treatment as sole proprietorships. And lastly, both spouses must materially participate in the trade or business.