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Level 3

Amending from MFJ to MFS Paid tax due What to do if over paid

Filed jointly and paid taxes due for tax year 2018 using my SS# as the primary.  The spouse was responsible for all of the taxes due because payroll withholding was too low.  I want to amend the return to MFS.  The 2018 tax due on my SS# was $0.  Can I request or will the IRS reimburse or refund that over payment with an amended return?   
Basically looking to start over as we both want to file MFS.

3 Replies
Level 14

Amending from MFJ to MFS Paid tax due What to do if over paid

96% of couples file joint.... there are a number of deductions and credits that are lost if you file separately

if your incomes are similar it MIGHT makes sense

Explain why you want to file separately.... how much was withheld on the w-2’a should have NOTHING to do with it
Level 11

Amending from MFJ to MFS Paid tax due What to do if over paid

Sorry, but amending a joint tax return to married filing separately is not allowed after the tax filing deadline.  That is the tax law.  Even if you think filing separate returns would be better, it probably would not have been better anyhow.  You lose a lot of credits when you file MFS.


Married Filing Jointly is usually better, even if one spouse had little or no income. When you file a joint return, you and your spouse will get the married filing jointly standard deduction of $24,000 (+$1300 for each spouse 65 or older)  You are eligible for more credits including education credits, earned income credit, child and dependent care credit, and a larger income limit to receive the child tax credit.

If you choose to file married filing separately, both spouses have to file the same way—either you both itemize or you both use standard deduction. Your tax rate will be higher than on a joint return. Some of the special rules for filing separately include: you cannot get earned income credit, education credits, adoption credits, or deductions for student loan interest. A higher percent of your Social Security benefits may be taxable. Your limit for SALT (state and local taxes and sales tax) will be only $5000 per spouse. In many cases you will not be able to take the child and dependent care credit. The amount you can contribute to a retirement account will be affected. If you live in a community property state, you will be required to provide additional information regarding your spouse’s income. ( Community property states:  AZ, CA, ID, LA, NV, NM, TX, WA, WI) If  you are using online TurboTax to prepare your returns, you will need to prepare two separate returns and pay twice.

Level 11

Amending from MFJ to MFS Paid tax due What to do if over paid

In addition to the response I gave you yesterday,  I just want to add that going forward, your spouse should adjust the amount of tax being withheld from her paycheck by changing the W-4 at work to avoid this problem for your 2019 tax return.


When the tax laws changed for 2018, employers lowered the amounts they were withholding from paychecks, resulting in more take-home pay, but often not withholding enough to avoid owing at tax time.