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How can I split our 2021 tax return so that my husband and I each know how much to pay or collect?

We have a pre-nuptial agreement to pay (or collect) individual shares of federal taxes.  How can I determine how much each of us owes?
5 Replies

How can I split our 2021 tax return so that my husband and I each know how much to pay or collect?

Did you file a joint return or did you file married filing separately?   If you filed a joint return then all of your income was combined on that one tax return; the refund was issued in both of your names.   A joint return will not break down who owes what /gets what by spouse's names.



If you want to keep your finances separate to that degree then maybe you should be filing separate tax returns--although that is usually the worst way to file.


If you were legally married at the end of 2021 your filing choices are married filing jointly or married filing separately.

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 $25,100 (+$1350 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.






**Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to offer the most correct information possible. The poster disclaims any legal responsibility for the accuracy of the information that is contained in this post.**
New Member

How can I split our 2021 tax return so that my husband and I each know how much to pay or collect?

The answer was of no help at all.  My husband and I file jointly but we have a pre-nuptial agreement that says we'll each pay our share of the tax (or collect only our share of a refund),  In order to determine how much belongs to each of us, separate returns must be done but not filed.  Originally Turbo Tax allowed us to do that.  Intuit does not without opening two new accounts and then we're hit with multiple emails about not filing and other administrative things like credit card charges.  I printed forms, did research for the latest tax information and completed the separate returns manually.  It took a lot longer than you'd think.

How can I split our 2021 tax return so that my husband and I each know how much to pay or collect?


Yeah, you can easily prepare separate tax forms, without creating new accounts....simply by using the Desktop software every year, where you can prepare as many tax files as you want or need.


Yep...Online tax software would be the worst way to do it.



____________*Answers are correct to the best of my knowledge when posted, but should not be considered to be legal or official tax advice.*

How can I split our 2021 tax return so that my husband and I each know how much to pay or collect?



You need to be using the DOWNLOADED program if you want to see the MFJ vs MFS  worksheet. 


You can switch now if you have not yet filed   or  use the downloaded amendment option if you have already  filed. 


How can we compare married filing jointly with married filing separately?

If you already created a joint return in the TurboTax CD/Download software, there's a quick way to see how filing separately affects your federal return.

Note: This won't work in TurboTax Online.

  1. Open your return and select Forms in the top right corner of the window.
  2. Click Open Form and type What-If Worksheet (it may appear as What-If Wks).
  3. Check the MFJ vs. MFS box at the top.
  4. Scroll down to Balance Due (Refund) located under Line 74.
    • The second column shows the federal outcome for a joint return, and the third and fourth columns, respectively, show the outcome for the taxpayer and spouse if filing separately.
    • Negative numbers are refunds, positive numbers are taxes due.

However, this doesn't give you the whole picture because it doesn't account for your state return. For a true apples to apples comparison, you'll need to prepare your returns both ways.

How can I split our 2021 tax return so that my husband and I each know how much to pay or collect?

I've been thinking about this.  There is no single or right way to allocate the refund or tax due on a joint return.  It's however you want to split it up.  Like calculate each spouse percentage of the total income and use that percent for the refund or tax.  But that doesn't take the withholding into account.  

I don't think doing Single or Married filing Separate would work right since Joint has more advantages, credits and lower tax.  So I might do 2 additional Joint returns and only add one spouse's income, etc. and half of any joint income like interest and dividends.  Then add together the 2 Joint results and figure each person's percentage.  Then apply that to the actual Joint return.  How does that sound?

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