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married filing joint or separate

if I file a joint return I put in my info 69k and it shows 1k refund(6kfed tax paid) I then put in her income 18k (1.5k fed tax paid) it shows 392 refund.  if I file separate returns it shows I owe 2.3k on my return and I put her info in on a separate return and she gets $900 back.  my w4 has 1 deduction hers is 0.  should I change something and file separate returns so she gets more money back or is it better to file jointly

2 Replies
Level 15

married filing joint or separate

Joint is usually always the best way to file.  Yes when you both have income it can reduce your refund so you might want to have more withholding taken out.


Because we have a progressive tax system.  The more total income you make you pay a higher percent for tax.


That's common.  It just looks that way because you put them in as separate W2s and saw the tax due change in between them. If it all was on one W2 you would get the same answer. And each job was withholding like it was your only job.


Because you only get one standard deduction no matter how many W2s you put in. Turbo Tax starts out by giving you the Standard Deduction.  You entered more income when you entered the second W2 but you didn't enter more deductions.  And each job only withheld taxes like it was your only job for the year.  You might want to adjust your withholding.  Also as you add more income you might not be getting as many credits as before like the EIC credit.  And it was probably giving you the EIC credit until you went over.




But if you also file MFS how much is your refund reduced or changes to a tax due?  Here is Joint vs MFSinfo......


Unless you have a specific reason to file separate returns,

It is usually better to file Joint. Joint has the lowest tax rates and the highest Standard Deduction.   And if you are in a Community Property state MFS gets tricky to figure out.  Here's some things to consider about filing separately……


In the first place you each have to file a separate return, so that's two returns.  And if you are using the Online version that means using 2 accounts and paying the fees twice.  


Many people think they come out better when filing Married Filing Separate but they are probably doing it wrong.  If one person itemizes deductions then the other one must itemize too, even if it's less than the standard deduction, even if it is ZERO!  


And there are several credits you can't take when filing separately, like the

EITC Earned Income Tax Credit

Child Care Credit

Educational Deductions and Credits


And contributions to IRA and ROTH IRA are limited when you file MFS.


Also if you file Married Filing Separately up to 85`% of your Social Security becomes taxable right away even with zero other income.


See …….


Level 15

married filing joint or separate

Oh I just saw you said you would owe 2,300 and she gets a 900 refund.  Uh,  that is a net tax due of 1,400 versus a joint refund of  392.  No brainer.    You would want to pay 2,300 so she could get 900?  That's up to you.

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