Open TurboTax

Why sign in to the Community?

  • Submit a question
  • Check your notifications
or and start working on your taxes
Your taxes, your way. Get expert help or do it yourself. >> Get started
Close icon
Do you have a TurboTax Online account?

We'll help you get started or pick up where you left off.

Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Level 3

Filing Married SHOCK

Hello I just ran my taxes two ways - as single and then as married filing separately.

It was shocking - does this make sense?


1. Filing single my estimated refund was $5700 fed + $1400 state

2. Filing married separately: Refund $105 fed + $405 state.

Both itemized settings. Not standard deduction.


Does this make sense to anyone - maybe I selected a wrong option under married? This is NUTs  :I

6 Replies
Level 15

Filing Married SHOCK

Well if you are married, filing single is not an option.   And MFS is the WORST way to file.


If you were legally married at the end of 2019 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 $24,400 (+$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.

**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.**
Level 3

Filing Married SHOCK

Yes, I realize I can't file single if I'm married but I was just trying to see what the diff is/would be, especially when the TT results as Married filing separately = so much less than what I was used to getting as a single person.  Just got married in 2019... tx

Level 3

Filing Married SHOCK

I read that married filing jointly results in benefits below:


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


But we have none of them apply to us...earned income credit doesn't that apply to low income peeps? We aren't. We don't have to worry about children either.

Level 3

Filing Married SHOCK

to anyone else reading this thread does the huge discrepancy in refunds between filing single and married but sep itemized make sense? I heard of the married income tax penalty but this seems WAY too extreme. Something maybe I did wrong in setting up?  Thank you in advance and to the person who replied first.  Best Regards,

Level 13

Filing Married SHOCK

Look at the actual tax returns to see the differences.


When you look at Form 1040 and the numbered "Schedules", where are the significant differences between the two tax returns?  If you tell us that, we may be able to explain what is going on.

Not applicable

Filing Married SHOCK

unless you have very high income say over $200,000 this should not be.  however, there are certain things that can affect your taxes.  alternative minimum tax,   net investment tax, loss of credits like earned income and education credits.       we can't see your return so we can not give you a specific answer.       



you may want to check your taxes using either the IRS 2019 tax tables (up to 99.000 of taxable income) or tax rate schedules. in the tax tables (page 73) the tax for single and married filing separate are exactly the same

$17,929.  However, this does not take into a/c credits, alternative minimum tax, tax on net investment income.


look at your returns line 12a  through 16


About Community

Learn about taxes, budgeting, saving, borrowing, reducing debt, investing, and planning for retirement.



Manage cookies