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New Member

I can't seem to figure out why we owe 3k in taxes this year. When I run my wife's return in the tax refund calculator she owes about $2,800.

Her details are below.
Wages: 71743.6
Federal income tax: 8270.08
State income tax: 2289.54
Worked in Indiana but lives in Illinois.
No deductions.

My details are below:
Wages: 145,665.85
Federal income tax: 31,606.73
State income tax: 5,897.52
No deductions.

Filing jointly we owe about $2,800. When I ran both of our taxes as if we were single filing separately I got a 700 refund and she owed about 3,000.

I've tried a number of tax withholding calculators and paycheck calculators online and our tax withholding looks fine based on those but when putting it in for the 2017 tax return her's is materially off. Any thoughts?

We were married 4/16/2016 and we claimed zero on our W-4. Is there something we are missing? Any help would be greatly appreciated. 

Thank you

2 Replies
Level 9

I can't seem to figure out why we owe 3k in taxes this year. When I run my wife's return in the tax refund calculator she owes about $2,800.

And of course, since you are married, you can't file as single.  But, one solution is to change your W-4 to 'married, but withhold at higher single rate'.  The standard W-4 assumes a one income household, which does not apply in your case.
New Member

I can't seem to figure out why we owe 3k in taxes this year. When I run my wife's return in the tax refund calculator she owes about $2,800.

Without knowing all of the details of your tax situation I can not speak as to what would affect your taxes owed. With the income that you have listed you would be phased out of certain tax credits and deductions (or the amount that you would qualify for would be decreased based on your combined income).  Phaseouts reduce tax benefits at different rates depending on how the IRS has them set up.

You can read more about that at the following IRS link (page 23):

If you find that you are owing more taxes at the end of the tax year than you would prefer, that there are options available for you.  

  • Contributions to a traditional individual retirement account can be tax-deductible in the year you make them. While IRS rules on IRA contributions vary, you can generally deduct the full amount of an IRA contribution if you and your spouse aren't covered by retirement plans at work. If you are, your contribution might be limited based on your adjusted gross income.
    If you qualify, an IRA contribution can be a great way to reduce this year's taxes. For example, if you are in the 35 percent tax bracket and make a $5,500 deductible contribution—the maximum amount for 2017—you can save as much as $1,925 in taxes. Best of all, you can contribute to an IRA all the way until tax filing day, typically April 15. Most other tax-saving strategies must be in place by December 31.

  • If you lose money on a capital investment, such as a stock, you can use that loss to reduce your taxes. But you’ll have to sell the stock at a loss first, a process known as "realizing" a loss. Once you realize a loss, you can use it to offset any capital gains you have. This allows you to avoid paying tax on your capital gains.
    If you have more capital losses than gains, the IRS allows you to use up to $3,000 of that excess loss to offset your ordinary taxable income. Coupled with the offset of your capital gains, taking capital losses can wipe out a significant amount of your tax liability.

  • If you own a business, you can take a deduction for a wide range of business-related costs. If you're keen on reducing this year's income taxes, bunch your expenses as much as possible into the current year. "If you have a major capital expenditure coming up," says Gonzalez," consider making it at the end of this year, rather than the beginning of next year."
    Other common business strategies include paying your employees bonuses at year-end, rather than at the beginning of the year, and prepaying expenses. For example, if you regularly spend $5,000 per month to buy supplies, consider buying $15,000 worth at year-end to get you through the next three months. By making a bulk purchase at year-end, you'll get a deduction in the current tax year for that business expense.

  • Another way to avoid paying the taxes in a lump sum at the end of the year is to consider having extra money withheld from your paycheck. You can request extra taxes are withheld by indicating that on your Form(s) W-4.

Please see the following TurboTax FAQ for more information on changing your Form(s) W-4 in TurboTax:

Please see the following link to read more about the above mentioned tax planning tips:

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