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anon-js
New Member

I currently am married, own a home, and have two children. Student loans via IBR. I have been filing "married filing separate." Should we be filing separate?

"The best way to find out if you should file jointly or separately with your spouse is to prepare the tax return both ways. Double check your calculations and then look at the net refund or balance due from each method. If you use TurboTax to prepare your return, we’ll do the calculation for you, and recommend the filing status that gives you the biggest tax savings."

I have never seen this option. How do I do this?
1 Best answer

Accepted Solutions
xmasbaby0
Level 15

I currently am married, own a home, and have two children. Student loans via IBR. I have been filing "married filing separate." Should we be filing separate?

If you were legally married at the end of 2017 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 each receive the $4050 personal exemption, plus the married filing jointly standard deduction of $12,700 (add $1250 for each spouse over the age of 65).  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.  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.

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/1894449-married-filing-jointly-vs-married-filing-separately

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/1901162-married-filing-separately-in-community-property-states

It is not easy to compare MFJ to MFS using online TT but you can do it.  Since you only get one return for each account and user ID, you have to use 3 accounts and user ID’s—one for MFJ and two for each of the MFS returns.  Compare, choose, and file—and pay—accordingly.

It is much easier to do this comparison using the desktop version of TT installed from a CD or downloaded to your own computer.  You pay once for the software and you can prepare multiple returns easily, and it has a “what if” feature that allows comparisons.

**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.**

View solution in original post

2 Replies
xmasbaby0
Level 15

I currently am married, own a home, and have two children. Student loans via IBR. I have been filing "married filing separate." Should we be filing separate?

If you were legally married at the end of 2017 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 each receive the $4050 personal exemption, plus the married filing jointly standard deduction of $12,700 (add $1250 for each spouse over the age of 65).  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.  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.

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/1894449-married-filing-jointly-vs-married-filing-separately

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/1901162-married-filing-separately-in-community-property-states

It is not easy to compare MFJ to MFS using online TT but you can do it.  Since you only get one return for each account and user ID, you have to use 3 accounts and user ID’s—one for MFJ and two for each of the MFS returns.  Compare, choose, and file—and pay—accordingly.

It is much easier to do this comparison using the desktop version of TT installed from a CD or downloaded to your own computer.  You pay once for the software and you can prepare multiple returns easily, and it has a “what if” feature that allows comparisons.

**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.**
Phillip1
New Member

I currently am married, own a home, and have two children. Student loans via IBR. I have been filing "married filing separate." Should we be filing separate?

Filing separate returns almost never results in a better tax result. Most people usually file separate for non-tax reasons like an impending divorce, one spouse with past due or defaulted state of federal tax or non-tax debt. Many tax benefits are completely lost when you file married separate tax return.

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