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jmsibley89
New Member

Is it really best to file joinly if im married but have no kids

It just seems as though our jointly filed tax return was equal to or less than what I'm accustomed to seeing when filing just for myself for the past 6 yrs prior. We do fine for our ourselves financially but still yet to break 70k per yr combined. I just want to know my best option when my circumstance/situation is taken into consideration 

3 Replies
DoninGA
Level 15

Is it really best to file joinly if im married but have no kids

It is almost always best from a tax standpoint to file as Married Filing Jointly versus Married Filing Separately.

You receive the highest Standard Deduction of $24,400 if both of you are under age 65.  So the first $24,400 of your joint income is tax free.

Your tax bracket is also different when filing jointly

12% 0 - $19,400

22% $19,401 - $78,950

Filing Separately

12% 0 - $9,700

22% $9,701 - $39,475

24% $39,476 - $84,200

 

See this TurboTax support FAQ for filing jointly versus separately - https://ttlc.intuit.com/community/married/help/is-it-better-for-a-married-couple-to-file-jointly-or-...

rjs
Level 15
Level 15

Is it really best to file joinly if im married but have no kids


@jmsibley89 wrote:

It just seems as though our jointly filed tax return was equal to or less than what I'm accustomed to seeing when filing just for myself for the past 6 yrs prior.


You can't judge what's best based on the amount of your refund. Your refund depends on how much tax you had withheld from your pay, compared to your actual tax for the year. You have to look at the total tax on your tax return, not the refund. If you both work, you surely earn more combined than what you earned yourself when you were single, so the two of you together pay more tax than you paid alone when you were single. Take a look at how the total tax on your joint tax return compares to the the total tax on both of your single tax returns combined.

 

But when you are married you don't have the option to file as single. Your only choice besides married filing jointly is married filing separately. As DoninGA has explained, married filing separately will almost certainly come out worse for the two of you combined. (If you live in Ohio and both have income, there might be an exception when you take state tax into consideration together with federal.)

 

Your tax refund is not a benefit that you get from the government. It's your own money that the government is sending back to you. That's why it's called a refund. If you want to get a bigger refund, have your employer withhold more tax from your pay. Your paycheck will be smaller, but you'll get a bigger refund when you file your tax return at the end of the year because you sent the government more money than necessary, so they send the excess back to you. You're just making an interest-free loan to the government.

Anonymous
Not applicable

Is it really best to file joinly if im married but have no kids

if you don't itemize,   it's hard to think of a situation where filing separate would be better.    even if you do itemize the only its usually medical expenses that will be higher if incurred by the lower income taxpayer.  however, under the tax laws, if one of you itemizes both must itemize.         another situation would be if one had a high amount of municipal income subject to alternative minimum tax. (AMT)

 

the only way to be sure is to compute it both ways.  

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